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LATIN AMERICA | 18-08-2021 12:20

Peru foreign minister resigns after less than three weeks in office

Former guerrilla Héctor Béjar resigns 19 days after taking office, under pressure from the Congress and the Armed Forces for controversial statements on terrorism..

Former guerrilla Héctor Béjar on Tuesday resigned as Peru's foreign minister less than three weeks after his controversial appointment.

The 85-year-old, who fought as a leftist guerrilla in the 1960s, was embroiled in a political scandal after local press published a video from November 2020 in which he accused the Peruvian Navy of carrying out terrorism with support from the CIA.

He was referencing a pair of anti-Cuban attacks in Lima in 1977.

But he sparked controversy by also falsely claiming the CIA was behind terrorist acts committed by the Maoist Shining Path group beginning in 1980.

New President Pedro Castillo has accepted his resignation, his press secretary said.

It has been a bumpy start for leftist Castillo, who has come under fire for his appointment of Guido Bellido, an electronic engineer with no experience in public office, as his prime minister.

Peruvian media say Bellido was investigated by prosecutors for an alleged "apology for terrorism" over statements made shortly after taking up his parliamentary seat last month – which assured him immunity from prosecution as an elected official.

The sol also fell to a record low against the dollar on July 30 after Castillo delayed naming his finance and justice ministers.

Earlier this month, some 2,000 people took to the streets of Lima to demand Castillo and his Cabinet resign.

– TIMES/AFP

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by Luis Jaime Cisneros, AFP

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