Saturday, July 2

Elections in Peru: Walking a tightrope | Opinion


If we put a map of South America under our eyes, it is evident that in recent years the forces of the left have reaped considerable triumphs. In the Brazilian giant, in addition to the atrocities committed by Jair Bolsonaro himself and those attributed to him by the foreign press, which hates him, the judges have released Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the Partido dos Trabalhadores are well on their way to the next election. If foreigners could vote, Lula, his spoiled child, would sweep. Brazilians are more cautious: they remember above all that several sentences weigh on him, for taking advantage of power and for corruption. The candidacy of Judge Sergio Moro for the presidency of the Republic – the man who sent the largest number of businessmen, officials and criminals in the history of Brazil to jail in the Lava Jato operation – has been deflating and now seems paralyzed, perhaps abolished.

In Argentina, the Alberto Fernández / Cristina Kirchner duo is getting worse every day and the break is in the air; but both are less foolish than you think and will probably maintain an apparent coexistence to retain power. It is of little use to them, judging by the catastrophic state of the nation. Chile is not doing much better and everything in this country, which seemed to have done its homework and grown to distance itself from the rest of Latin America and reach European levels, is now in absolute chaos. The Communist Party, which had shrunk almost to the fringes, is now the country’s leading political party, led by fierce young men of both sexes who dream of a uniformed nation with a state-controlled economy that would ruin a society that, it seemed, was going to to be the first in Latin America to end underdevelopment. But who remembers it now? The Communist Party and the revolutionaries and anarchists of the Frente Amplio, and their angry young men, seem to have the immediate future conquered, and, to add insult to injury, the right – the extreme right that is also ultra-Catholic – seems confined to the Pituco neighborhood of The Counts. How are the 150 people elected – perhaps more – going to write the new Constitution? Pulling her hair out, of course. The country that we believed to be in the vanguard has passed to the rear of Latin America amidst the devastations of which one number is enough to measure the catastrophe: in less than half an hour the rebels burned and destroyed eight stations of the most modern and expensive subway in Latin America .

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In Bolivia, Evo Morales’ forces have returned to power and he now has a candidate whom he promotes and calls “brother” and “cholito” in all his speeches. But he is not Bolivian but Peruvian: Pedro Castillo, who is contesting the second round with Keiko Fujimori in the Peruvian elections that will be decided on Sunday. Colombia, as seen in the newspapers, burns everywhere and President Iván Duque is attacked even by his own party and his teacher, former President Álvaro Uribe, accuses him of being weak and no longer resorting to the Army to appease the violent who, guided by the Venezuelan hand, want to seize power from him. The lonely Ecuador, with another lonely, Uruguay, countries where voters have been more sensible than the rest of South Americans, are the few democratic exceptions in a subcontinent that seems bent on resuscitating the Marxism-Leninism that Europeans and Asians have taken charge of. to bury.

The case of Peru, a country that borders five South American countries, and is an immediate favorite target for the Cuban, Venezuelan, Bolivian and Nicaraguan axis, will be settled this Sunday, between the candidate of that quadriga, Pedro Castillo, and Keiko Fujimori, the two finalists in the first electoral round. The latter has been reducing the distance it had with the winner, of more than six points, and that one descending smoothly until reaching both, according to the latest polls, a technical tie. Whoever wins will have many problems with a highly divided Parliament, in which it will be difficult for any government to obtain that indispensable majority that is needed to pass laws.

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But, unlike others, this election in Peru will mean not a change in the people in power, as up to now, but a change in the system. If Pedro Castillo wins the election, Marxism-Leninism-Mariateguism (as its hosts define it) will come to power surged and sacramented with the votes of the Peruvians, and, as the leaders of the Peru Libre party that presented this party have clearly said candidate, that of Vladimir Cerrón, do not intend to leave power, in the manner of all the communist regimes that existed in the past on the planet and of which are surviving examples Cuba, Venezuela and the Nicaragua of Commander Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo. That is what the Peruvians want? A country devastated by censorship, economic incompetence, without private companies or foreign investment, impoverished by uninformed and servile bureaucrats, and a political police that daily drowns out fantastic conspiracies creating a dictatorship more ferocious and bloodthirsty than any that the world has ever known? country throughout its history?

Many Peruvians believe not and we have decided to vote for Keiko Fujimori. She has publicly apologized for her past mistakes and considerably expanded her government team, incorporating convicted and confessed anti-Fujimoristas, and committing to respect freedom of expression, the judiciary, and handing over power after five years as established by the Constitution. . It is not certain that these promises will win the election. But, if he loses it, the sure thing, yes, is that with Pedro Castillo in power there will not be clean elections in Peru again, and the supposed electoral “consultations” will be identical to those collective farces of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. every certain number of years, in which the population is asked to confirm with their votes the candidates elected to power.

My impression is that a good part of the Peruvian left is resigned to a dictatorship like the one that is looming in the country if the small party of Vladimir Cerrón (who graduated as a doctor in Cuba, where he lived for 10 years), the ex-governor of Junín who could not be the presidential candidate of his party for having committed crimes sanctioned by the judges, wins the second round. The appearance of Pedro Castillo, a teacher from Chota, a Cajamarca region, has come as a surprise to the people of Lima, who suddenly discovered that the provinces existed, with enormous demands against the capital – which represents more or less a third of the population. population but which concentrates most of the economic and political power of the country – and a resentment that the poor handling of the pandemic has aggravated since it has killed one in every two hundred Peruvians (about 180,000 people) so far, especially in the provinces and villages de la sierra, is reflected like in a mirror in these elections. But giving in to the most immediate, such as the enormous distances that separate the rich from the poor in the country and that this pandemic has made more visible and dramatic, is to rush into a political suicide that would close forever – or for a very long time. the possibility of the country to recover its old history, when it was, in the pre-Hispanic past, the head of an empire that fed the whole world, or in the three hundred colonial years when the Peruvian viceroyalty was the most prosperous in America. All this to become an agent at the service of Cuba and Venezuela, countries that, although they are starving and turned into prisons, know above all how to repress and control a bankrupt society. That is why I have campaigned for Keiko Fujimori and I very much hope that he wins this election.

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World press rights in all languages ​​reserved to Ediciones EL PAÍS, SL, 2021.

© Mario Vargas Llosa, 2021.

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