Peru’s president names hardliner prime minister

Peru’s president has sworn-in a new team of cabinet members.

President Ollanta Humala replaced 10 of his 19 ministers Sunday.

Oscar Valdes, who had been the interior minister, is the new prime minister. Valdes is a former army officer who was Humala’s instructor in the military.

The finance and trade ministers were among those who retained their positions.

Prominent among the 10 who were replaced was former culture minister Susana Baca. The Latin Grammy Award-winning singer had been Peru’s first cabinet minister of African descent.

Critics say the promotion of Valdes means the government will be less willing to negotiate with rural communities opposed to billions of dollars in new mining and oil projects. President Humala declared a state of emergency in the Cajamarca mining area last week.

The president’s declaration gives police and the military more authority to shut down protests of the Conga mining project, which he says will bring thousands of jobs to Peru.

Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo said Sunday his Peru Possible party opposes what he calls “the militarization of the government of Humala, which was democratically elected.”

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