Peruvian politics: a skin rash, not a deadly disease

Aids and terminal cancer are two different deceases that, if untreated, lead to death. Not in Peruvian politics. Two years ago, Mario Vargas Llosa argued that a presidential run-off scenario confronting the daughter of a corrupt autocrat serving a 25-year sentence for human-right abuses and a former golpista was unthinkable. If this scenario were to take place, Vargas Llosa argued, it would evidence the foolishness of the Peruvian electorate. That scenario, unimaginable for the Nobel laureate and champion of (classical) liberalism back in 2009, will take place this upcoming Sunday when Peruvians will choose between Keiko Fujimori and Ollanta Humala to fill in for President Alan García. But unlike aids and cancer, the two contesters are akin to a rash and a eczema. They could be the same thing and you can live with it.

Take the May 29 televised debate between Fujimori and Humala. In what was supposed to be an opportunity for each candidate to increase his or her voting support, given that most opinion polls showed a tie between the candidates, the two scripted and uncharismatic candidates presented their policy solutions on four broad subjects: poverty alleviation, public security and narco-trafficking, institutions and democracy, and economics and social inclusion. In each of their responses Continue reading

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