Peruvian President Pedro Castillo during a military parade in Lima, Peru, July 30, 2021 | Photo: Presidency of Peru / Agence EFE

Peru’s new president, Pedro Castillo, has appointed a new head of the country’s armed forces joint command, as well as new army, navy and air force commanders. For the post of the new head of the Joint Command, Castillo chose Manuel Gómez de la Torre, the former commander-in-chief of the army, and for the latter post he appointed General José Vizcarra.

The leftist politician was forced to appoint a new head of the Joint Command after the departure of César Astudillo, who asked former interim president Francisco Sagasti (2020-2021) to retire before taking office from Castillo.

Castillo took advantage of this change to also renew the command of the Air Force (FAP), replacing Rodolfo Pereyra with Jorge Chaparro, and that of the Navy, albeit with a more thorough process. The Peruvian president appointed Vice-Admiral Alberto Alcalá, who was not next in terms of seniority, as the commander-in-chief. He made the move after several retired naval officers led a movement of retired military personnel to ask the armed forces not to recognize Castillo as president, which in practice would have been a coup.

The episode took place against a backdrop of political tension experienced in the country after the second round of the presidential election, with conservative sectors mobilizing against the poll results and in favor of the allegations of fraud presented by the candidate of right Keiko Fujimori.