Home World World Peruvian Interior Minister resigns, Sagasti's first casualty

Peruvian Interior Minister resigns, Sagasti’s first casualty

Francisco Sagasti (right) is escorted by a military man after arriving at the Peruvian Congress in Lima for his inauguration ceremony Image: Luka Gonzales – 17.nov.20 / AFP

Peruvian Interior Minister Rubén Vargas resigned today after receiving criticism for police reform, becoming the first casualty of Francisco Sagasti’s new government.

Vargas delivered his letter of resignation to President of the Council of Ministers, Violeta Bermúdez, after 14 days in office, after being severely questioned by parliamentary opposition and the press for the surprising reform of the police chief and 17 other generals as part of an institutional renewal .

“I present to your office my immediate resignation as head of the Ministry of Interior. We are fully aware that this administration to improve our National Police in Peru does not end with the appointment of a minister,” wrote Vargas in a letter circulated by journalists in the social networks.

Congress was preparing an interpellation request, followed by eventual censorship in the coming days.

In his letter, Vargas defended the dismissals of the police summit and stressed that they occurred so that the police regained the confidence of citizenship.

The resignation takes place in a context of unease among former military and police commanders over the way the government intends to reform the police.

To this is added the rumor of a police strike in repudiation of the measure and reports of corruption.

Vargas is Peru’s sixth interior minister of 2020, a reflection of the country’s institutional crisis.

The covid-19 hit the police in a remarkable way: more than 500 agents died and 33,700 were infected, according to official figures.

President Sagasti on November 24 ordered a police reform for which he appointed a new chief at the institution and dismissed 18 generals.

The changes were presented as a reaction to the violent repression against protesters, which left two young men dead and more than a hundred injured during the November 14 protests against Manuel Merino’s government, which lasted only five days.

The resigning minister had taken over the portfolio on November 19 and President Sagasti had ratified his confidence on Sunday, ruling out a resignation.

“We are not in for entries, exits, or chess games at such a critical time by a group of non-conforming officers, most of whom are questioned,” said the president in an interview with four television stations.

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