mercredi, avril 26, 2006

Actualité - Pérou : Humala wins round one

Franc-Parler publie un article tiré de Green Left Weekly à propos du premier tour des élections présidentielles au Pérou où Ollanta Humala a pris la première place. Ce résultat crée beaucoup d'espoirs pour le peuple péruvien en lutte pour la souveraineté contre les politiques néolibérales et l'impérialisme américain. La perspective d'une victoire d'Humala au second tour élargit le front populaire dans les Amériques contre l'impérialisme.

The April 9 presidential election in Peru attracted the attention of many in Latin America and the rest of the world, given the possibility that Peru may join the wave of South American countries turning against neoliberal policies and imperialism.

The winner of the first round, with 30.82% of the vote, was Ollanta Humala from the Union for Peru Party (UPP), an ex-army lieutenant who labels himself an indigenous revolutionary. Second was former president Alan Garcia from the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) with 24.71%. Right-wing politician Lourdes Flores Nano from National Unity — popularly known as the “candidate of the rich” — came third with 23.64% of the vote.

Peru is one of the 12 poorest countries in the world, with 40% of its population living in extreme poverty as a result of decades of neoliberal policies. The current president, Alejandro Toledo, used his indigenous background to win electoral support from Peru’s poorest, yet once elected revealed himself to be a grand supporter of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. According to recent polls, 90% disapprove of Toledo’s performance.

This time, it seems that the leading parties’ attempts to deceive the Peruvian population were not as successful and the corporate media’s strong support for Flores and its regular attacks and defamations against Humala did not secure victory for its preferred candidate.

The second round of voting — a run-off between the first and second-place candidates — will take place in May. Garcia, who narrowly made second place, was forced to leave Peru after committing embezzlement during his term as president in the 1980s. He has never been penalised.

Some political commentators have compared Humala to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, mainly due to Humala’s anti-imperialist stance. In an interview with Cuban newspaper Granma, Humala said that his government would “reactivate agriculture, give value to the land, protect the producers — starting with respecting the rights of the poorest”. He also stated: “We support the Kyoto Protocol and will give special attention to the precarious situation of the environment.”

Humala has also faced a wave of accusations of crimes, including torture, allegedly committed during 1992 when he headed an anti-subversive base in the Amazon, using the alias “Captain Carlos”. Humala acknowledges that he went by that alias, but has denied the accusations of wrongdoing. He claims his name would be cleared if the armed forces released certain documents, which they have refused to do.

Humala has also been accused of being a homophobe and an extreme anti-Chilean nationalist. Humala’s mother called for the hanging of gays and Humala’s brother and father have campaigned for Peru to go to war with Chile to take the region of Arica back. But in an interview in the April 11 El Comercio, Humala declared that his family is not part of his political project and that he does not accept any type of discrimination, including that advocated by his parents.

In the interview, Humala also stated that he will respect “international investment, private property and freedom of speech — but the investments have to benefit the development of the country. We don’t only want growth [in the economy] we want development.” He also said he wants Peru “to be part of the Latin-American family”, adding that he identifies with Brazilian president Luis Ignacio “Lula” da Silva. Humala told Granma that he “will not accept pressure from any country against any other country. We are 'pro’, not 'anti’ and want to have good relations with all the nations, including Chile and Ecuador, our neighbours.”

Concerns have also been raised about some other UPP candidates, such as vice-presidential candidate Torres Caro. Caro has worked closely with former president Alberto Fujimori, whose legacy is one of corruption and gross human-rights violations.

It is difficult to predict who will win the second round. Garcia can only be successful if he secures Flores’s votes, which would necessitate APRA shifting its electoral program to the right. A win for Humala would be an indication of widespread rejection of neoliberalism and imperialism.

Peru has a history of relatively progressive leaders implementing much-needed reforms to benefit the most needy. However, this has mostly been via what Peruvian commentators term “vertical application reform” — the masses have not been involved in the process. This has meant that when subsequent leaders attempt to take the reforms away, they are met with little or no resistance.

As the Peruvian Communist Party put it in a letter to Humala:

“We hope, Mr Ollanta Humala that, if voted in, you meet all the popular demands and that all your nationalism and anti-imperialism are not just a pose; if not voted in, we hope that together with the people, you will fight for their demands in the streets, building a united left, that should not only be an alternative of leadership but of popular power.”

(Green Left Weekly - Luisa Ara)

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