Aníbal Torres: The Peruvian Prime Minister praises Hitler’s economic policy and unleashes the rejection of Germany and Israel | International

The Prime Minister of Peru, Anibal Torres, this Thursday in Lima, Peru.
The Prime Minister of Peru, Anibal Torres, this Thursday in Lima, Peru.EL COMERCIO / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO (Europa Press)

The Government of Pedro Castillo has had to apologize several times to Peruvians for their statements in these last 11 days of political crisis due to protests against the rising cost of living. This Thursday, the controversy came from the hand of the Prime Minister, Aníbal Torres, who highlighted Adolf Hitler’s vision regarding road construction: “Italy and Germany were the same as us. On one occasion, Adolf Hitler visits northern Italy and Mussolini shows him a highway from Milan to Brescia. Hitler went to his country and filled it with highways, airports and turned Germany into the first economic power. We have to make an effort to improve our roads, not only those that lead from one city to another, but from a farm to the market so that the peasants can get their products.” The German and Israeli embassies were quick to criticize the statements.

Last Saturday, after six days of protests that left two dead in the Junín region and dozens injured due to police repression, seven ministers spoke with leaders of farmers and transporters and promised to exclude fuels from the selective consumption tax, to provide organic fertilizer at low prices and to return to the region with the president. This Thursday the cabinet traveled to Huancayo to report on the bills that it has presented to Congress to resolve the demands of farmers and transporters. In addition to the high prices of fuel, fertilizers and basic foodstuffs, they complain about the high rates of tolls on roads in poor condition -where crime attacks-, and the lack of infrastructure. In this framework, Torres pronounced his controversial words.

Hitler and Larco Herrera, one of the capital’s mental health hospitals, became a Twitter trend soon after. Meanwhile, hundreds of people shared a Deutsche Welle report on social networks called Hitler and the highway: a historical lie, which specified that the Nazi regime made Jews work in the construction of roads, between hunger and disease, so it was not a solution to unemployment.

The reaction of the German Embassy was immediate: “Adolf Hitler was a fascist and genocidal dictator, in whose name the worst war of all time was carried out from Germany and a genocide of six million Jews was committed. Faced with this scenario, Hitler is not the appropriate reference as an example of any kind.

During the more than three hours of the public act of the Executive and the leaders and citizens of Junín, the Prime Minister tried to clarify his statement, acknowledging that Hitler was a criminal, and apologized twice, but to no avail. “There is no absolutely good or absolutely bad human being. If I gave the example of Germany’s progress, it is because it is a real fact”, he added.

In turn, the Embassy of Israel also rejected the statement of the president of the council of ministers. “We regret that the Peruvian political discourse includes referents such as Hitler and Mussolini as an example of prosperity. Regimes of death and terror cannot be a sign of progress. Hitler was responsible for the death of six million Jews, praising him is an offense to the victims of that world tragedy,” he tweeted.

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Torres tried to get out of the mess again. “I mentioned the case of the infrastructure built in Nazi Germany as an example, but do not misunderstand things, it is not that I am taking the Germany of that time or Hitler as an example to follow, because I have also said that it was a great criminal and a great delinquent”. The Israeli Embassy accepted the apology.

The matter generated a crisis within the Executive itself that ended with the resignation of the Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries late on Thursday afternoon. “Today I have been asked to resign. The reason? Pronounce myself against the Prime Minister’s speech that emulates the genocidal Hitler as a symbol of development. Obviously, I am leaving office,” tweeted Sonaly Tuesta.

The balance of the protests that do not stop

Until this Thursday, the police repression against the protests has left three dead in Junín, Huánuco and Ica, and more than 35 injured. A farmer and teacher who participated in the demonstrations died on the outskirts of Huancayo hit by a car that was escaping from a road blockade. On Monday, the Executive declared a state of emergency in Lima and Callao and prohibited people from going out into the street between 2 a.m. and midnight on Tuesday, allegedly, to prevent looting.

The measure was described as “unconstitutional and disproportionate” by the Ombudsman’s Office and jurists from all sides. In the afternoon, thousands of people from the capital, mainly from the middle and upper classes, came to the center of Lima to ask for Castillo’s resignation and defy the executive’s decree. Congressmen from right-wing parties such as Fuerza Popular, Avanza País and Renovación Nacional encouraged the demonstrators and pleaded with the police to let them approach Congress. The Fujimori shock groups called La Resistencia and Los Combatientes also participated. Shortly after, in the same area, vandals attacked the offices of the Public Ministry, the Judiciary, and the National Elections Jury, stealing computers, fans, and destroying some offices inside.

This Thursday, the Executive ordered another new disproportionate measure, according to lawyers and congressmen from different political lines. Castillo decreed a state of emergency for a month in the national road system, that is, the more than 22,600 kilometers of highways throughout the country, despite the fact that the protests are concentrated in only a few regions. During the state of emergency, the constitutional rights of freedom of movement, assembly and personal security are suspended, in addition, the armed forces join the control of order with the police.

The Ombudsman’s Office requested from the National Police the documents that support the state of emergency in the national road network. “We reiterate that the limitation of rights to free transit, freedom of assembly and personal freedom and security must be of an exceptional nature and respond to criteria of proportionality and necessity,” said a statement from the state entity.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the spokesman for the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, spoke at the end of the afternoon this Thursday about the precarious political and social situation in the Andean country. In a statement, the IACHR condemned “the restrictions on fundamental rights in the face of the protests and the acts of violence recorded in them,” and called on the Peruvian State to respect and guarantee the human rights of the people who participate in the mobilizations and of those who They do not do it.

In turn, Stephan Dujarric, the spokesman for the Secretary General of the United Nations, reported that the representation of that entity in Lima calls on all authorities and citizens in Peru to “refrain from violence and reduce tensions.” “Our team reiterates the call for all meetings to be held peacefully, with freedom of association and expression being universal fundamental rights, helping to promote dialogue between citizens and the State,” adds the tweet from the Secretary General’s spokesman.

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