Monday, March 27, 2006

Highway To The Danger Zone permanent link   8 comments
The radical and often intolerant declarations make me wonder what goes through the mind of the Humala clan, a family who could have a monumental impact on the destiny and fate of all Peruvians over the next five years.
Recently the heads of the family, Isaac and Elena Humala, parents of Ollanta, Ulises and Antauro, stated they would amnesty and release terrorists and shoot homosexuals. Ollanta however tries to keep the enkindled fire in check by pointing out an ideological separation between himself and the rest of the Humala family, that his relatives are not members of his party and his presidency will not become a family project. He then kindly requested to abandon this banal line of questioning by confronting the interviewer with a question of his own: "If your mother says that you used diapers until you were 10 years old, how would you think of that?"
It seems that he is familiar with the proverb 'the apple never falls far from the tree', he knows that during an election campaign the dispersion of such threatening rhethoric isn't the smartest thing to do.
He also knows that these "issues" can be addressed after his rise to power. After all ; based on the experience from various examples; the discrepancy between the many promises and statements made by electoral candidates during a campaign and the actual actions and initiatives after the polling stations are closed, is basic common knowledge of any citizen in any country. Like Konrad Adenauer, the first German Chancellor after WWII, once jovially said to his aids: "Who cares about my blabber from yesterday?"

Humala says he wants to strengthen democracy. How? By weakening its pillars of free speech and opinion? By "regulating" the mass media? By discriminating the opposition? By stating: "I have commanded soldiers. Now I want to command the people."? Already he likes to be addressed as "El Commandante" Humala and frequently refers to himself in third person.

When recently asked about the difference of Hitler's national socialism and his nationalistic ideologies, he stated that "past forms of nationalism historically arose as an evolution from monarchic states, based on people's exacerbation. Our nationalism is not imperialistic like the national socialism of that time, our nationalism is vindictive, justified (somos un nacionalismo reivindicativo)."
That's it?? Why do I somehow feel uncomfortable and dissatisfied with this short explanation? El Commandante, do you really think that the horrendous atrocities caused by Hitler's Nazi regime and the resulting 50+ million casualties do not deserve a clear distinction from your ideals?
Never mind, since you are the poor victim of an alleged smear campaign initiated by the press and the wealthy businesses, I am sure it was the interviewer's fault to not asking you and digging any further.
Just like yesterday when a guy with a parachute, carrying his first name in big letters, landed on the pitch in the middle of the most prestigious football match in front of 40,000 people. After he was greeted by the crowd with empty bottles and a ... well, lets just say overall negative acceptance, Humala blamed the businessmen for sponsoring yet another obvious plot against him, which of course will no longer be tolerated after the scepter is handed to El Commandante. The poor guy later admitted that he was a big supporter of Humala and it was his very own idea, he didn't receive a Nuevo Sol from anyone for his courageous act.
Then his personal press secretary, party friend and candidate for Congress, Daniel Abugattás, verbally insults the current "First Lady" in the worst possible way (no profanities here at 'un lobo'!), and calls the loved ones of the murdered victims at Madre Mia, "crazier than a goat". They are the people who accused "Captain Carlos", a.k.a. El Commandante Humala, as the one responsible for the Human Rights violations. Humala is very, very busy lately apologizing for all the people who are closest to him.

Obviously, for Peruvians the track records and handwriting of previous and current populist, nationalistic, authoritarian, totalitarian despots is not part of common knowledge or it doesn't seem to matter, even though they experienced similar regimes not too long ago. They always start out by claiming to be the voice of the common man and to help the poor and underprivileged. However, after climbing the throne and holding the strings of government, the first thing they do is strengthening the military and police forces and change constitutional laws to keep them in power. How does that help the poor, I ask myself.
Just look at Humala's buddy in Venezuela. Not too long ago, the BBC asked for people's opinion worldwide on Hugo Chavez' performance since coming to power in 1998. You can the responses yourself and make your own judgment. In my opinion, he is busier fighting his rhetoric war against the imperialistic neighbor from the north than keeping his promises towards the poor.
"I am going to practice with a bow and arrow. If we have to put a few arrows into any invading gringo, then you'll be done in 30 seconds, my dear gringo," Chavez said pointing to his neck during his regular Sunday television broadcast. Statements like that certainly creates a chuckle among his supporters and, most importantly, it will give the poor, unemployed people in the jungle a new source of income and a defined career path: the fabrication of curare and arrow heads. What a great idea of boosting your local economy!
However, there's one big difference between Peru and Venezuela, among others. Peru does have valuable natural gas resources, copper, silver and gold. And the coca plant. But it doesn't have the oil resources to play and joggle with in front of enemies.

