As history shows, political activity in Peru has always been a dangerous occupation from the very beginning of the existence of the republic as an independent state. As noted by many political scientists, the main reason for this phenomenon is the complete absence of racial-ethnic monolithic “Peruvian nation”. The very notion of the modern Peruvian nation is extremely relative to the often unsolvable antagonistic contradictions between about 10% of the white minority, Indian peoples and a small number of blacks, mulattoes, sambo (a mixture of black representatives with Indians), the Chinese and the Japanese. By the way, from the last mentioned there is also the ex-President Alberto Fujimori, who was pardoned last December. Internal conflicts and contradictions very often develop into armed clashes and serve as the basis for the emergence of leftist and right-wing extremist political formations. Among the most famous for the whole world it is worth noting: the left radical examples – the Communist Party of Peru “Sendero Luminoso” and the revolutionary movement “Túpac Amaru”; the right-wing battalion “Rodrigo Franco” and others. In the 80-ies of the twentieth century, all of them acted on the territory of Peru and set their main goal – violence and revenge.
It is worth turning to the fact that Peru is a unitary decentralized presidential-premier republic based on the principle of separation of powers in such a way that the legislative power belongs to the unicameral Congress of the Republic, the executive power is headed by the President, who is the head of the state and at the same time the supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the judicial system includes the Supreme Court, district and local courts. In this South American country, in which fierce conflicts have flared throughout history aimed at political struggle, the functioning of this separation of powers is very real. An interesting fact is that since 1985, without exception, all the Presidents of the republic and their main rivals in the elections are currently under investigation: former President Alan García Pérez (1985-1990 and 2006-2011) has not been sentenced, however, it seems very likely; Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) in December 2017 was pardoned at that time by the head of the state Pedro Pablo Kuczynski; Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006) is awaiting the verdict, and the Peruvian party has already sent to the United States, where he is hiding, a request for his extradition; Ollanta Humala (2011-2016) is already awaiting the verdict with his wife.
The opponent of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in the last presidential elections, Keiko Fujimori (daughter of ex-president of the Republic, Alberto Fujimori), is also still under investigation. By the way, her father’s rival in the presidential elections in 1990 was the writer, the Nobel laureate in literature of 2010, Mario Vargas Llosa. He is the only major presidential candidate for the last three decades, who has not yet been accused of either human rights violations or secret corruption ties with the largest Brazilian construction company “Odebrecht”.
The effectiveness of the judiciary in Lima impresses many Europeans, especially from Eastern Europe, where corruption scandals and corruption of politicians have long been perceived as a habitual phenomenon.
It seems that in Lima even protests against representatives of the judiciary may begin, if all former presidents can unite their efforts to save political reputation in the light of new disclosures from former figures in the affair with “Odebrecht”. One such precedent was that in December 2017, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pardoned Alberto Fujimori in exchange for the fact that the son of the last mentioned, Kenji Fujimori, persuaded his supporters not to participate in the impeachment. As a result, the 10 deputies from the main opposition party “Fuerza Popular” abstained during the vote for impeachment and saved the current President. Relatives of the victims of repressions during his reign immediately took to the streets and announced the injustice of pardon, calling it not humane, but political and beneficial for authorities.
This “vicious circle” was closed on the 21st of March by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who assumed the presidency of Peru in July of 2016. The statement of resignation was made against the background of the political crisis that occurred in the country at the end of last year.
The first allegations of corruption against Kuczynski appeared in February of 2017, seven months after his inauguration. At that time, the document of Peruvian intelligence in the financial sphere was published, containing the list of names of 69 officials involved in dubious banking operations, including the Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. In addition, journalists argued that the company “Latin America Enterprise”, associated with Kuczynski, received payments from the mentioned Brazilian construction corporation “Odebrecht”. Such information surfaced on the background amid a new round of development of a major corruption scandal with the company “Odebrecht”. It involved high-ranking officials of at least ten Latin American countries, including former Peruvian Presidents – Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006) and Ollanta Humala (2011-2016).
Already in November of 2017, the Peruvian edition “Caretas” published documents proving the connection between “Odebrecht” and American consulting company “First Capital Partners”, one of whose directors was Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. In 2003-2006, the companies worked together on at least three projects. Then the events developed swiftly: on the 13th of December of 2017, the parliament deputies of the opposition party “Fuerza Popular” presented documents stating that in 2004-2013 “Odebrecht” transferred $ 4.8 million to two companies related to Kuczynski, it is noteworthy that of which $ 62.5 thousand during the period when Kuczynski held positions in the government (in 2004-2005 as the Minister of Economy and Finance, in 2005-2006 as the Prime minister).
Then, on the 15th of December, the Peruvian Parliament – the Congress, the majority of seats in which belongs to the aforementioned “Fuerza Popular”, launched the impeachment procedure of the President with the formulation of his “moral inability” to occupy this high post, which is provided in Article 113 of the current Constitution of Peru. The intention to remove the head of the state was made by representatives of several parliamentary parties. For the dismissal of the President, the 87 out of 130 deputies were to support the initiative. However, on the 21st of December of last year, the opposition managed to get the votes of only 79 deputies, which allowed Kuczynski to keep his post at that time.
Nevertheless, on the 28th of February of this year, the former top manager of the “Odebrecht” office in Peru, Jorge Barata, during the investigation of corrupt schemes of the corporation, announced that in order to undertake the election campaign of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in 2011 the company transferred $ 300 thousand. After the announcement was made, the Congress again began the process of impeachment in connection with Kuczynski’s “moral inability” to keep this post.
The current political crisis was exacerbated on the 20th of March of this year after the publication of new documents, handed over to the media by the party “Fuerza Popular”. Presented from hidden cameras, audio and video recordings clearly demonstrate that the Kuczynski’s supporters have repeatedly tried to persuade several parliamentarians to vote against impeachment. In exchange for their voices, they were offered various benefits, and in some cases, cash payments. In his appeal to the Peruvian nation on the 21st of March, Kuczynski said that the video was intentionally mounted in such a way as to accuse him and his associates.
Addressing the nation on this day, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski announced his resignation and stressed that “it will be better for my country”. All representatives of his government wrote a statement of resignation in solidarity with the President. According to the current Constitution, the first vice-president of the country, Martín Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo, will be the head of state.
As the chain of these examples demonstrates, the Peruvian justice does not sympathize with any politicians in Lima. For representatives of the judiciary it does not matter whether they were Presidents or are currently in power. It should be noted that the exposure of the high-profile case of the Brazilian company “Odebrecht” will show the extent to which the separation of powers is functioning in the countries of the Latin American region. At the moment, it was able to be seen in Peru and in 2016 in Brazil, with the examples of former Presidents: Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. In recent months, the scandal is also mounting in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina.
Will the corruption scandal turn away the “fledgling” Peruvian nation from supporting the right regime? Will the leftists in the “wave of change” take strategic positions in the government? These and other rhetorical questions will have to be answered by the Peruvians in the coming months. But the main dilemma in Peru is still the development of a political course that corresponds to the modern alignment of forces in the international arena.