In Peru, President Castillo accused of plagiarism

Already highly contested since his inauguration last July, Peruvian President Pedro Castillo is at the heart of a new scandal. The former teacher from a small poor town in the north of the country, a former union leader but without political experience, was the surprise winner of the presidential election last year.

The Peruvian prosecutor’s office opened an investigation against him and his wife (also a teacher) on Thursday, May 5. According to revelations from the press, the two would have manipulated, in 2012, their master’s text, allowing them to be paid more than the average teacher in the country.

More than half plagiarized pages

According to the revelations, Sunday 1er May, of a famous televised investigative program, the master’s thesis in educational psychology, written jointly by Pedro Castillo and his wife, Lilia Paredes, would include, on 121 pages, 54% of plagiarisms from other uncited authors. The text went through software to detect plagiarism.

As he indicated on his Twitter account, the prosecution therefore opened an investigation “against the President of the Republic and his wife for the alleged offense of aggravated plagiarism, false credits and undue perception to the detriment of the State”.

By the way, written from Lima the website El País America, “of the two experts who validated the control, one does not exist and the identity card of the other corresponds to that of another person”.

President Pedro Castillo was quick to deny the facts and accuse the press. In a press release taken up in particular by the daily Peru21he argued:

“It is worrying that freedom of the press and expression lends itself to games […] antidemocratic by inventing journalistic accounts with the objective of causing political instability against this government.”

Eight years in prison?

He also mentioned “coup factions”which notably earned him criticism from the Peruvian Press Council: “Transparency will always be well received by the population […] It is the job of the press to control power.”

The crime of “aggravated plagiarism” is punishable in Peru by up to eight years in prison. The Head of State is protected by his immunity, but this can be lifted by the unicameral Congress, divided between more than ten parties, and where Pedro Castillo does not have a stable majority.

Since his inauguration, just over nine months ago, he has also been the target of two motions of censure, which however have not been successful. This instability has notably led to him changing Prime Minister and government three times since the end of July.

A poll taken up on Tuesday May 3 by the daily El Comercio indicates that “73% of Peruvians no longer trust the president [contre] 58% in November”.

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