Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lessening the two evils

And thus the choice of Peru is becoming the choice of a continent.  We hoped for the last minute surprise of PPK edging Keiko Fujimori but it was not to happen.  And thus in what is almost a text book case of two extremes joining, a majority of Peruvians have voted for totally unacceptable extremes and they imposed upon the more civilized stock the nasty duty to chose the less stinky option they left us at the toilet of history.  See, I am already using "us" and I am not Peruvian.

Tonight I was very briefly watching Buenas Noches in Globovision, another example of shitty choice between utter idiocy and utter evil at VTV.  I watched it because as I was surfing I got there just as they started talking of Peru's election.  Kiko, in his unreconstructed superficial leftism said he was going to go for Humala while his side kick Carla Angola refused to take an outright stand, indicating as such that she was going to Keiko.  And thus was there the trap set by the left, that you could not possibly consider Keiko over Ollanta, because, you know, she is the daughter of a dictator...  You laugh?  Even Quico fell for that one, going as far as confusing a banal campaign clip as the dark designs of Keiko Fujimori.  It is fitting that this 11 of April I learned more about how come Chavez became president than I had learned in a long time.  See, Kiko Bautista was an open supporter of Chavez in 1998 while I was already telling to whomever cared to listen to me that Chavez was hell upon us.  And Quico Toro is a well known comeflor seen as stepping on his own toes occasionally.

It is not fair to cite only these two but at this time they are already the first evidence of what is going to be the move of Humala and his Brazilian advisers who probably will go as far as having Lula drop casually at Lima in the next weeks, while staging an artificial war of words with Chavez if needed.  The move is to fake moderation, to claim the high moral ground for "el pueblo" against the right wing dictator.  The false choice of leftist dictatorships over right wing ones.

Now, I do not mean with these words that I am going to vote for Keiko ( I want to vote at Machu Pichu).  The choice for me would be to either not vote or vote for Keiko and I have not made that choice yet, there are two months of campaign for Keiko to convince me.  But I know that there is nothing that Ollanta can say or do to make me even fleetingly give him a once again look down.

Ollanta Humala is bad news, assured.

He comes from a nationalistic and racist background.  Those leave scars and there is no evidence whatsoever that the man has worked on those issues.  Not even a shrink bill to show for.

He comes from an army background.  He was enough a follower not to quit as a protest against Fujimori's dictatorship.  And he was a failed coup-monger, molded already in 2000 on the Chavez school of military felony.  Except that Chavez had a real conspiracy whereas Humala was a media grabbing attention more than a coup.  Thus we have already there a felon that operates on rigid linear lines.  All my sensors are instantly activated when I see such people, even before I knew that there was such a creep like Chavez.  Such people are always bad news, everywhere.  Military felons who deserve pardon and a political career know quite well when to defect: see Napoleon1 or de Gaulle for positive historical examples and Napoleon 3 for the counter example that confirms the cases of Chavez and Humala.

Humala has not shown any sign of modernity, of understanding how modern economics function, how Peruvian economy function.  His Brazilian advisers might have polished him some (though he reads always from written statements at debates!) but there is no evidence that his positions on what to do about Peru have evolved significantly to the more realistic possibilities since his bid 5 years ago.  For memory Lula had to lose many elections, and thus evolved slowly enough to make his mutation credible.  Humala is far from having gone through Lula's experience to understand that successful politics is the art of compromise to reach some of your key goals at the expense of other goals.

The leftist positioning of Humala shows clear signs of being just a means to an end, and there is already enough evidence for that.  For example, for someone campaigning for the poor it seems that he is the one who invested the most in his campaign.  Where does that money come from?  For someone who defends the poor he seems to live in an area wealthy enough that he was booed at his polling station.  those are not empty signs, they show carelessness from his part, betraying that his only aim is to become president of Peru to live well.  If to this you add his promise to call for a constituent assembly then the picture is complete.

Humala is a known evil and thus a democrat cannot vote for him.  Even less after the examples of Chavez, Correa and Morales, though this last one has some attenuating circumstances.  Humala is a No-No. Period.  He cannot be "lessened" as the lesser of two evils because in my book it reflects an intellectual weakness for those that would advance such a option, and inability to chose, to look at hard facts.  He is the candidate of the resentido social, those that let emotions and values take the better of them.  Humala is playing full into it.

But Keiko is also the candidate of the resentido social.  So, how can you sort them out?  Well, it is not easy and as I wrote above, I am certainly not ready to vote for her even if she were to send me a ticket for Machu Pichu to vote for her.  But there is a difference between her and Humala and we ought to ourselves to admit of such a difference and own to it.

