José Williams Zapata: from head of the Chavín de Huántar military operation to president of Congress | PROFILE

José Williams Zapata: from head of the Chavín de Huántar military operation to president of Congress | PROFILE

Congress elected its new president after censure by Lady Camones. For the first time in history, six candidates ran.

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José Williams Zapata: from head of the Chavín de Huántar military operation to president of Congress | PROFILE

José Williams, alternate spokesperson for Avanza País, presides Parliament's Defense Commission. Photo: GEC file/

The Congress chose this Monday among six candidates for its new president after the censorship of Lady Camones. The winner of this contest it was José Williams Zapata (Avanza País), who prevailed in the second round over his colleague Luis Aragón (Popular Action).

A 70-year-old retired EP Major General, Williams Zapata was head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces and leader of the successful Chavín de Huántar military operation.

José; Williams Zapata: from head of the Chavín de Huántar military operation to president of Congress | PROFILE

Operation Chavín de Huántar, executed on April 22, 1997, which allowed the rescue of 72 hostages kidnapped by terrorists from the MRTA (Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) in the residence of the Japanese ambassador in Lima.

“Chavín de Huántar was a message to terrorism, to the region and to the world”, Williams told RPP in 2017. That same year, the retired military man was decorated by then President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

José; Williams Zapata: from head of the Chavín de Huántar military operation to president of Congress | PROFILE

(Photo: presidency)

According to his resume, he has a degree in Military Sciences from the “Coronel Francisco Bolognesi” Military School of Chorrillos.

In addition, in 2011, he obtained a master's degree in Development and National Defense at the Center for Higher National Studies (CAEN).

Parliamentary management

Williams came to Congress as a representative of the Lima region with 44,789 votes. The parliamentarian held the position of president of the Defense Commission.

In May 2021, recently elected as a legislator for Avanza País, the military officer questioned – in dialogue with El Comercio – the influence of the former regional governor of Junín, Vladimir Cerrón, on Pedro Castillo, who at that time was contesting the second round with Keiko Fujimori.

Already in Congress, he was the titular spokesman for his caucus during the 2021-2022 period and is now an alternate spokesman. The group has supported the two vacancy motions filed against Pedro Castillo. In the first, which was presented by Patricia Chirinos, Williams voted for her to be admitted to debate. However, the initiative failed.

In the second motion, Williams voted to admit the initiative to debate and later for the removal of the president. Finally, Castillo continued in office.

Williams has questioned the Executive's decisions on different occasions. For example, in August 2021, the brand-new spokesperson for Avanza País and his bench colleague Rosselli Amuruz presented two motions against Guido Bellido and Héctor Béjar, who at that time held the positions of prime minister and chancellor.

In October of that same year, when the vote of confidence in the Ministerial Cabinet led by Mirtha Vásquez was being debated, Williams warned of his concern about the performance of the then ministers Luis Barranzuela (Interior) and Carlos Gallardo (Education). “We are concerned about the Marxist ideology and the suitability of officials,” he said.

In early September, the parliamentarian questioned the presence of Geiner Alvarado at the head of the MTC. “For reasons of principle and ethics, Mr. Geiner (Alvarado) has had to step aside,” he said.

See here his election and his first speech:

The candidates who also tried the position of head of the Legislative Assembly were José Luis Elías Ávalos (Podemos Perú – Somos Perú) , Guido Bellido Ugarte (Free Peru), Luis Aragón Carreño (Popular Action – Magisterial Block of National Agreement), José María Balcázar Zelada (Peru Bicentennial), Carlos Zeballos Madariaga (Integrity and Development).