23 April 2021 ~ 0 Comentarios

Will Peruvians commit suicide?

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

The two national polls carried out in Peru show Pedro Castillo as the winner against Keiko Fujimori. The most recent one gives him an advantage of 16 points. It is true that the election, which will be held on June 6, is still a month and a half away, and that there are 40% of undecided voters, but I fulfill my duty to warn Peruvians that they will commit collective suicide if they put Pedro Castillo in the presidency. I gave the same warning to Venezuelans in 1998 regarding Hugo Chávez, but they laughed at me. “This Cuban prophet of doom is already announcing a catastrophe,” they said. And the catastrophe happened, as told by the almost six million Venezuelans who have had to flee their country to feed themselves.

Castillo is a teacher who rides a horse. So far there is nothing to object. Many teachers ride horses in Peru, especially in rural areas. The problem is of another nature. Castillo has come to believe the tale of 21st century socialism. He is a radical trade unionist who became somewhat famous by leading several teachers’ strikes. He is a Castroist and a Chavista. Since he was born in 1969, Castillo did not know the horror of the precursor of such monstrosity –General Juan Velasco Alvarado. He was only one year old when the general stormed into the Pizarro Palace in 1968.

Juan Velasco Alvarado, a nationalist military man, staged a coup against the democratic government of architect Fernando Belaúnde Terry. He established a left-wing populist dictatorship, showing that you don’t have to be a Marxist to be completely wrong. His pretext for the coup was that page 11 of the agreement between the Peruvian State and a foreign company that owed him a certain amount of money in a slow-paced lawsuit had disappeared. However, as Jaime Althaus, an exceptional Peruvian journalist and anthropologist, established, the truth was that Velasco, like so many members of the military, hated APRA ferociously and all the polls gave the victory to that party. The general nationalized oil, fishing, mining, almost all banking, and public services, carried out a demagogic agrarian reform and prevented Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre from being president of Peru. He was, as has been said, profoundly anti-APRA.

Velasco stayed in power until 1975, when another general, Francisco Morales Bermúdez, invoking the “true Marxist revolution,” staged another coup. But then he had second thoughts, restored the market, and in the 1980 elections Belaúnde returned to power. However, it was not until the 1990s that Peru began to grow again, thanks to Alberto Fujimori’s economic policy, partially stolen from Mario Vargas Llosa’s program, although without the liberal spirit and respect for the law that the novelist intended to imprint on his government.

Fortunately for Peru, all the rulers who followed –Valentín Paniagua, Alejandro Toledo, the second Alan García (the first was a disaster), Ollanta Humala, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Martín Vizcarra, even Francisco Sagasti, who has had to deal with the pandemic– have carried on the liberal pro-market guidelines set out by Fujimori, which explains the relative success of the Peruvian economy.

All that would be destroyed in a Pedro Castillo’s government. Peruvian production will be decimated in the same way that Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro shattered the booming Venezuelan economy, or the Castros sank the Cuban economy, achieving the counter-miracle of destroying sugar production, to the extent that today the agricultural sector generates the same production as in 1894, when the Island had a million inhabitants and was not electrified.

The way to avoid this is to vote for Keiko Fujimori. The arguments of Mario and Álvaro Vargas Llosa are worth seeing and hearing since they both supported Ollanta Humala and PPK when they previously faced Keiko. In a democracy one does not always choose the ally or the adversary. To abstain or vote blank is to vote for who is leading in the election. Alberto Fujimori’s complicity with the corruption and crimes of Montesinos is true, as well as the puddle of corruption in which almost all Peruvian politicians splash, but that is in the past and what matters now is to save the future. Hopefully Peruvians do not commit a mass suicide.

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