South Florida Peruvians Protest Alleged Fraud In Peru Vote Won By Socialist Candidate
Leninist party candidate Pedro Castillo appears to have narrowly won Peru's presidential election. Opponents, including South Florida expats, are claiming fraud.
Peru’s presidential election this month ended in a razor-thin victory for a socialist candidate. But the result is being rejected by those opposed to him — including most Peruvian expats in South Florida, many of whom are showing up for protests like one Tuesday night in West Kendall.
Shouting “No al fraude!” — no to fraud — dozens of expats waving Peruvian flags insisted the victory of socialist Pedro Castillo in Peru’s June 6 presidential election is illegitimate.
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Castillo appears to have won by only 44,000 votes over right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori. She is claiming vote fraud, and Peru’s National Jury of Elections is now examining ballots for evidence of allegations such as ghost votes and precinct ledger falsification in areas that favored Castillo.
“We’re here to support democracy — to say this is a fraud and give us another election," said Peru native Lucy Brigman Caceres, a Miami insurance executive and one of the West Kendall protest organizers.
"And we want Americans to know that, to support us in that regard, internationally.”
Brigman Caceres conceded the biggest concern for most expats here is Castillo’s left-wing, Leninist government platform. They fear he’ll turn Peru into an authoritarian socialist regime like Venezuela’s.
“We want to stop it now because when communism sets in a country, it will never leave," she said. "And then we’re done.”
Peru’s high level of official corruption and economic inequality, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, helped make Castillo more popular, especially among the country’s rural voters.