Economist Carolina Trivelli was sworn in as Peru’s first Minister of Social Development and Inclusion, during a ceremony in the former Inca capital of Cuzco.
President Ollanta Humala took Trivelli’s oath in the city’s San Sebastian square, with his full cabinet present led by premier Salomon Lerner Ghitis, as well as local authorities, including the regional president, Jorge Acurio.
Humala recalled that Cusco has one of the highest poverty rates (49%) and that his government’s choice of venue for the ceremony was to pay tribute to Tupac Amaru II, “the first to demand social justice and development for the people below in the face of the power of those above.”
Trivelli, who has a master’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University and is a lead researcher at the Institute of Peruvian Studies —where she has been on the board of directors for 14 years and was director general 2001-2005— will be responsible for implementing social programs to reduce Peru’s poverty rate, which is currently at approximately 30 percent.
Reports earlier this week had suggested that Trivelli would be named to the new cabinet post.
“Together, we are going to work on this development,” President Ollanta Humala said during the ceremony. “The first thing that we have to attack is malnutrition and illiteracy,” he added.
“We are initiating a new social policy, to put an end to the idea that being poor is a genetic disease with which one has to die. This new social policy is a production policy, which will help bring out of poverty a group of people who can successively help others do the same.”
He stressed, however, that the social programs will not follow the welfare or dependency culture and instead will open up a new focus on development.
“We want one social policy for the country, one State policy that will transform the current social programs into second generation programs where the focus will not be welfare assistance but to achieve that the population in extreme poverty will get out of that situation,” he said.
Humala, 49, took office on July 28 with promises to implement social programs to reduce poverty, while also maintaining Peru’s red-hot economic growth during the past decade.
“We have to work now so that the economic growth becomes development, and in that way we’ll all have money in our pockets,” Humala said.