The Peruvian tyrant apologizes

Although, if you ask me, I’d say his tears are of a distinctly crocodilian variety…

Peru’s President Alan Garcia has said his government has not done enough to improve the lives of the poor.

In a speech marking his first year in office, Mr Garcia – who has seen a sharp decline in his popularity – urged Peruvians to show patience.

He promised that increased investment would cut poverty before the end of his term in 2011.

Peru’s economy is booming, but correspondents say the poor are yet to feel the benefits of its growth.

Some would call that surprising, but anyone who’s seen the IMF/World Bank “shock therapy” at work, would recognize the symptoms right away. It’s positively incredible how many “economic miracles” of that nature are in fact illusions–and human disasters.

Mr Garcia has faced protests by several different trade unions in recent weeks.

He has apologised for calling some of the demonstrators “communists” and “parasites”.

“I would have loved to do a lot more,” he said in a speech to the country’s Congress.

He promised to build houses for 1.2 million Peruvians before he leaves office in 2011, and said increased investment would “change the social face of Peru”.

Mr Garcia’s popularity has dropped from 63% a year ago to 32%, a recent poll suggests.

He urged the US Congress to push ahead with a Free Trade Agreement with Peru, saying such a deal would help the poorest Peruvians.

So you can see how he’s had such a precipitious drop–if you’ve got eyes, that is. Calling those who campaign for social justice “parasites” and “communists” is one sure way to lose popularity.

Another, less obvious, is to follow the money–to your own defeat. Foreign investment, so often touted as the economic panacea for underdeveloped nations, turns out to be the surest way to keep them poor and backward. Clearly, Garcia has learned nothing from the past, when he attempted to negotiate with the IMF and World Bank, and wound up with his tail between his legs.

What Garcia hasn’t recognized yet that the “communists” and “parasites” have, is that investment takes out more money than it brings in. That is its nature. It was designed that way for a purpose: to make sure the foreign investors get richer while the poor locals get nothing but a diminishing return. And of course, their national coffers take a major hit. All the money that could go to things that truly build a country up, like universal healthcare and education, ends up down the toilet of debt servicing.

There is simply no negotiating with bankers unscrupulous enough to make such insane demands. The best thing to do with the IMF and World Bank is what Botswana did years ago–tell them to fuck off.

But I don’t seriously expect Garcia to do that, or he’d have done it already. Instead, it’s his fearsome counterparts in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador who are doing it.

Meanwhile, apologies won’t put food on anyone’s table.

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4 Responses to The Peruvian tyrant apologizes

  1. Slave Revolt says:

    And, Bina, wasn’t this so predictable from the way he went out of his way to distance himself from Chavez?
    Indeed–he is a puppet for the most powerful, the US and the oligarchs.
    I am sure that the middle and upper classes forgive this bastard.

  2. Bina says:

    You ain’t kidding. I’m sure that by now, those classes are the only ones who do, because they are the only ones to either benefit, or else not be hit too hard, by his policy fuck-ups. (Well, maybe the middle class is not so forgiving, for obvious reasons. No dinero en los bancos estadounidenses, etc.)
    What really galls me is that Chavecito went out of his way to mend fences with this marionette, only to get pissed on again. Goes to show you who’s the better man, in case there was ever any doubt.

  3. Slave Revolt says:

    Bina, the elites of LA are scared shitless of Chavez and the example of nationalist and class solidarity.
    This is clear with how the Hondurean cardinal fired warning shots directed at Chavez–claiming that Chavez sees himself as ‘God’. This is outright slander–but it was intended to cut-off the impoverished Hondurean masses from seeing anything positive from the Bolivarian project.
    To identify with the left-progressive politics evolving in Venezuela is to identify with godlessness and evility.
    Chavez can only push back so much–or the elites will magnify and distort the conflict in their own interests. It certainly worked for Garcia in Peru.
    Garcia will now engage some half-assed reforms that don’t amount to much–but will placate the more timid factions of the poor and working class.

