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By Marco Aquino and Simon Gardner
LIMA, June 7 (Reuters) - Peru’s leftist president-elect Ollanta Humala said on Tuesday he will chart his own course and won’t follow the path of his former political mentor, Venezuela’s fiery socialist President Hugo Chavez.
In an interview with Reuters, Humala called the United States a “strategic partner” and said he will work with Washington to control the drug trade in the world’s top grower of coca, used to make cocaine.
At the same time, he said he would strengthen relations with countries in South America, where Brazil is positioning itself as the region’s leader.
The former army officer added that the people he picks to lead the finance ministry and other key cabinet posts in the fast-growing economy will be experienced.
“They will be honorable, and have experience, in each ministry there will be a commitment to social policy and social inclusion.”
Peru’s economy boomed over the last decade but a third of its people are still mired in poverty.
Humala, who has moderated his discourse since he lost the 2006 election running as a radical, said his government would show fiscal prudence, and will not sell sovereign bonds to finance the anti-poverty programs he plans to introduce.
He tried to strike a conciliatory tone about his proposal to introduce a windfall profits tax on companies in Peru’s vast mining sector. Those tax revenues would fund social programs.
“The tax rate we need to talk about with companies,” he said.
Reporting by Simon Gardner and Marco Aquino; Editing by Eric Walsh