Peru's Presidential Runoff
Peru will be electing a president tomorrow, and you'll have to pardon me for being less than enthused about either of the candidates. The main conservative candidate, Lourdes Flores, was knocked out in the first round on April 9th. So, Peruvians get to choose between leftist former president Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala, a radical leftist who has been openly endorsed by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
Garcia's first administration (1985-90) was marked by runaway inflation, the decline of five million Peruvians into poverty, a 20% drop in Peru's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the rise of the communist Shining Path guerilla insurgency. Peruvians were so sick of politics as usual by the time his term ended that they elected an anti-establishment populist named Alberto Fujimori, who disbanded congress in 1992 and ruled as dictator until 2000.
Humala, on the other hand, is a former army officer who mounted an unsuccessful rebellion against Fujimori in 2000. His family heads the Etnocacerista movement, which promotes nationalizing industry and legalizing coca cultivation. Etnocaceristas also advocate placing Native Americans in positions of power at the expense of other ethnic groups. Humala has also been openly endorsed by Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia, both of whom are radical socialists who hate the US and accuse George Bush of trying to assassinate them.
Putting Alan Garcia back in power would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. However, elevating an ultra-nationalist radical socialist like Humala to the presidency would be even more destructive to Peru. So, faced with the choice between a leftist and a LEFTIST, I find myself begrudgingly hoping that Alan Garcia is returned to power.
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