Peru: Fujimorism vs Socialism of the XXI Century?

The next elections in Peru seem to be a struggle between the two political extremes, which generates fear on both sides.

Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo

In times of social networks, societies have been polarizing and the discourses of both extremes also seem to be the most striking and the ones that stand out the most. Photo: TW-KeikoFujimori, TW-pedrocastillote

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Perú: ¿Fujimorismo vs Socialismo del Siglo XXI?

Polarization is not a new phenomenon, nor is it unique to any country. In times of social media, societies have become polarized and the discourses of both extremes also seem to be the most striking and the ones that stand out the most. This is why the fear of the rival is needed to capitalize on votes and ends up being one of the most effective strategies in politics.

This is the outlook for next June 6 in the second-round elections in Peru. Both Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo are at opposite poles of politics. One is the daughter of the right-wing dictator Alberto Fujimori and the other is a professor from a left-wing Marxist party with ideals that are already quite inefficient today.

Also read: Biggest winners and losers after the Peruvian elections

The fears

The fears are obvious. The damage left by the government of Alberto Fujimori is still fresh in the minds of many. For example, the massacres in Barrios Altos (15 people, including a child) and La Cantuta (kidnapping and murder of 9 people), in addition to the forced sterilizations of poor women.

For his part, Castillo has not managed to generate a moderate discourse and remains intent on "not allowing imports" or changing the constitution in a country that has not managed to fully emerge from its political crisis, but with institutions that do not generate trust.

Furthermore, although Castillo has tried to distance himself from Chavismo and ties with certain armed sectors, it is difficult for the average Peruvian to recognize this,  knowing that he had a past as a rondero (peasant paramilitary groups).

The return of the Shining Path

Now, to add something to this difficult cocktail, there is the apparent return of the Shining Path, that leftist revolutionary group that seeks the seizure of power. This week, the group that was thought of as almost extinct returned with the massacre of 14 people (including minors) in the San Miguel del Ene region, recognized as a stronghold of coca leaf production.

This guerrilla group reached its greatest splendor just in the pre-Fujimori (father) period. And the armed struggle against them was one of the main achievements that the dictatorship achieved and for which many Peruvians still remember the dictator fondly.

Scandals galore

In a country with so many corruption scandals among all political levels, everyone seems to have at least one. Well, obviously, Keiko Fujimori, who is running for the presidency for the third time, is not spared from scandals either. During such a long political life, she has also garnered various investigations.

Keiko is accused of money laundering and receiving money from Odebrecht for her previous campaign. In this case, the political leader of Fuerza Popular has already been arrested and is currently being released under restricted appearance. She is the most anti-voting candidate in the country, which also generates much more polarization.

Common points, the lack of progressivism

Now, although they seem 2 politicians completely apart ideologically, they do have several similarities, and unfortunately, in terms of rejection of liberal rights. Both are reluctant to accept the fundamental rights of the LGBTI population. In fact, Castillo appears to be the more conservative of the two and has considered same-sex marriage "worse than euthanasia."

Leaders of diverse communities have ensured that whatever the winner in the second round on June 6, their rights must be won in the streets.