Some thoughts on the Peruvian presidential election

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Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of the ex-president Alberto and the last First Lady of Peru is still the absolute favorite in the upcoming election. According to the latest poll, she lost just under one per cent of the votes since December, which puts her ratings at 32.1% – about twice as high as her main opponent, César Acuña, put forth by the left-center Alianza para el Progreso party.

Her ideas are mostly in agreement with the fujimoristic guidelines. A brief reminder for those of my readers who don’t always follow the Latin American politics: Fujimorism is a pragmatic, rightist (not right-center) ideology, combining strictly market-oriented economy with total war on terrorism and rigid anti-communism. Fujimorism started out as a very conservative ideology, and included some ideas which were not in accord with my own views. Mainly, these were strict anti-abortion policies and an unbending conservative stance on social issues; and, while during the time of the juntas of the 1980s these were relatively acceptable (or at least bearable), they made the movement look bad in the 1990s. Yet another problematic from my point of view issue was the “primakovian” position of the Peruvian government on the Middle Eastern problems: they tended to blame Israel for the chaos and the terror in that region – not surprisingly, as the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs were quite friendly with Primakov and his cronies. So, while I agree with the phrase coined, I think, in “The Economist” (“In five years Fujimori accomplished more than all of his predecessors in five decades”); and while I acknowledge the his achievements in the economy and in his fight against terrorists, I still think that his conservatism and Middle Eastern stance stank to high heaven.

It would also be of some interest to my readers to remember that Fujimori was a vehement supporter of Yeltsin’s actions in Chechnya and, whenever called upon to justify his inflexible attitude towards Sendero Luminoso and Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, compared his actions to those of the Russian government.

The intervening years softened some of fujimoristas’ positions. In particular, Keiko wants to legalize the LGBTQ family cells (without an adoption option yet), and supports abortions in case the mother’s life is endangered. These concessions are far from the “libertarian” perfectness as i see it, but let’s not forget that Peru as a whole is a very conservative nation; Keiko was harshly criticized even for making these allowances: congressman Julio Rojas quit the party, proclaiming himself to be “pro-life and pro-family”.

Here is what Keiko’s program looked like during the previous elections:

– Economic growth of no less than 7% annually.
– Full support for the free enterprise and open trade.
– Reductions of bureaucracy, simplification of the taxation laws, reduction of business-managing expenses by at least 20%.
– Improvements to the medical insurance system.
– Establishment of death penalty for certain serious crimes.
– Simplifications of the credit and mortgage systems, straightening of the housing acquiring process.
– Improvement and tightening of the of health standards regulations.
– Adopting ecological laws making it illegal for the miners to use toxic mercury substances.


Keiko Fujimori and her unwavering opponent, Susana Villarán. (Note that Villarán is not participating in the election!)

The economic growth of Peru had dropped significantly in the last years – from 6% to about 2.4 to 2.8%; so I’m doubt Keiko will be able to promise the 7% growth again.

The leftists of Peru are very skeptical of Keiko’s promises and criticize her harshly. They call her K-meleon – a nickname invented, I think, by Susana Villarán, the first woman to become the mayor of Peru’s capital, a very attractive lady of left-central political views and a political rights activist. By giving her this nickname the left mean that Keiko is certain to free her father from jail and, foregoing her promises, will become a tyrant. I myself do not believe this; but for lots of Peruvians the name ‘Fujimori’ has strong negative associations. This is somewhat justified, because the last years of Fujimori’s government passed under the sign of corruption and the shadow of Montesinos’ secret police.

Similar views to those of Villarán are expressed by Mario Vargas Llosa, whose hatred of Fujimori started in 1990 with his loss of election and transferred on to Alberto’s daughter. He keeps reiterating his warning about the bloody and corrupted dictatorship, despite both Keiko’s and her brother Kenji’s attempts to dissuade him and dissipate his anger. Kenji even wrote him an open letter saying that “More than 22 years had passed since your loss, and still you keep blaming my father; will you keep blaming him to his deathbed?”

So that’s that about Peru.

Kitty Sanders, 2016

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