On April 9, Peru’s 13 million voters will go to the polls to vote for the next president. In this third-world country, the country’s stability can swing overnight. With only several weeks left, two of the 19 candidates are clearly in top: Lourdes Flores & Ollanta Humala.
Lourdes Flores is the right-wing candidate for the Unidad Nacional (National Unity) alliance and the Partido Popular Cristiano (Popular Christian Party or PPC). Many think if she wins, only the status quo will be maintained. Others think the economy would continue to improve under her administration. She is the clear conservative candidate who strongly opposes abortion, the morning-after pill, and is a faithful Roman Catholic.
Ollanta Humala is the left-wing candidate running on the Peruvian Nationalist Party/Union for Peru ticket. Ollanta is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Peruvian army who lead several campaigns against the infamous Shining Path, the guerrilla terrorist group in the 1990s.
Humala’s Economic Platform
Since Toledo took presidential office in 2001, Peru’s $68 billion economy has expanded at an annual pace of 5 percent, while exports more than doubled to $17 billion a year. However, growth and investment has done little for the country’s poor, including the 8 million Inca descendants who live in the Andes mountains and the Amazon jungle. Half of Peru’s 27 million inhabitants survive on less than $1 a day.
Spain’s ABC newspaper last month cited Humala´s description of his nationalism as an effort to reclaim the country from its “neo-colonial” status. “Our natural resources” he said, “are committed to foreign capital and they do not yield any profit for us” (See Reference). In a recent speech to rural pueblo area of Peru, Ollanta takes advantage of the unequal distribution of wealth and tells the poor: “We’re going to change the rules for the rich and redistribute wealth….The young will inherit a country that has been looted.”
Ollanta´s party also strongly supports these following causes:
1. Nationalization of the country’s industries (beginning with privatized industries)
2. The reintroduction of the death penalty, especially to corrupt politicians
3. The legalization of coca cultivation for non-drug purposes
4. A strong anti-Chilean stance particularly against Chilean investors
Much of Ollanta’s ideology comes from his father, Issac Humala, who made the following statement: “If I was President, I would grant amnesty to [Abimael Guzmán] and the other incarcerated members of the Shining Path”. Ollanta’s mother also said recently, “It would be better to execute homosexuals.” So you can see why Ollanta has asked for his parents to be quite until after the elections!
Humala’s Ties with Chavez & Morales
Recenlty, Humala said: “Chavez is a friend, not my mentor….One has to respect the model of each country. Peru is a different reality, we can’t apply the Venezuelanmodel, but we can learn from others’ experiences.” Although Humala publicly distances himself from the democratic socialists, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, in early January, both leaders eulogized and verbally supported Ollanta’s presidential race. (To see the actual video click here and here.) After the meeting Ollanta confirmed his admiration for the Venezuelan. “We are both military men, we have risen up against a corrupt regime and we have both suffered imprisonment. I acknowledge that his government is nationalist and patriotic. In that sense, I see that he is on the right track” (See Reference).
To give you taste of these men, here are two quotes. First from Evo Morales:
“The worst enemy of humanity is capitalism. That is what provokes uprisings like our own, a rebellion against a system, against a neoliberal model, which is the representation of a savage capitalism. If the entire world doesn’t acknowledge this reality, that the national states are not providing even minimally for health, education and nourishment, then each day the most fundamental human rights are being violated.”
Here is quote about Hugo Chavez’s theological/political reflections:
“[Jesus] accompanied me in difficult times, in crucial moments. So Jesus Christ is no doubt a historical figure — he was someone who rebelled, an anti-imperialist guy. He confronted the Roman Empire…. Because who might think that Jesus was a capitalist? No. Judas was the capitalist, for taking the coins! Christ was a revolutionary. He confronted the religious hierarchies. He confronted the economic power of the time. He preferred death in the defense of his humanistic ideals, who fostered change…. He is our Jesus Christ.”
What would happen if Humala won?
Many are nervous if Humala wins. One this is for sure, foreign investors would flee and the process capitalism would be stifled. Historically when the economy fails a country, many Maoistic terrorist groups become strong, like the Shinning Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. That would be bad news for evangelistic missionaries since we are usually targeted by such groups. As of late, Ollanta is leading the polls at 28.8 percent while Lourdes closely follows at 24.8 percent (Too follow the race in English click here).
I think it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway:
Please pray for Peru’s elections! Pray that God would give would install the best president for the sake of His church and the advancement of the gospel.