Corruption in Peru


On Saturday in Lima, the Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla reported in an interview with RPP radio that the Peruvian economy was in an “irreversible decentralization process” and that State control was weakening, leaving the responsibilities of politics to regional and local governments. Whether the weakness of President Ollanta Humala’s administration is to blame, or the growth of corruption similar to the small mafia in Ancash, the situation in Peru has reached a tipping point against the welfare of the people.

While the Finance Minister expressed concerns that management in many areas is lackadaisical in the core implementation of education and health initiatives, it is the security of those regions that is under the biggest threat. This news arrives while the nation is mourning the death of Ezequiel Nolasco, who was killed after repeatedly warning Congress that his home state of Ancash was being run by a criminal syndicate that was raiding the treasury, murdering anyone that it could not buy or intimidate, and even wiretapping rivals while using bought policemen as spies.

In an age of Neofeudalism, independent fiefdoms around the world are not unique as the globalization of humanity compartmentalizes, this time under financial structures instead of cultural, but the problem with this form of decentralized power is a lack of oversight that has led places like Ancash in Peru to be referred to as a mini-dictatorship and an example of “subnational authoritarianism.”

With the assassination of Nolasco, a former state lawmaker and leader of a local construction union, the country’s chief prosecutor was forced to stop ignoring evidence that Governor Cesar Alvarez had become another mob rendition of Al Capone, greasing the wheels of private interests with tens of millions in revenue in annual mining that constituted Ancash’s status as the wealthiest state in Peru. The mafia-style boss has been jailed with more than 100 corruption cases surrounding his administration.

Alvarez first won his election as Governor in 2006, after which he took a few years to silence his rivals through contract murders while purchasing the local media to distract the region from the fact that two out of every five murders each year were attributed to his violence. Though Alvarez announced in an interview that he would not seek a third term in the October elections, prosecutors are dismantling his headquarters, called “La Centralita,” that became the underground shadow state ruling the political landscape of Ancash.

Congressman Modesto Julca called last summer for the situation to be investigated, citing the murders of a prosecutor, a journalist, a mayor, a former mayor, and the key witness in an unsuccessful assassination attempt made against Ezequiel Nolasco in 2010. Unfortunately like the four prosecutors in 2012 who tried to bring cases against “La Centralita,” opposition to Governor Alvarez was silenced by Carlos Ramos, former head of the internal discipline unit and now Peru’s chief prosecutor. His predecessor, Jose Pelaez, also halted a probe into the mini-dictator’s finances last year along with a congressional committee that voted against investigation, insinuating the central government’s complicity in the corruption.

Former prosecutor Nancy Moreno has been frightened into hiding because of death threats, and Reverend Luis Palomino, the former mayor of Yungay, testified with more than 130 witnesses about the obstruction of justice even among local police, citing an attack in 2010 where he was beaten until his teeth were broken.

The current president of Peru, Ollanta Humala ran for office in 2006 but lost, eventually trying again in 2011 and winning in a run-off vote. Though politics in the country was scrambled, the stress for leadership was placed upon economic reforms which have not occurred as a result of his administration’s weakness. Once an army officer who took on the Communist guerilla insurgents called the Shining Path in 1992, he was called a political “chameleon” as a euphemism after abandoning an alignment with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez in favor of being seen as a pro-Brazilian social democrat.

President Humala’s approval rating is currently 25 percent, according to the pollster Ipsos, and he is on his fifth cabinet in less than three years. His political coalition only entails 43 out of the 130 seats in Congress, and his lack of authority has led some to suggest that a vacuum has been opened for a military coup. This fall in popularity has turned Humala into a recluse, but his two predecessors were not viewed much better.

Almost 70 percent of the Peruvian people work in what is called the informal sector, a part of the economy that is neither taxed nor monitored by the government in any way. Yet still, they seek representation, which during the financial collapse of the 1980’s resulted in hyperinflation and terrorism from Maoists like the Shining Path and was only quelled by the autocrat Alberto Fujimori, who was later prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

Peru has been referred to as a democracy without functional political parties, and regional elections are often dominated by independents without affiliation. While riding waves of public money, the issue of decentralization is a good model for the failures of technocratic forms of government, which is a hypothetical form of rule now being used in developing nations that are coming into new wealth harvested from natural resources. Technocracies are ruled by technical experts in various fields from engineers to scientists, as opposed to democracies which are generally governed by career politicians, businesspeople, and economists. The idea is that democratic governments are subjectively voted for based upon contrivances of outright lies and deceit, whereas a technocracy uses the scientific method for an attempt at objective governance through people capable of channeling industrialization without philosophical control mechanisms based upon opinion.

The failure that they are displaying in their form of government is the inherent human need for protection from an alpha class, which can only exist in the world through a complicated series of checks and balances that keeps them socially constrained, displayed by the central failure of democracy in the 20th century when the citizens of Italy and Germany chose to elect Fascists into power. The irony of this ruling class became their viewpoint that government itself was of primary importance over the will of the people, a form of utilitarianism that has existed in Asia since the Warring States period in China in the 5th century BC.

The careful balance of governance is a matter of trial and error for all second world nations coming into a collective sense of self, but with the amount of political history that the world has to offer, there are few excuses when it comes to picking better methods of rule than the pathetic corruption created by murderers like Pablo Escobar. With local economists in Ancash, Peru saying that only $5 million is left in the treasury after it was plundered by Governor Alvarez, the primary answer for the cancer of society that must be removed for political reform to take place begins with the same decision that annihilated the Medellin Cartel and led to the execution of Escobar on a Colombian rooftop in 1993.

By Elijah Stephens
Follow Elijah on Twitter @liquidheavnlive

ABC News
The Economist

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