LIMA, Peru—Just months ago, few people in this country knew who María Antonieta Alva was.

Peru’s finance minister is now a household name. In Lima, banners featuring her face and the words, “courage and dignity,” are hung from bridges. On social media, a video circulates of her discussing stimulus policies with the salsa song, “How crazy it was to fall in love with you,” playing in the background.

The…

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