by Eric Jude Cortes
Elections have a habit of making people try to look into the future. An electoral result that may make one person gleeful with optimism may make another person predict doom. Such is the case of the recent presidential election in Peru in which liberal candidate Ollanta Humala narrowly won the right to replace outgoing president, Alan Garcia.
As outside observers, it may be tempting to jump to enthusiastic or fearful conclusions based solely on the victor’s political affiliation, but before doing so, out of fairness, we should get a grasp of Humala’s stances on some key issues.
Poverty: One out of every three Peruvians is poor. Humala has brought up the idea of taxing the profits of mining companies as way of reducing poverty. Celebrating his election, he declared “the nation will advance only if the Peruvian family advances.”
Relations with Hugo Chavez: In Peru’s 2006 election, Ollanta Humala was a loyal Hugo Chavez supporter, spouting Chavez rhetoric and even wearing red shirts. In this past election, Humala has distanced himself from Chavez and chose a more successful model, Luiz Ignancio Lula da Silva. Emulating Lula’s policies, which turned Brazil into an economic giant, while still improving the lives of the poor, is a great way of keeping Peru’s economy booming, without leaving the needy behind.
Free Market Capitalism: When Humala won the presidential election, the Peruvian stock exchange fell 12 percent. This is reflective of fears that like Chavez’ Venezuela, private property and independent businesses would be threatened with government takeover. In order to gain mainstream support though, Humala had to repeatedly promise to continue the policies that have led to Peru’s recent economic growth.
Relations with the United States: Humala’s separation from Hugo Chavez and upcoming tour of Brazil, signify that like Brazil, Peru will not anger the U.S. to form closer ties to Venezuela.
Ollanta Humala’s election may make loyal Americans cringe at the thought that Humala used to be a follower of Hugo Chavez. Others may feel a sense of hope at his egalitarian rhetoric. In Peru, democracy worked and the people have spoken. Before we rush to judge our new neighbor, let’s give him some time to do his job.
To learn more about Eric, randomly bump into him on the street and politely ask him some questions.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.