23 May 2021 ~ 0 Comentarios

Peru or a society with one foot in the grave

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

On June 6 we’ll know if Peruvians will commit a collective suicide. I read a survey in the Expreso newspaper that shows that Pedro Castillo today is “only” 3.2% ahead of Keiko Fujimori. It reminds me, I don’t know why, a Cuban anecdote by José María Eça de Queiroz. The Portuguese writer and diplomat visited his doctor in Havana (he lived two years in Cuba) and explained his symptoms. He was, of course, a hypochondriac. The doctor assured him that he had nothing, that he was very well. “That comforts me,” the novelist told him. “I will die in perfect health.

Peruvians will die in perfect health. They will commit suicide in full enjoyment of their mental faculties. The democratic system works extraordinarily well. The elections are transparent. It is true that Pedro Castillo is not 20 points ahead of Keiko Fujimori, as he was the day after their surprising triumph in the primaries. And it is also true that the trend in the polls seems to hurt Castillo, but a handful of votes is enough to tip the balance.

In reality, just one extra vote on Castillo’s plate is enough for him to win the election and plunge the country into a major disaster. In Chile, Peru’s great benchmark, the recent elections to the Constituent Assembly showed that the independent left and the Communist Party are at their best, although only 41% of the electoral roll voted. There is a certain weariness regarding the traditional parties.

Bolivian writer Juan Claudio Lechín, a great expert on the communists’ behavior, told me, “In Chile and Peru, comrades have effectively dedicated themselves to destroying political parties, presenting them as insurmountable sources of corruption. That is why many young people have taken to the streets to destroy everything that they could not loot or take home. It has been a work of demolition in which we all have collaborated actively or passively with our complicit silence.” Lechín is right.

The poll published in Expreso appeared before the first presidential debate between Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo, held in Chota, Cajamarca. In the debate it became clear that the rural teacher had no idea of ​​how to rule or create jobs. After that meeting, two other polls have appeared in which Castillo has a five-point advantage. Keiko Fujimori has to work miracles to win the election.

Can she do it? Of course she can do it. All she has to do is showing the Peruvians that she knows how to create a social climate that is favorable to the continuity of economic growth in which her compatriots are reflected. The anti-communist message does not make much sense. The poor Peruvians, who are the majority, don’t believe or don’t care what happens in Cuba or Venezuela. They have a very bad opinion of the Venezuelans who have “invaded” Peru, or assume that Peru is not Cuba or Venezuela, and therefore what happened in those unfortunate countries is not going to happen to them.

Ordinary Peruvians are simply not immersed in an ideological debate. Someone who is able to vote for Castillo, or who finds his hat and his horse likeable, does not have the least amount of information that is required to realize the problem he is creating in the country, or what it means to rule a nation when there is an obvious paradigm shift.

Nor do they remember the strengths and weaknesses of 82-year-old engineer Alberto Fujimori. Peru today is very different from the one that saw him defeat Mario Vargas Llosa, or rule after the disorder of the first Alan García. No Peruvian under the age of 30 can recreate the anguish Peru suffered when it seemed that “Shining Path” was going to win the battle. Fujimori was a ruler of the 1990s. It is his daughter’s turn to save Peru here and now. Hopefully those who are considering not to vote or vote blank will notice. Otherwise, they will be supporting Castillo.

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