Peruvians have taken to the streets in recent days to voice their opposition to a pardon issued by president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to former President Alberto Fujimori, the 79-year-old disgraced former leader who was 10 years into a 25-year-prison sentence for human rights abuses committed while in office.
Among other things, military death squads believed to be mandated by Fujimori during his ten-rear reign from 1990 to 2000 are responsible for at least two dozen killings, including the slaying of nine college students in Lima in 1992 in an incident now known as the La Cantuta massacre.
Kuczynski categorically ruled out pardoning Fujimori when he ran for the presidency in 2016, a race he narrowly won, defeating Fujimori’s daughter Keiko Fujimori.
Though Kuczynski said he pardoned Fujimori for medical reasons – the former leader suffers from arrhythmia and tongue cancer – many, however, view it as a favor by Kuczynski towards Fujimori’s son, Kenji, another political leader who urged his party to abstain from a vote to impeach the current president one week ago over a graft scandal. The vote ultimately fell short of the supermajority needed, thanks in large part to those who abstained because of Kenji’s urgings.
Hence, Peruvians view the pardon as a backroom deal, motivating them to protest.
In a dramatic video posted to his Facebook page on Tuesday, Fujimori asked for forgiveness, acknowledging that he disappointed many of his countrymen.
Sympathy aside, human rights experts have rebuked the pardon, citing it as one of the few instances where a Latin American strongman was held accountable in a judicial proceeding for his grave actions.
And we think things are pretty screwed up here in America.
I always find it fascinating to read about the chaos that often envelops non-world powers, especially ones with nascent democracies, because it shows us how difficult it is to create a stable balance of power akin to the United States. It also underscored the importance of maintaining longstanding institutions to prevent a democratic backslide.
It may be overdramatic to say that something like this would never happen in the United States (though many will argue that similar things are happening before our very eyes), but it is still extremely insightful to study them so that we can read the warning signs in case it ever happens in our own backyard.
And this concludes our discussion of Peruvian politics.