For one thing she might be daddy's girl and to be in this charade for the lone reason to take her dad out of jail.  As such Peru is also at risk for major political instability and economical loss as is the certain fate under Humala who has not even learned from the Velasco Alvarado era.  Fortunately this can be countered more effectively than a constituent assembly that idiots will vote for thinking that it will give them the right to live off the state for free.  It is as simple as telling Keiko to serve her term, improve the jail conditions of her dad, put a direct phone line with web-cam to him from her office and pardon him a few days before she leaves office.  Surely someone should be able to explain that to her, no?

Her other argument is to redeem her father's terms in office.  And that is something that should be done.  This is not a matter of forgiving him of all the people he had shot, and all the Montesinos he sponsored.  But the fact of the matter is that Fujimori picked up a collapsed Peru and 10 years after gave to Toledo a stabilized country.  Toledo and Garcia would have never had the successes they claim if they had not received a working country, a luxury that Fujimori did not have.

I visited Peru in 1998 and I can assure you that I would greatly prefer to live in Lima 1998 than Caracas 2011.  Oh yes, it was a dictatorship alright but it certainly was not worse than the one we suffer today: it had elections like in Venezuela today, and the press was equally self censored.  Yes, Fujimori was killing more people than Chavez but even that can be debated because on one hand Fujimori had a REAL threat with the Shining Path while Chavez created the narco state which has given us a crime rate that makes Fujimori crime rate pale in comparison.  Chavez murders are indirect but they are his as much as Fujimori's direct murders are his.

It is very easy to demonize Alberto Fujimori and I, for one, am happy with him rotting in jail to his death.  But that is no excuse on dismissing his rule and trashing it down uncritically while those who do so never had an alternative proposal (well, except Vargas Llosa).  I am reminded as I type this of Manuel Caballero who wrote a biography of Gomez and was able to include an occasional praise, or even one better, Jorge Olavarria writing in El Nacional that one day we would put up statues to Gomez....

The problem with Keiko Fujimori  is not that she wants to do that, or even the way she may want to do it: the real problem with Keiko is whether she stands for anything more than avenging her daddy.  After all, we could classify her daddy fondness on the same shelf as Humala love of "el pueblo".  But what is behind her?  What are her guarantees that corruption does not return under the guise of born again Montesinitos?  How are her plans to make sure that she will not forget about Peru's vibrant economy while she visits her daddy in jail?
I never got a single dollar from Montesinos.  He gave it all to my Daddy  and my Daddy gave it to me
Note that I do not consider her a direct threat to democracy like I think Humala is.  She is a threat much more through a lack of acumen, a political laissez faire than a real desire to dismiss democracy.  After all she seems educated enough and has had some parliamentary experience to teach her how democracy functions, something lacking woefully in Humala.  Let's not forget that the Fujimori of 1995 was still democrat enough to run a semi fair election and that his avowed claim was to end his second term and let another guy come up.  But then Montesinos happened and his post 1995 success and the Japan embassy operation made him believe himself indispensable (plus, I am sure, some guilty feelings that required extended office terms to hide them until all forgot about them).

Fortunately for Peru the threat that Keiko represents to democracy is one that can be controlled through an alliance with her, allowing for a real prime minister to rule the country while she does her own thing.  She is not like a certain German Chancellor that pretended to be controllable by a certain von Papen.  Keiko from what I see seems to know her limits and is probably not the type of person that wants to remain in office for ever.  But she could work for her brother to replace her, and for a return to the old Alberto style of wheeling and dealing.

And this is the real problem for her, what she needs to do to assuage our fears.  She can do it, while Humala cannot do so.  She might not be palatable at all but she can do it.  And let's not be biblical here and think about the sins of our fathers visited upon us.  There is no way for us to decide whether her refusal to condemen the crimes of her father are a poltical ploy, mere filial piety or true belief that they were justified.  Let me remind you that politics is always dirty, and sometimes disgustingly so.

So that is Keiko work for the next two months, to prove to us that she is not Alberto Fujimori.

The paradox of sorts here is that Ollanta and Keiko do have a similar political language, appealing to the left outs of the bonanza years.  Extremes always meet, isn't it? As such the election will turn on which one of them can prove to be less extreme than the other one.  That is, the election is for Keiko to lose if she does not get that point.

PS: I wrote this post listening to Prokofiev Piano concerto #1, over and over.  It may show.


  1. Last Anonymous7:41 AM


    I think I will go to the quick shop and buy a quart of cana and kick off the weekend early.

