More than 30 years after being defeated by Alberto Fujimori in the second round of the 1990 elections, Nobel Prize-winning writer Mario Vargas Llosa, 85, has been actively involved in the political debate in Peru. Losing to an opponent who would later lead an authoritarian government and serious human rights violations put Vargas Llosa in an even more important position than he already had for his literature.
The author of “Lituma in the Andes” came to appear as an anti-Fujimorist hero, who had tried to prevent the serious events that would follow. From there he won the affection and sympathy of those who disagreed with the engineer’s dictatorial escalation. Until then a foreigner on the scene, Fujimori is a descendant of immigrants and identified with the forgotten corners of the country, while Vargas Llosa had the support of the sector in which he was born, the urban elite of the country.
Vargas Llosa was the main critical voice of the autocracy imposed by Fujimori after the closure of Congress in 1992. And, after the re-democratization of the country, the damage that Fujimorism inflicted on its vindictive action on parliament, being the main responsible, for example, the fall of two presidents in recent years, PPK (Pedro Pablo Kuczynski) and Martín Vizcarra.
That all changed last Saturday (17), when Vargas Llosa said he would support the movement which was his main enemy. In a column published in the Spanish newspaper El País, under the title “Getting closer to the abyss”, the writer declared that he had “fought fujimorism in a systematic way, as I have done against all dictatorships. , left or right. I think that in the next elections, Peruvians should vote for Keiko Fujimori, because that represents the lesser evil and there is, with her in power, more chances to save our democracy, whereas with Pedro Castillo, there is no there is not any “.
Vargas Llosa evokes the second round of voting, on June 6, of the presidential elections, which will be disputed between the daughter of the ex-president, Keiko, on the right, and the leftist Pedro Castillo, an outsider with whom Vargas Llosa identifies. the chavista project. In other words, the writer’s logic is that between a government that evokes an authoritarian right-wing regime and one that is reflected in an authoritarian left-wing experience, it would be better to bet on the former.
Vargas Llosa’s change of opinion and his support for Fujimorism might be just a curiosity, if he wasn’t Peru’s most important intellectual. There, his word is heard by the company, to such an extent that the two candidates expressed themselves on the subject.
Keiko Fujimori called the writer, thanked him for the gesture and said he agreed with the democratic guarantees that Vargas Llosa asks in his text, in addition to reaffirming his commitment to respect the rights of the man. Pedro Castillo, for his part, said the statement didn’t matter, as Vargas Llosa no longer knew Peru and was no longer of opinion from his mansion in Madrid – in fact, the writer has lived in the Spanish capital for many years. years.
What is clearly a contradiction to his historical convictions, on the other hand, reveals the pragmatism of Vargas Llosa between always choosing what, for him, would be the “lesser evil”, in each election. The point is, these “evils” haven’t been very successful either, and with every decision Vargas Llosa discredits himself in Peruvian society.
During the period of re-democratization, Vargas Llosa bet on Alejandro Toledo, who would end his term in 2006 with one of the lowest levels of approval in Peruvian history.
In 2006, Vargas Llosa took a firm stand against the candidacy of Ollanta Humala, then far-left nationalist military leader. His fear that a Chavista-type populism would take control of Peru made him prefer the victory of Alan García, which did indeed take place. García ended up committing suicide while being sued for corruption, while Toledo was convicted and is a fugitive from justice.
Unhappy with Humala’s new postulation in 2011, the writer again backed Toledo, but was knocked out in the first round. Vargas Llosa then had to choose between two candidates he did not like at all.
On the one hand, the same Keiko Fujimori, on the other hand, Humala. According to him, it was like having to choose “between cancer and AIDS”. Even so, he did not want to abstain and gave his vote of confidence to Humala after making broad promises that he would position himself at the center of the political spectrum, adopt market policies and not listen to members of the his family, who were still very much involved in activism, left extremist. Today, Humala also faces corruption charges and has spent time in prison.
In 2016, the dispute was between Keiko and PPK, as Vargas Llosa stayed with PPK, who was ultimately impeached by parliament and, guess what, was also sued for corruption.
Increasingly, fans of Vargas Llosa’s magnificent work seem to prefer to stop hearing him talk about politics, such are his rhetorical contradictions and contortions. Defeat as a presidential candidate in 1990 ended up giving the world unforgettable books and a Nobel Prize for letters. This is what to celebrate.