Monday, March 20, 2006

Humala Racing To Finish Line permanent link   0 comments
Even though I have expressed my doubts regarding the reliability of peruvian election surveys, it appears that nationalist Ollanta Humala, who calls himself the "antisystem" candidate, is emerging as the favorite to be the next president of Peru.

Three weeks before the election, on the first day of autumn in southern hemisphere, indications are that Humala is racing to the finish line while conservative candidate Lourdes Flores is running out of gas. This manifests the peruvian electoral phenomenon of rooting for the underdog and outsider with limited political experience, a trend that started in 1990 when Alberto Fujimori, a professor at the University of Agriculture, took power and continued with Alejandro Toledo in 2001.
The ascent of Humala expresses the appalling contrast of social classes in Peru, the regional rift between the Lima metropolis and the rural rest of the country and in addition, ethnic-racial disparities between the native mestizos (or "cholos") and los blancos (the "whites").
People favor Humala because they feel an ethnic identification towards him, even though he doesn't reveal a concrete political plan or agenda, and they see in Lourdes Flores Nano the typical "symbol of power", a symbol that historically always relates to corruption.
Under the current circumstances it seems that the majority of people doesn't care much that he is a political nobody, his questionable past and background and the lack of a concrete government plan seems not important.

If Humala is elected, where is this country headed? A further stabilized democracy with dramatically improving quality of life and education for everyone, especially the poor, while keeping the economy growing and foreign relationships blooming?
Or is this country headed towards another military-controlled, totalitarian dictatorship, based on ethnic-racial sentiments, a government-controlled, socialistic economy and restrictions on freedom of speech and the press? Will Peru become the Belarus of South America, Humala the Latin Lukashenko?

Anything seems possible.

According to a recent internet poll, asking people if they would stay in Peru or rather leave the country if Humala is elected, 56% of the 1800+ voters answered they would leave the country. A staggering number, in my opinion.



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