Lima, Mar 29 (efe-epa).- Peruvian presidential candidate Yonhy Lescano, with the Popular Action party, insists on treating Covid-19 with salt and “cañazo” (cane liquor), a recipe for which there is no scientific basis.
Lescano, who is ahead in the latest voter surveys and backed by 10-11 percent of the voters, has been claiming that cañazo and natural medicine is all that’s needed to combat the coronavirus.
“I believe in popular medicine, in natural medicine. People treat themselves with coca leaf, with salt and with a series of herbs and plants that are in the Amazon,” said Lescano in an interview on the Sunday television program “Panorama.”
The former congressman also said that using cañazo does have a scientific basis because, he argued, it works like an alcohol-based mouthwash to eliminate the virus and bacteria from the mouth.
“It’s the same principle,” emphasized Lescano, one of the six candidates with a chance to get to the runoff after the first voting round on April 11.
“Go to Cuzco, Puno or Huancavelica to have the people tell you how they’ve cured themselves. It’s a response that I’ve seen in the rural areas, so that the bugs don’t take up residence in your throat,” he said.
The Popular Action candidate defended the practice because people “have gotten results” even though they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
“Is it prohibited or is it being irresponsible to do that when the vaccine is not arriving and Peruvians are dying? There’s nothing wrong with it,” he said.
Nevertheless, Lescano denied that his promoting of cañazo is part of his plan to deal with the pandemic, saying that only “ill-intentioned people” are claiming that it is.
“There’s a real dirty war going on since I got into first place (in the voter surveys). They’re saying that it’s part of (my) government plan, but that’s a lie and defamation,” he said.
Lescano also has been involved in other noteworthy and controversial proposals like asking Chile to return to Peru the vessel Huascar, captured by the Chilean navy in 1879 during the War of the Pacific.
Currently, the Huascar is a historic relic, given that it is the second-oldest armored warship still afloat, after the United Kingdom’s HMS Warrior, and it serves as a floating maritime museum in the Chilean port of Talcahuano.
More than 25 million Peruvians are eligible to vote in the April 11 election to select a new president and two vice presidents for the 2021-2026 term along with 130 congressional representatives and five Andean Parliament members.
If no presidential candidate obtains more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election between the two top vote-getters will be held in June.
The elections are coming at one of the worst moments of the pandemic in Peru, which in recent days set a new daily confirmed infection record with more than 12,000 Covid cases.
In all, more than 1.5 million confirmed cases have been detected in the South American country and more than 50,000 people have died, but the death toll stands at more than 125,000 if suspected Covid deaths and other as yet uninvestigated deaths are counted.