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Peru's Multidimensional Challenges

R. Evan Ellis
R. Evan Ellis IndraStra

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The South American nation of Peru plays an essential role in Latin America's economic and political dynamics, as well as serving as a gateway for trade across the Pacific with the People's Republic of China and other Asian countries. Historically, Peru was a Spanish governance and power center in the new world.

Presently, Peru is navigating through a series of mutually reinforcing crises in its political system, the dynamics of organized crime in the country, and profound questions about the deepening of engagement with the People's Republic of China (PRC). The challenges are rooted in endemic problems, similar to those faced in other parts of Latin America and other parts of the world, including slow and uneven development, high levels of inequality, high levels of public and private sector corruption, and insecurity from criminal and other actors. As in other parts of the region, the long-term adverse 
economic and fiscal effects of Covid-19 and Russia's invasion of Ukraine arguably deepened those problems and the associated frustration among Peruvians with their political systems and associatedelites, accelerating the impulse to explore ever more 
radical solutions to break the cycle. They also significantly worsened the country's organized crime and public insecurity problems while hampering the already limited ability of the "public security sector" to address them. At the same time, they increased the relevance of the PRC and its resources as part of the remedy to the nation's problems, as well as China's associated leverage for pursuing its commercial and political interests with the country.

The present work examines the evolution of Peru's multidimensional challenges and their implications for the country and the region more broadly. It is divided into three sections:
1. An examination of the country's political challenges
2. An analysis of organized crime in the country and the government response
3. The advance of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the country

Each of the three sections published in this work are derived from articles originally published in English and Spanish by the e-Journal Global Americans and the journal of the Center for Strategic Studies of the Peruvian Army. The work is also an update to and elaborates on the three-part series on Peru's challenges, published by the author in November 2020.