When I take a good a look at the three leading candidates, I see a woman who doesn't have the ability to connect with the majority of people (the poor, indigenous), who cannot distance herself rigorously from the 'corruption issue', who can say and proclaim all she wants but will never be able to lose the image of representing the elite.
Then I see a man who most people had never even heard of a year ago, me included. A political nobody with a flaming rhetoric, who finally - after 6 months of campaigning - gives us a little insight in what his actual governmental plans are. But those plans seem to change or adapt whenever the situation calls for it.
And, last but not least, the guy from the middle, a guy who's been around politically for over two decades, not counting his time spent in exile, a guy who could be the ideal compromise. But he already showed his weaknesses as president some 20 years ago after bringing the economy to the brink of collapse, and leaving the country in shambles. Even if he has learned from his previous shortcomings, the famous expression of 'deja-vu all over again' still creeps in the back of ones mind.

Tough choices, I say.
Here's to hoping and praying that people know what they're doing when they drop this monstrous piece of paper in the ballot box.



At 3/27/2006 07:57:00 PM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy wrote...

I apologize in advance for showing the wrong flag in the background of the picture :-)

At 3/28/2006 03:38:00 AM, Blogger ::Alejandro:: wrote...

Good analyisis, Inka Wolfy.

What gets my goat is that Humala is being tagged with the 'leftist' label, but I don't find anything 'leftist' about him at all. He just seems like Velasco Alvarado redux.

I simply do no understand. I've watched Peru emerge from a fog as thick as the neblina in Lima in August, the country I visit now is nothing at all what it was under Velasco or the terrible years of Senderismo. Electing Humala is a huge step backwards for the country. The irony is that my sources tell me that Dionisio Romero, the wealthiest man in Peru is backing Humala, but then his buddy buddy Waisman is also linked with Flores Nano.

A few months back, there was an excellent interview with a leading psychologist, Roberto Lerner, who said something like, "In this country, the elites will bed with whomever they need to in order to maintain their power, whether it be the right or the left."

There's something to be said about that. As a kid, I remember the talk about 'las 40 familias' that ran the country. I think in Poli Sci, we call that an oligarchy.

So the complexion of the landlord in the Palacio de Pizarro may change, but we all know who runs the show in Peru.

Having said that, for the common person on the street, I think the repercussions of an Humala presidency at this stage in the game will be tantamount to political and economic suicide for Peruvians.

I have never in my life supported a candidate who allegedly or obvertly supported the 'elites,' but in this topsy-turvy world of 2006 Peruvian Presidential elections, I can only hope Lourdes makes it.

Pobre de Perú si sale Humala.

At 3/28/2006 11:42:00 PM, Anonymous AbS wrote...

Just a note: you can qualify -and that is certainly your choice- their nationalism as 'vindictive' but that is not per se the meaning of "reinividicar" or "reivindicativo" as the 4th parragraph suggests.

Not that I sympathize with Humala's means or expressions but after living in Peru and interacting for quite some time with the less priviledged people, their choosing Humala seems quite logical.

The other two runner-ups are simply a continuation of the status quo. Their promises sound too much as charity that wont even arrive anyway.

Need i have to remind you that this is a country where a battered or even raped women that goes to a police station is made fun of by the officers? where congressmen appear constantly in tv caught in their sleep, while earning 16 salaries a year, verbally menacing the press and attacking individuals and nothing happens? I could go on and on and in all powers of the state, in all institutions of this society... just like Gonzales Prada's 'donde pongo el dedo, ahí salta la pus'.

And the righteous and holier-than-thou attitude just helps them sink more and more in the perception of the masses. Their lack of connection with the masses is astounding.

It just reinforces the perception that they don't get it.

Humala's rising seems to further support that.