  2. Anonymous7:47 AM

    I think your assessment of the two is quite even handed, well done, but I wouldn't paint her as a reflection of her father's crimes, nor would I refer to him as "daddy". He fought a necessary war for his country, and won.
    If all she needs to do is keep the peace and continue to encourage economic advancement, her days as President will go down as a historical advance on the part of the Peruvian people.

    If Humala wins, I see no advancement, for anyone.

    and wouldn't we all like to vote at the Machu Pichu polling station?

  3. Amen Dano!!!

    Can not limit comment to 4,000 words when the Peruvian election is the theme so decided to say only Amen Dano.

    Regards and read at http://www.syfp.blogspot.com/ my soon to come post election comments on the candidates and my comments on the run off election.

  4. Juan Cristobal2:39 PM

    Great post, and congratulations for throwing some love Fujimori's way. That takes some guts.

    I posted a cross-ref.

  5. One thing I wonder about is if Keiko will push more voters towards Humala - or into abstention - than PPK would have.

    An interesting poll right now would be "Which one will you not vote for under any circumstances?" Daniel's vote is clear, and I agree ("Chavez school of military felony" - 'nuff said), but I'd like to see that from Peruvians at large.

  6. Excellent Post.

    Music does very much effect our clarity of mind.In this case I say that Prokofiev advanced towards even more realism and truthful expression :)JC'S comment just shows us that it is considered brave to go outside the lefty framed debate into a more honest one.No debate framed is in reality a true debate.

    There is also a strategic reason why Keiko is preferable to Humala.The damage could do is somewhat limited by the fact that she would have to rely on the center right for her government and would have no support outside the country for any extreme right schemes.Whereas Humala would make Peru join the Chavez clique to which it is very easy to enter, but extremely difficult to exit.Just look at what happened in Honduras.Besides the influence of the regional super power of Brazil, that feels comfortable surrounded by weak Chavista client states, would be a determining factor in keeping Peru in line.Brazil worked very hard to keep Chavez's man in Honduras.Just imagine when it is right next door!

    "But the fact of the matter is that Fujimori picked up a collapsed Peru and 10 years after gave to Toledo a stabilized country."

    In some ways Fujimori did for Peru what Uribe did for Colombia.The difference is that the former degenerated into authoritarianism and corruption, but if the Peruvian people don't value the good that Fujimori did do for the country, the danger that they give it all up by electing an Humala is always right around the corner.

  7. Juan Cristobal5:07 PM

    That's very smart, firepigette. I guess it puts into context what Uribe managed to achieve without many of the trapfalls of the Fujimori years.

  8. cochonette de feu and JC

    True, Uribe is a luxury that few countries can hope for....

  9. Anonymous8:05 PM

    How about Maldonado's F1 performance so far? A good investment of the people's money.

  10. anonymous

    the maldonado affair is on the ridiculous side and deserves no further mention. let's focus on real abundant important stuff to trash chavez with, worth many more millions than what pdvsa gives maldonado.

    besides, formula 1 wil weed out maldonado fast if needed, no matter how many millions chavez gives them.

  11. Charly1:06 AM

    As expected, maldonado was "empavado' by Chavez, King Midas with the reverse touch.

  12. Dear Dano:

    Cannot help myself so I hope you do not mind me breaking this long comment in parts; thanks in advance.

    Part 1 of 3

    While her surname is Fujimori she is not her father and she was not part of her fathers government except for agreeing to fill the honorary position of first lady at the end of her father's tenure.

    She is not a dictator and the fact that she is not willing to censure her father's decision to overthrow the parliament and the "coup d’état" is understandable given her position; it certainly does not make her a dictator either.

    Her father is more of an authoritarian, which I think comes kind of natural to Asians and Niseis’ because of their history, culture, discipline and traditions.

    Keiko instead is a Sansei, far more Latin and has a strong American influence.

    While she is not ready or willing to admit that her father was wrong I do not think she would choose and/or walk the same political path that her father did.

    It would seem to me that she is more interested in vindicating the Fujimori name and not allowing it to be the headline of only a negative chapter in the Peruvian history books.

    I think she wants to do a good and democratic government, pardon her father at the end of her period and has no real political ambition for the future other than that.

    Of course, in politics you never know and power has a way of changing people.

    What is certainly something to worry about and makes me as well as many people uncomfortable is that some of her father's allies and faithful followers are part of her electoral campaign.

    None of them guilty of any anything illegal but certainly people who worked for her father and went along with him; People who could not be accused of being faithful democrats, to say the least.