  4. Bina says:

    …at least until the shit hits the fan yet again. Which of course it will.
    I think Peru’s patience is running out. The average person is not stupid, even in poor countries where education is hard to afford and harder still to get adequate amounts and quality of. The average Peruvian is seeing the improvements in Venezuela and wondering why they’re not getting a piece of that. And of course, the answer is staring them full in the face: the wrong man won the election. Maybe it was rigged by the Repugnican gringos; it happened in Mexico, so why not in Peru? And as with AMLO, Ollanta Humala was a progressive populist with a can’t-miss message of radical reform. Had he won clearly on the first round with no run-off, as Evo did in Bolivia, things might well be very different. There would now be one more country in the ALBA. And the strikers would be striking against the capitalistas, not the government (which, unlike in Venezuela and Bolivia, is firmly stuck in the capitalist zipper.)
    I foresee a revolt in Peru, on an unprecedented scale. Anyone who thought Fujimori went out with a bang, will see that that was just a damp squib compared to what Garcia’s got coming. These strikes and riots are just the prelude. Garcia will probably come under fire soon for corruption or misuse of public funds, as CAP did after the Bolivarian rebellion of ’92. He will probably face impeachment. (Yes, I’m looking into my crystal ball as I type this. Trusty crystal!)
    The Honduran cardinal is indeed, as Chavecito says, a clown of Empire. And a master projectionist. Whatever he says about Chavecito, you can bet it applies double to the Vatican. Which is sore about the fact that its stranglehold on Latin America has been loosening steadily since Liberation Theology began to make inroads over capitalist-conservative orthodoxy. The Vatican hates all dilution of its powers, and mistrusts progressives (for reasons obvious) and wants the faithful to BELIEVE it is God (hence that odious doctrine of Papal Infallibility, which dates back to Pius IX–or Pio Nono, as the Italians call him. He was a no-no all right!)
    But here is the thing: Liberation Theology is NOT dead. It is on the verge of a comeback. (Yes, that’s my crystal talking again…nice crystal! Good ball!) The people know full well, as Tommy Douglas did, that the true gospel of Christ is that of socialism. His own words are rife with it! He tells everyone who follows him to contribute to the common good so that all may benefit, and that the greedy hoarder stands no more chance of getting into heaven than a camel can thread a needle. And nowhere, NOWHERE does he say “You must consider those who come after me infallible!”
    In fact, I strongly suspect that this is why Ratzi tried to tamp the genie of Vatican II back into the bottle. It liberalized and radicalized the Church, and opened the door for a lot of things that might just decentralize Christianity beyond repair and eventually get him and all his oligarchic ilk fired. No wonder he tried to fob off that guff about all those other denominations not being “true churches” because they don’t have apostolic succession! But that’s bullshit–even those who have it still get their knuckles rapped for not being orthodox enough. Remember, he is the same chief inquisitor who tried to silence the Liberation Theologists, Matthew Fox, etc. He forgets what an American nun told his predecessor: “You can’t shove the toothpaste back into the tube!”
    Fortunately, the unstupid people know that in their heart of hearts. Which is why a lot of them have quietly fired the pope, even if they still go to church and pray to Jesus and Mary. It is why so many good Catholic women are on the Pill or have had abortions, and why their good priests know it and will not condemn them to hell for it. Even in my home town, a Catholic priest came out in support of female ordination and got a lot of flak for it from above–and a lot of love from below! The upper ranks may still tut-tut this and pooh-pooh that, but the groundswell I see and sense is definitely leaning left. That augurs ill for them.
    So does the growing literacy in Latin America. The Vatican may be unhappy about the fact that communist Cuba is supplying materials and teachers, but they can’t deny that the Cubans have gotten great results. Better results in a mere 50 years than the Church has had in 500+ of “civilizing” the heathen natives! Virtually 100% of all Cubans can read; same in Venezuela; soon, it will also be the same in Bolivia and Ecuador. And Nicaragua. And…
    Sometimes I think the Vatican has been deliberately and malignly negligent when it comes to education. It could have educated all its New World converts with plenty to spare, but it chose not to. Better to keep ’em devout and submissive than risk their becoming literate and uppity, seems to be the reasoning. This, of course, played right into the hands of the richest and most powerful–it ensured a steady stream of desperate, uneducated people willing to do anything for a living, however menial and ill paid. Reminds me of Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany under the Kaiser, who infamously remarked that the peasants didn’t need schools, they needed churches, so their heads wouldn’t be filled with any dangerous ideas! (BTW, the Kaiser was deposed in 1918. Germany became a republic thereafter, with a strong democratic-socialist insurgency. Oops! So much for Herr Bismarck and his glorious ambition for the peasants!)
    Anyhow, now that Venezuela is 100% literate, people who can read their own bibles can see just how far the Vatican departs from the doctrines of Christ. Which means that the real power down there is in the hands of the progressives and the humble priests and nuns who work with them. You can bet Ratzi doesn’t like that one bit, but he is an old man, he likes his Prada slippers too much, and in any event, he is impotent to do a concrete thing about it. All he can do is rant, and hope that the poor in all those non-ALBA countries–the ones who still haven’t learned to read–fall for the lie.
    Somehow, though, I doubt even they will believe it. 500+ years of right-wing oppression with Vatican complicity is sticking in a lot of craws, especially in countries where progressive nuns and priests have been killed by death squads.

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