Nightmares of the 1990s haunt Peru’s elections – Sylvia Colombo

On the one hand, the nightmare of Fujimorism, with its human rights violations, corruption and political authoritarianism.

On the other hand, the nightmare of clashes in the countryside at the time of the Shining Path (1980-1993), an internal war which killed more than 70,000 Peruvians, and in which the State, the “peasants turn” (civil militias ) and the leftist guerrillas who followed the legendary leader Abimael Guzmán.

The two main actors of this terrible period are now behind bars, in prisons near the capital, Lima. Alberto Fujimori, 82, an autocrat who ruled Peru between 1990 and 2000, is serving a sentence in Barbadillo penitentiary, while Guzmán, 86, is in Callao prison. The two octogenarians seem to be irrelevant in the presidential election which will be resolved in the second round in the country, on June 6.

They seem, but they are not. The seeds of the confrontation they sowed in their lifetimes are still present in Peru today.

The left-wing candidate Pedro Castillo, leader of the polls, claims not to be a “senderista” and is attacked by his opponents for having political links with members of Movadef, the democratic arm of Sendero Luminoso. Movadef members, in fact, advise their campaign. Some have already been jailed for links to actions defined as terrorist by the courts.

However, there is no concrete evidence of Castillo’s connection to the violent actions of Sendero Luminoso. The candidate says he is identified with the “ronderos”, that is to say with the members of the “peasant rounds” who helped the armed forces to destroy the left guerrillas. The “ronderos”, strong in the region of Cajamarca, Ayacucho and other areas where the Sendero has left its mark, support Castillo. There, the “ronderos” are seen, in the Manichean way, like “good”, against “evil”, which would be the members of the Shining Path. It is true that, without the help of this civilian militia, the Peruvian state might never have ended the conflict with the guerrillas. However, the “ronderos” way of acting, unrelated to the institutional legitimacy of a security force, is also responsible for human rights abuses, such as mass killings and extrajudicial killings.

Right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori has repeatedly said that she will not take anti-democratic measures like her father, who shut down Congress, organized a death squad (the Colina group) and joined organizations such as the “Rounds” peasants “. However, word to word there are differences. And there are reasons to pay attention to the marks of classic Fujimorism that Keiko, daughter of the autocrat, may perpetuate.

The coordination of its economic plan, for example, is in the hands of Jorge Baca Campodónico, who was Fujimori’s minister. If Peru has experienced significant growth from the Fujimorist administration, it is also one of the countries that has redistributed the benefits of the “commodity boom” the most, which is reflected in the high level current poverty, 39.9% of the population, and in the informality of the labor market, 77%.

Keiko also says that his government will not be corrupt like that of his father, marked by scandals like the “vladividios”, which showed Fujimori’s main adviser, Vladimiro Montesinos (also currently in prison), corrupting political leaders. But how can we believe a candidate whose corruption investigations are still open? Keiko is running an election campaign with special permission from the justice system, as she could not even, due to her current procedural situation, leave Lima. In recent weeks, he has had to turn down Nobel Mario Vargas Llosa’s invitation to travel to Quito to talk about current Peru at an event on camera because he can’t just leave the country.

The Fujimorista candidate is committed to respecting the rites of democracy. However, she was until recently at the head of Força Popular, a party which, with its majority in Congress, caused the “vacancy” (impeachment) of two presidents, animated by a vindictive spirit linked to the request for pardon of His part. father (arrested, among other things, for robbing the state).

Keiko also says she will be respectful of human rights. But he made scandalous statements last week regarding the more than 200,000 forced sterilizations committed during his father’s tenure, saying they were part of a “family planning” project. The victims of these abuses have been seeking redress from the courts for several years.

It is possible that Castillo and Keiko, when they take the presidency, will turn out to be democratic leaders who respect the institutions of the country. However, both were in debt to Peru in the 90s. It would be important that both clearly explain what they think of the events of the time and what they intend to do. to remedy the ailments caused then.

After all, they are one of the causes of the country’s political instability.

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