Former Humala Allies Create New Political Group

A group of left-wing political allies and former advisers to President Ollanta Humala, who broke with the government last year, have formed a new group, known as Ciudadanos por el Cambio, or Citizens for Change.

The group includes Humala’s former Premier, Salomon Lerner Ghitis, the former Environment minister Ricardo Giesecke, and the former Devida anti-drug chief, Ricardo Soberon. Also included in the group are Humala’s former advisers —political analyst Carlos Tapia, historian Sinesio Lopez and economist Felix Jimenez.

Members of the group left Humala’s government last year following a major cabinet shuffle that was largely due to a dispute over Newmont Mining’s Minas Conga gold project.

In January this year, Sinesio Lopez wrote in an op-ed column of what he considered was “the capture of Ollanta“, comparing the Inca Atahualpa’s capture and ransom to Pizarro in Cajamarca with, 474 years later, today’s ‘capture’ of President Humala by bankers and finance ministers and latterly by big mining, also in Cajamarca.

The members of the new group accompanied Humala during the 2011 presidential campaign and supported him in his earlier unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2006. A number of them have harshly criticized Humala for what they say is his move to the political right.

Carlos Tapia said the group is not a threat against Humala’s ruling Gana Peru party. “It is a threat against authoritarianism, against those who have deaf ears to the allegations of corruption … it is not against Gana Peru,” he said, according to Peru.21.

“For us, Ollanta Humala is not our enemy, but we are not part of the government,” Tapia added. “We disagree on some points, and on others we agree.”

Lerner Ghitis said that Citizens for Change  will be pushing for speedier and more tangible decisions on issues that Humala’s campaign called The Great Transformation.

The president of Congress and a member of Humala’s nationalist party, Daniel Abugattas, would not give much weight to the new group, calling it “a club for friends.”

Humala took office last July for a five-year term on a platform that focused strongly on closing the wide socio-economic gap between Lima and the rest of the country. Since taking office, and although his administration is actively working on issues such as inclusion in education and health, he has toned down his rhetoric and is more willing to work with the business community.

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