    The good news though is that Keiko Fujimori's closest adviser, campaign manager and vice-presidential candidate is Jaime Yoshiyama; a very low key but bright professional and technocrat as well as a true gentleman who was the only man to resign to Fujimori's government and take distance with him after he decided to close the parliament.

  13. Dear Dano:

    Cannot help myself so I hope you do not mind me breaking this long comment in parts; thanks in advance.

    Part 2 of 3

    We know that no one will have majority in Congress so how she negotiates with other political forces is going to give us a clue as to how she plans to govern. It will also give us a clue to figure out if the Peruvian voters will be willing to give her a chance.

    As for Humala, there is not much that I can add to your post except that, just like Chavez, he has no political thought, ideology or even vision except for some headlines and slogans that have no meaning by themselves.

    He is not a leader but a follower and that is why he hangs on to Castro, Chavez and Lula for inspiration.

    He recently declared that he was impressed with the Argentinian model when it comes to freedom of the press; what Argentinean model is he talking about?.

    In Argentina there is no freedom of the press model; Kirchner hates and is out to get the Clarin media group and therefore is making up ideological excuses to disguise her authoritarian ways.

    She as well as Humala should pay more attention to Dilma Rousseff who recently declared; "I rather have the noise of opposition than the silence of dictatorship".

    I personally do no like Clarin but that is freedom of the press in a Democracy. Anyone can buy paper, ink and the services of a printing press to publish their own newspaper and say whatever they want to say and for whatever reasons they want to say it.

    I do have concerns with the use of public bandwidth to do the same in radio and television but that is another discussion.

    Humala is not a democrat or even understands what Democracy means and/or what the purpose of this system of government is.

    He has a benevolent and paternalistic concept of freedom because he has never been a leader. Through out all his life he has been only a follower in an autocratic institution where there is no individual freedom, where independent and/or critical thinking is not allowed and further, where it is in fact punished.

  14. Dear Dano:

    Cannot help myself so I hope you do not mind me breaking this long comment in parts; thanks in advance.

    Part 3 of 3

    That is why he needs to read all his speeches and declarations; that is also why he has never written and published anything. He does have some emotional positions but absent that he has absolutely no intellectual and/or ideological solvency; he is indeed just a creature of self-preservation instincts and immediate gratification. You know the breed!

    A dangerous political candidate from a geopolitical standpoint whose strategy has been to profit from putting Peru on the selling block, follow a well thought script to show himself as a democrat and making very few comments in order to hide his huge limitations and even worst intentions.

    A pawn in an international conspiracy that uses people with very limited intelligence in a geopolitical game whose purpose is to advance the Phoenician interests of Cuba and the imperialistic interests of Brazil.

    It is rather curios but Humala seems to be a follower even when it comes to his wife who comes across as the ideological brains behind him and certainly someone who is far more intellectually strong and prepared than he is.

    You are right Dano!!! Humala is a NO, NO.

    We can deal and even control a Keiko Fujimori through Congress if needed plus she would not be able to do again what her father did before; people may be slow but they learn.

    Humala is a different animal. We will have to deal with lies, deceit, secrecy, and a cozy as well as private relationship between him and high officials of the armed forces that are from his promotion and that most likely would be open to accept incentives such as they have in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Not to mention the huge geopolitical price we would have to pay for it.

    What can I say, we also have learned watching what has happened in Venezuela and in that sense what comes to my mind are the words in the Chilean coat of arms; “Por la fuerza de la razon o la razon de la fuerza.” (For the force of reason or the reason for force).

  15. Thanks for the comments Mousqueton, ever so thoughtful.

    You may want to add something to to the newest post up.

  16. Boludo Tejano5:31 PM

    Mousqueton, good comments. The authoritarian impulse in Latin America keeps popping up. Thugo. Evita III's freedom of the press. It appears that Lula's successor has not bitten into the apple.

    A nitpicking here: The Chilean coat of arms statement would be better put as: By the force of reason or (by) the reason of of force."

    Daniel has presented a balanced picture of Fujimori. It might be said that Fujimori saved the country and then self-destructed. Good comparison with Uribe.

  17. @ Boludo Tejano

    I have to confess that I have edited a little the words in the Chilean coat of arms. The current coat of arms adopted June of 1834 reads "Por la razon o la fuerza".

    In 2004 Senator Avila introduced an amendment to change the reading to "Por la fuerza de la razon" which is still pending approval.

    I have kind of taken the liberty of editing both texts.

    As a matter of fact originally the coat of arms had no text. The text was added later and there are coins in Chile that have the coat of arms with the reading "Por la razon y la fuerza" as well as others with the reading "Por la razon o la fuerza".

    Best regards


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