Watch over Peru President’s Rolex watches - GulfToday

Watch over Peru President’s Rolex watches

Dina Boluarte

Dina Boluarte

Peru has been in a political roil for more than a year, with the president of the country at the centre of the storm. Boluarte became president when Pedro Castillo was impeached by the congress for trying to suspend the constitution and rule by decree in 2022. Investigative agencies along with the police raided the home and presidential place, the official home, of Boluarte on Friday night. This was part of the investigation which was launched when President Boluarte declared that she had three Rolex watches. This might seem a rather frivolous reason to inquire into the corruption of the head of state but the details of the president and her Rolex watches are interesting.

A Rolex watch costs $14,000 in Peru. Boluarte earned a salary of $8,136 in July 2021 when joined government as a minister for social inclusion. And when she became president in 2022, her salary had been reduced to $4,200. Before she became a minister and then president, Boluarte was a modest district official. She claimed that she collected the luxury watches from her earnings since she was young. The judiciary in Peru is independent and so are the investigating agencies. And in a tussle of political power, the legal arm of the government is empowered to investigate the executive, including the president. In a way, this is an ideal democracy where those in power do not enjoy any immunity.

Castillo has been a populist president, and the opposition he faced in the national legislature was conservative. It is important to understand the political tussle that serves as a background.

Prime Minister Gustavo Adrienzen said that “a storm was being created where there was none” and warned that this would harm the image of the country and affect investments.

As the investigation followed reports in the press about her Rolex watches, Boluarte said in a pre-recorded television address: “I ask myself a question: since when does a sector of the press care about what a president wears or does not wear? I hope and I want to believe that this is not a sexist or discriminatory issue.” Her lawyer Mateo Castaneda said that police in their searches of the presidential palace found 10 “nice” watches under the carpets, but they did not say how many among them were Rolex watches. Boluarte herself did not issue any statement on Rolex watches saying that she has been advised by the legal team not to make any statement until she deposes before the prosecution. Attorney General Juan Villena warned Boluarte not to dispose of or destroy the three Rolex watches she owned.

It is useful to remember that Castillo wanted to outflank the legislature and the opposition by wanting to suspend the constitution and rule by decree. The congress impeached him. There were protests on the streets and 49 died in the clashes with the police. Castillo has been taken into custody and when Mexico tried to provide him asylum, relations between Mexico and Peru worsened. There is a demand for immediate elections, but Boluarte has been trying to work with the Congress to curb the powers of the judiciary. The fight in Peru is between the majority of people who are poor and who belong to the native Indian population, which supports Castillo, and the Spanish colonial elite. Peru has been facing popular and political discontent, and it has witnessed the emergence of the extreme left movement of Shining Path founded by Abimail Guzman. It was the conservative president Alberto Fujimoro, a Japanese migrant, who quelled the leftist movement. Fujimoro was later convicted and imprisoned on charges of corruption. Castillo comes from the populist end of the political spectrum.

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