The second round of the Peruvian elections are in June this year, and Keiko Fujimori, the leading candidate is the daughter of the ex-dictator of Peru, Alberto Fujimori.
Alberto Fujimori is currently serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and human rights abuses. After he divorced from his wife in 1994, his daughter became Peru’s First Lady at the age of 19 until the end of her father’s presidency in 2000. It is because of this that many believe that she is implicated in the atrocities committed during his time as president. His crimes include the forced sterilisation of over 300,000 Peruvian women, many of whom were poor and of indigenous origins. Furthermore, many indigenous Peruvians are unable to speak Spanish, and therefore cannot communicate with the authorities.
Her decision to stand for election has sparked protests, with some Peruvian citizens worried that she could release her father, or bring back an authoritarian state. Others are demanding justice for the crimes committed as the investigation into the forced sterilisation never came to a conclusion, even after some of the victims described being refused food and water unless they submitted to the procedure. Many, however, had their fallopian tubes tied against their will when they came into hospital complining of other illnesses.
Keiko Fujimori has declared that she will preserve the democratic state and will not release her father, despite her belief that he is innocent and should be absolved of all crimes. She maintains that hundreds of women were sterilised, rather than thousands and that it was the fault of the doctors who performed the procedures, rather than her father’s, even though medical centres around the country have testified that they were given quotas of the number of women they had to sterilise by the Minister of Public Health. The protesters want justice for these crimes to be a priority for the next president, and even though Ms Fujimori claims that tackling crime is her main priority, she does not seem prepared to acknowledge this huge injustice.
However, her supporters maintain that her father used tough methods to tackle terrorism, and the country benefited from his tactics. Peru still suffers from high crime rates, with armed robberies, assault, express kidnappings are a daily occurrence, and poverty is widespread, even though it is the country has a huge amount of wealth in minerals.
The crime Ms Fujimori wants to tackle are those committed by the Shining Path, a Maoist rebel group who have been active since the 1970s and have been ruthless in killing and terrorising the country. Alberto Fujimori is credited with the capture of their leader, Abimael Guzman.
Now his daughter has accused the present government of being too weak to destroy the Shining Path and wants to build high altitude prisons in the Andes to isolate dangerous criminals, presumably the Shining Path guerrillas. Although, it is arguable that her father should be the first person to be placed in these prisons for having abused the most defenceless of his citizens.