An on the ground report from the Green Party's Matt Wootton on today's Peru elections.
Its between Humala who would probably not be my ideal choice in an ideal world but is the left candidate and the far right Keiko Fujimori whose dad is in prison and was a notorious human rights abuser when he was President in the 1990s.
The markets are keen that Fujimori wins, she will be full steam ahead for opening up the Amazon and extracting the resources.
Humala has been crushed by media attacks and is far less radical than figures like Morales and Chavez. However he and his party gave enormous solidarity when the Amazon indigneous were massacred at Bagua for resisting rainforest destruction, which is a huge plus (or if you are the markets keen on trashing the biosphere for quick profit a big minus).
Serious Greens like Matt have their eye on this but much of the environmental movement ignores the actual political and social struggles in the Amazon, what ever the outcome Aidesep the indigenous Peruvian Amazon network will put up huge resistance to rainforest destruction and the seizure of their land.
There is also a great article on why Humala must win from the Ecosocialist here.
On to Matt's report...the Jamie Oliver reference is to free school meals as a bribe for voters, incidentally the Shining Path who fought in Peru in the 1990s were similar to Pol Pot but that's another story....
And one issue that stays with many people, especially the many scarred for life, is the Fujimori government’s coerced sterilisations of 100s of thousands of rural (mainly indigenous) people.
So, this is the legacy that Keiko defends when she calls her father “Peru’s best president ever”, a remark she was forced to back-track on.
Ms. Fujimori’s spokesman Jorge Trelles didn’t help matters when he said of Mr. Fujimori’s record. “We killed fewer people than the two prior governments”. Trelles was subsequently removed from his post, but the fact is that Keiko’s popularity rides on the back of her father’s perceived strength and toughness. More popular appeal comes from her being perceived as a sympathetic, young, perhaps slightly exotic movie-star-like female figure, and a faithful daughter. Propaganda is full of her hugging indigenous old women, kissing indigenous babies and wearing indigenous costume. But this can all be put down to marketing spin (which Keiko’s campaign, funded by huge business interests, can clearly afford, where her rival Humala’s cannot). The fact is that Keiko, despite her cuddly side, is a tough moralist on the side of punishment and crackdowns, and will use those values to effect political crackdown on anyone opposed to big business exploitation of the Peruvian Amazon.