Today, June 5, is the second round of the Peruvian presidential elections.
Ollanta Humala, who represents the coalition Gana Perú, was the frontrunner in April’s first round. Keiko Fujimori represents the conservative and neoliberal sectors. She is the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, now incarcerated for corruption and human rights violations.
It’s clear a Keiko Fujimori administration would be a repetition of the awful legacy of her father. She has said the elder Fujimori was “Peru’s best president ever,” and economist Luis Vittor points out that the younger Fujimori “has hired the same people who worked for her father. With her is Dr. Alejandro Aguinaga, who reminds us of Nazi Germany. As minister of health, Aguinaga sterilized more than 300,000 poor women against their will. Keiko’s press spokeswoman on topics of human rights, Milagros Maraví, coordinated … how to make Fujimori look good despite his human rights violations.”
In addition, the Peruvian newspaper La República notes that Keiko Fujimori’s main campaign headquarters is located right next to the police station where her father is serving out his sentence. Without a doubt, electing Fujimori would be, as Vittor writes, “a return to a past we don’t want to repeat.”
On the other hand, Humala, who lost the 2006 election to current conservative president Alan García, has softened his criticism of international capital. Humala writes in his platform that he will “honor all of the commitments of the State.” One of these commitments is a Trade Promotion Agreement with the United States, put in place in 2009. This agreement, just like its regional predecessors NAFTA and DR-CAFTA, puts national agricultural production and mineral resources at risk of US expropriation.
Even though the US and most media have painted Humala as a “leftist” and a “socialist,” the Peruvian left warns that Humala is “more of the same.” He has among his supporters the well-known neoliberal, Mario Vargas Llosa, and the Peruvian organization Uníos writes: “we vote for Humala because of the danger of the return of Fujimori’s mafia… but this man doesn’t deserve the least bit of trust and he has given us more than enough evidence of his positions.”
During this election season, neither one of the candidates has shown any indication of improving the conditions of peasants who protest the mineral extraction and fight to save their communities from environmental degradation. Thousands of peasants protest the mining installations throughout the country. The best-known example is the border town of Puno, where more than a thousand trucks are stuck on the Peru-Bolivia border, their movement paralyzed by the protesters.
According to Uníos: “It´s too bad the Peruvian people have to choose between a fascist right and a neoliberal right. Still pending is the work of developing a political alternative that reflects our people´s struggle and our will for change”.
For many on the left in Peru today, going to the polls to say NO TO KEIKO will be the action of a single day, within the context of building collective movements for solidarity, democratic participation and daily revolution.
Tim Shenk, Justicia Global.