LIMA–Peruvian President Alan Garcia has been cracking down on left-wing movements, part of his broader push to shape the next presidential race in favor of a centrist or conservative candidate.
Garcia, who cannot run for a second consecutive term, starts his last year in office on Wednesday, Peruvian Independence Day. His first term from 1985-1990 was marred by economic turmoil and the rise of leftist insurgencies.
The 61-year-old Garcia has transformed himself into a fervent promoter of free trade and foreign investment and wants a successor elected who will maintain the mainstream economic policy mix that has generated a decade of surging growth. His administration has branded critics as “anti-system” radicals who threaten growth, often conjuring up memories of the leftist Shining Path and Tupac Amaru insurgencies that tried to topple the state in the 1980s and 1990s.
“The issue of terrorism is still very sensitive to voters and it is being used as a propaganda tool,” said Fernando Tuesta, a political scientist at Lima’s Catholic University. “Terrorists have been conflated with all the government’s opponents or enemies, whoever they may be.”
Ollanta Humala, a left-leaning ultra-nationalist who nearly won the 2006 presidential race but is trailing in polls for next year’s vote, has complained of being unfairly depicted as a radical. The government also has taken aim at environmentalists and indigenous groups who say dozens of new mining and oil projects that have lured billions of dollars in foreign investment will cause pollution on ancestral lands.
“What most worries us is that there has been an escalation in repressive measures that hinder the right to assemble and right to free speech,” said Francisco Soberon continues here
Reuters celebrates Peru’s independence day by noting its repressive govt’s downhill slide
Peru celebrates independence today (and tomorrow…why do one day when you can have two?) and Reuters pays tribute by reporting on the clampdown in dissent from this most rotten of governments led up by Twobreakfasts. Here’s how this great note starts, click for the rest: