It's official. Perú has a new president.
By all accounts, Pedro Castillo could not be a more radical change from the administrations of the past 20 years. Castillo is a self-branded socialist with a very left-leaning agenda and a ground-swell of popular (albeit very narrowly) majority support. He will take office on Peruvian independence day (28th of July).
As if a global pandemic, 10% contraction in GDP and a sweeping wave of polarization is not enough - Castillo will take office without a ruling coalition in congress He will be thrust into an almost instant battle for the legitimacy of his presidency - with political and legal pressure coming from a number of different directions . . . including within his own party and from congress seeking his impeachment.
The next couple of months are going to be challenging. Conflicts and protests are popping up on streets all over the country - with the current count at over 190. With so much entrenchment and polarization, it will be really hard to bring people together. It will be really hard to find a place of healing.
Billed as the "lesser of two evils" - the election was a standoff between two ideologies from the very outset. The Lima-Province friction is not new. As long as the City of Kings has assumed the role of the seat of power and the economic capital of the country - tension has existed between the city and the rest of Perú. Within the sprawling city of over 12 million people, conflict also exists between the distinct and very separate economic classes. Although, often only separated by a short distance - the economic divides are tremendous.
This tacit strain and stress has been compounded by a number of converging forces. The pandemic and the economic challenges of the last 18+ months have laid bare this smoldering tension. It has fueled conspiracy, contentment and greater division. Now, with an elected presidential administration that has made its party platform "Marxist-Leninist platform that fundamentally aims to spread the wealth of Peru’s natural resources with all citizens" - finding a path forward will be hard . . . but not impossible.
Healing of any kind requires connection. It requires relationships. It requires safe dialogue. It feels like part of our work is to create a space to discuss how to best help all Peruvians find access to the lives they deserve. A critical part of our work is building bridges; and, now - more than ever - building bridges is about creating spaces for healing.
So, we are going to create connections. We are going to meet in the space of hope and opportunity. We are going to work for healing. Connecting at the points and places of connections ... that's what we stand for - and that is what we do.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.