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Peruvian PM Resigns and Nicaraguan President Closes Media Outlets

August 3-10, 2022 | Issue 11 - SOUTHCOM

Stacey Casas, Jan García, Daniel Ruiz, Juliet Sites, Aina Merino Bello, Marina Damji, Julia Tsarnas, SOUTHCOM Team

Salomon Montaguth, Editor; Demetrios Giannakaris, Senior Editor


Peruvian Prime Minister Anibal Torres[1]


Date: August 3, 2022

Location: Peru

Parties involved: Peruvian Prime Minister Anibal Torres; Peruvian President Pedro Castillo; Peruvians

The event: Prime Minister Anibal Torres announced his resignation for personal reasons amid criminal investigations against President Castillo. Torres is the fourth Prime Minister to resign since President Castillo took office in July 2021. Prime Minister Torres’ resignation triggered the resignation of President Castillo’s entire cabinet, causing the head of state to put together a new cabinet again.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Prime Minister Torres is very likely resigning to avoid accusations surrounding his role as Prime Minister and due to the criminal allegations against President Castillo. Allies of President Castillo will almost certainly continue being targeted by the opposition party to discredit President Castillo and replace him in office. With his entire cabinet resigning, any political reforms President Castillo tries to implement will almost certainly be met with congressional rejection, almost certainly reducing political stability in the country. As President Castillo faces more criminal investigations, his public support will likely decrease as voters lose faith in him and turn toward the opposition for political reform.

  • The unstable political situation will likely destabilize the Peruvian economy, likely exacerbating current economic issues. International markets will likely react negatively to rising economic issues, likely leading to a devaluation of the Peruvian currency and a loss of purchasing power for Peruvians. Political uncertainty will likely cause foreign investment to decline, likely negatively affecting the creation of jobs and businesses within the country, and very likely decreasing citizens’ quality of life and deepening the economic crisis.

  • Prime Minister Torres’ resignation will likely decrease the population’s trust in the government, likely provoking social unrest. This discontent will likely result in protests against corruption and demands for political reform. Large cities such as Lima will very likely experience violent protests, likely resulting in casualties and vandalism of local shops. Vandalism of shops and violent protests will likely further escalate social unrest among Nicaraguan citizens resulting in more political instability, likely leading to President Castillo being forced to leave office in the short term.

Date: August 4, 2022

Location: Nicaragua

Parties involved: Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega; Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN); Nicaraguan Catholic church media outlets; Nicaraguan private Catholic church institutions; Guatemalan government leaders; Salvadoran government leaders; Venezuelan government; Russian government; International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization of American States (OAS)

The event: Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s administration closed a total of nine media outlets tied to the Roman Catholic church, mainly in the northern, rural region of Nicaragua. This religious-based media has historically been opposed to the FSLN party led by President Ortega. Experts are criticizing President Ortega’s recent restrictions on freedom of speech as attempting to silence the political opposition.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • President Ortega’s actions against religious-based media outlets will very likely restrict freedom of speech, reduce religious liberties, and foster apprehension among Nicaraguan citizens fearful of being persecuted. Disruptions in societal freedoms will likely increase social concerns among Nicaraguan citizens, who will very likely utilize violent protests against the current administration. Violent protests will likely take place in the capital and larger cities such as Managua and Leon, very likely resulting in vandalism of property and confrontations between law enforcement and protesters likely resulting in injuries. An escalation of violence in police confrontations with protesters will likely lead to a further deterioration of public order in Nicaragua, likely decreasing citizens’ security.

  • President Ortega's targeting of media outlets and political opponents will almost certainly increase political division as the public will likely view this act as a violation of basic rights. Political opponents of President Ortega will very likely continue facing arrests if they speak out against censorship, almost certainly increasing political instability. Increased authoritarian control in Nicaragua will likely serve as a model for neighboring countries like El Salvador and Guatemala, likely increasing the number of opposition members arrested in these countries. Regional organizations such as the OAS will likely issue statements condemning Ortega’s actions to increase awareness and avoid the spread of authoritarian control in other countries.

  • International institutions, like the IMF, will very likely oppose President Ortega’s media censorship and apply new economic sanctions against Nicaragua’s government officials and their relatives. These sanctions are likely to be designed to affect only certain government-associated individuals, very likely mitigating the effect they will have on the general Nicaraguan population. Nicaraguan allies that have also faced sanctions, like Venezuela and Russia, will very likely oppose these economic sanctions. These countries will likely increase their political and economic relations to counter the sanctions’ effects, likely increasing political tensions in Latin America.

 

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)


[1] “Juramentación de nuevo Gabinete Ministerial 3-45 screenshot - Aníbal Torres” by Presidencia de la República del Perú licensed under CC BY 3.0

[2] Peruvian Prime Minister Aníbal Torres resigns, People’s dispatch, August 2022, https://peoplesdispatch.org/2022/08/04/peruvian-prime-minister-anibal-torres-resigns/

[3] Concern that Nicaragua repression could be “model” in region, AP News, August 2022, https://apnews.com/article/religion-elections-caribbean-arrests-0cd3c2ff2ad5b9e0fffff7522f898083

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