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.