Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Garcia Wins Peru Elections

Liberal centrist Alan Garcia of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance has declared victory in the June 4th Peruvian elections, which he won by an estimated 10%. During the 1980's, Garcia led Peru into economic disaster in which the country experienced 7000% inflation. The outcome of the election was accepted by Garcia's opponent, leftist nationalist Ollanta Humala, who many business leaders in Peru and American feared because of Humala's ties to socialist leaders throughout Latin America.

Humala's defeat is by no means a rejection of leftist or socialist ideology in Latin America, despite what some conservative columnists may claim. It was quite remarkable that Humala, who was a political nobody before this year, was able to garner over 44% of the vote. While the outcome may not have been ideal, the fact that a socialist candidate was able to rally so many around him in a country as conservative as Peru is impressive. Humala told his supporters today, “This is a day of victory: we’ve managed in such short time to awaken so many consciences... we’ve garnered a large social majority and today we are renewing our commitment to work and serve the country, defend the nation and its natural resources”

Garcia's success may be more of a referendum on international meddling in election than a true win for Garcia. Humala's standings in the polls fell sharply after the Garcia campaign accused Venezuela's Hugo Chavez of funding the Humala campaign. This is not to say that Peruvian are hostile towards Chavez or his politics, but rather that they reject intervention - whether it's from Venezuela or the United States - in domestic elections.