At 3/29/2006 12:55:00 PM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy wrote...

to Abs:
Just a note: you can qualify -and that is certainly your choice- their nationalism as 'vindictive' but that is not per se the meaning of "reinividicar" or "reivindicativo" as the 4th parragraph suggests.

So how would you translate/qualify "nacionalismo reivindicativo" in that context? Very curious.

I admit that sometimes things get "lost in translation" but I tried very hard, believe me, to find an acceptable english wording that explains the exact meaning of this phrase for my readers; and this was the closest I could come up with. Sometimes expressions are simply not translatable without losing a certain degree of meaning or emphasis. Perhaps this is one of those examples.

Otherwise we seem to be in agreement, Abs. And as I understand your comment, it basically reflects what I said in my last post paragraph.
Change and a different approach is essential for Peru. The focus on improving the quality of life for 90% of all Peruvians has to be the number one objective. Change = good! Keeping the status quo = bad! Radical change as visioned by Humala = bad!
This country is thrown from one extreme to another. In order to develop and improve, you have to stay on track, follow a certain goal and directive. Adjustments along the way, by means of changing vehicles, a different approach and tweaking, are needed and necessary to accomplish that. I just wish there was a forth option, but it seems there isn't. You just cannot turn the steering wheel completely around and let the tires screech. People here are so fed up, they simply run out of patience. Any promise for drastic change is worth voting for, even if this change is 'represented' and initiated by a crook and a bunch of thugs.

to "el gato volador"(....great name, funny song :-):
welcome to 'un lobo', good analysis yourself!
The label of being "left, middle or right" has always been a little foggy IMO, especially when talking of national socialism which is ranging from the far left to the far right..... I always wondered why that is. Must be Hitler's fault by incorporating "socialism" in his party's name....

Anyway, there's nothing to argue with the fact that "money rules the world". Always has been, and probably always will.

At 3/29/2006 01:54:00 PM, Anonymous AbS wrote...

to wolfy:

I wouldn't.

'Reivindicar' seems to describe the aim of putting 'el pueblo' and its common good first -suggesting that this should be the state of affairs- in oposition to imperialism and the interests of a minority. Die Welt umgeckehrt.

My marxism is not as good as to pinpoint a term that would describe this in just an english word.

It was just that your wording reminded me the media perspective when talking about Humala.

Lately news is no longer information. It feels more like a show where who shouts louder, who finds more creative or more elaborate ways of using adjectives to qualify the-end-of-the-word-as-we-know-it and display surprise, panic or even horror faces is the best reporter. And of course, Humala is the boogie man... fear the boogie man!, the first horsemen of the apocalypse... the end of all things that should be avoided at all and any costs...

What are we, fscking brats who do not want to eat their vegetables? :-)

Not that Humala has done his fair share for helping create this halo.

I rarely follow the media, barely watch channel 8 from time to time.

But if he is in fact elected, doesn't that just confirm the inability of the others to connect to the interests of the majority of peruvians? and if that would be the case, why should they deserve to reach the government if their good intentions and grandiose and rational plans don't even get them close to a minimum understanding of people's wishes, needs and expectations?

Then, why should we care for them?

There are more options -Villaran, Koechlin usw- but they came too little and too late to this election.

At 3/30/2006 04:15:00 PM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy wrote...

muchas gracias for the clarification, Abs.

and please, no profanity. Not even in a misspelled form.
Much appreciated, thanks.

At 4/07/2006 07:49:00 PM, Anonymous rici wrote...

"Vindictive" in English has to do with revenge, which has nothing to do with "reivindicar". "Reivindicar" means "to reclaim what is yours by right" or "to restore to public esteem", both of which are possible meanings for the English word "revindicate", which is the usual translation. I don't think many English speakers would use "revindicative" as an adjective. I wouldn't, anyway.

It might be translated as "we are a nationalism which seeks to reclaim our nation"; I think that's what he meant.

In this sense, it probably comes closer to Irish nationalism than "national socialism" (Sinn Féin means "we ourselves" in Gaelic), which is sometimes described as a movement for "national reclamation" (but never, as far as I know, as "reclamatory nationalism") :)

I don't know if that helps at all.

At 4/08/2006 03:08:00 PM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy wrote...

thanks rici,
that helps A LOT.


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