Carlos Andres: Going back in time to 1990 you had the rise to power of the right-wing candidate Alberto Fujimori. Yes, a Japanese man raised as a roman catholic, became the president of a Latin country with indigenous Incan roots. You can’t make this stuff up.
Well Alberto Fujimori began the process of promoting free market principals, liberalizing trade, suppressing rebel groups and dramatically improving security and thereby encouraging foreign investment. He however did this in a more or less brutal and dictatorial fashion.
Shining Path and other rebel groups had been reeking-havoc in the rural areas and Fujiomori put a brutal end to their activities, racking-up human rights violations as he went. He also had a fascist or oligarchic bent, meaning corruption was the order of the day. He carved-up the economy for the benefit of friends and family or as payment for political favors.
He brought radical change to Peru, which, despite the means, brought economic stability and growth. It was dubbed “Fujishock” by observers. He was impeached from office a decade later, and wound up in exile in Japan. It’s a long and sordid tale, but he was ultimately extradited and is now serving a 25 year sentence for human rights violations and corruption. Yet, he left a prosperous Peru as part of his tainted legacy. The two presidents that followed Fujimori, Alejandro Toledo and Alan Garcia, more or less continued his economic policies, and Peru has simply exploded.
Remember the name of Alejandro Toledo, because he is an important part of the reason why we believe the party will continue.
Ollanta Humala clumsily enters the story in 2000, with an impulsive and ill-advised coup attempt against Fujimori just days before Fujimori’s impeachment. He was a career military officer at the time, having participated in the brutal suppression of the rebel groups under Fujimori. He is also suspected of human rights violations, but nothing has ever been proven and charges have never been brought.
His coup attempt, which involved other disgruntled officers, failed before it even got started and he became a fugitive. He managed to stay in hiding until Fujimori’s impeachment and was eventually pardoned and reinstated to the military. It makes perfect sense, right?
As a footnote, in 2005, his brother, also a military officer, achieved notoriety by assaulting and occupying a police station in an attempt to force the president at the time, Alejandro Toledo, out of office. Of course it also failed miserably, ending in the death of 4 police officers and one of his compatriots. He was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison for the incident. It’d be comical if it weren’t sad.
Ollanta Humala scares everyone for a couple of primary reasons. On the one-hand he is associated with a native or ethnic nationalist movement, with racist and xenophobic overtones, that has significant support among the military rank and file. On the other hand, he has made it clear that he admires the regions dictators, such as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and shares their leftist ideology. This makes foreign capital skittish to say the least. He ran for president in 2006 and lost a close election to Alan Garcia, a former president (back in the 1980’s) of the country. Not to be discouraged, he ran again this year against the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, Keiko Fujimori, and defeated her last week by a small margin in a hotly contested run-off election.
This is truly a case where fact is stranger than fiction.Read the rest here.
In : Politics
Tags: "peruvian politics" "peru economy"