After the first round of elections that the author has already talked about here, and where the atomization of the vote and the parties was confirmed, the obvious has happened, that is that the political right and the oligarchy en masse have turned to support Keiko Fujimori and his party Fuerza Popular.

Oh? Keiko Fujimori is on trial for money laundering?

No matter.

Fuerza Popular hosts criminal organizations and money laundering, according to Lava Jato prosecutors in Peru?

They do not care.

What matters to the dominant groups in Peru is that a small and quite external group of the system is about to win the elections, and that according to the Peru Libre party they hope to regain some of the state’s control over the economy, and want a more planified economy.

The Peruvian oligarchy is extremely conservative and even reactionary, more class than racist. They have bet hard to control what there is and to take a cut from foreign investors without contributing much on their part, and for this they need the state to sleep, vegetate; and when it gets up, it should protect them. For this they have the Fujimori constitution (1993), which drastically reduces the role of the state in the economy, and explicitly and redundantly protects the national and international private sector. And they have control of the mass media, as is the norm in the world. They sure are making use of the means they control: a real fortune is being invested in the few campaign days available, both in traditional media and social networks, with the main campaign slogan “the communists are coming to destroy everything”, the secondary “We will become Venezuela”, and finally “Terrorism will return.” And to prove it, there was an alleged terrorist attack a couple of days ago where 14 died, with a pamphlet distributed asking not to vote for Keiko Fujimori.

Unfortunately for the political right, the truth is that the majority of the population does not believe them. Nor do they believe the mass media. They don`t believe the attack either (there is one every time a presidential voting date approaches), and even when an accusation against Peru Libre or Pedro Castillo is true, it does not affect their popularity. People don`t believe even the polls, because in the first round of the election process, Pedro Castillo didn’t gain the first places in any of them. The population is tired of this system and wants to try something else. Keiko Fujimori has an advantage in the capital, Lima, and Pedro Castillo in the rest of the country.

But, does Peru Libre represent a geopolitical change for the country? At least one internal change?

The theoretical ideas of Peru Libre do represent an important internal change, and a geopolitical change for the whole region. But in practice, for now, they cannot do much (they do not have the necessary strength in Congress) and they will not do much (because they have been changing their campaign promises, to push more towards the center, in this second electoral return). They also do not have great political experience or contacts with internal or external power groups. Not even those blamed by their opponents, like Venezuela! Recently, due to their electoral success, at least internally they have found allies: together for Peru and the Broad Front, both with more experience and trajectory, and both accused of being the “terrucos” on duty in past elections (“terrucos” is the way the political right calls al leftist parties, and comes from the Spanish word “terroristas”). Those allies, one of whom has members of Congress, are in favor of a new constitution, as is Peru Libre. Even so, they would not have the votes to do so and would have to resort to direct voting in a referendum. And there a victory is possible, and there is what terrifies the right wing, despite how difficult it is to get to that point.

Suppose that everything happens as the right fears (the author is sure it will not): the constitution is reformed and the state recovers its capacity for action in the economy. And suppose that Peru Libre wins again and tries to apply its true economic program, which includes nationalization of emblematic natural gas companies, taking control of some electricity and hydroelectric companies, increasing taxes on mining companies with the threat of expulsion, investing in education and public health, thus, losing influence in water control, investment in key industries, such as energy and land and air transport. Does this affect the hegemonic tendency of the area and the interests of the empire? Of course it does. Peru has an average GDP in relation to the region, but 30% more population than Chile. Its central position places it in some key routes, such as the transfer of products from Bolivia (which always has diplomatic clashes with Chile) to the Pacific, the end to the Pacific bi-oceanic highway coming from Brazil and  the future bi-oceanic train that would link the industrial cities of the Brazilian southeast, the largest in the region, with the Pacific, passing through Bolivia. It controls the corridor and Amazon river that Ecuador uses as a pass to the Atlantic. Unlike Chile, which today already controls part of its copper, any advance by Peru in this regard would be new and would create temporary disturbances in those mining markets, which without being of global importance, will always attract Washington’s attention due to the shouting and unrest that the Peruvian partners and beneficiaries of the current scheme will do (this despite the fact that most of the Peruvian mining goes to China).

The internal economic struggles would antagonize Pedro Castillo to the United States, so politically he would be more in the bloc of Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia and hypothetically Chile, ending up breaking the anti-Venezuelan coalition. And since money is needed for all this, in the medium term they would have to resort to China a lot, and direct their raw materials to the Asian market more than they already are. Peru’s external debt relative to GDP is one of the smallest in the region, so there would be a long way to go in terms of investment in infrastructure and industry. They could expel the US DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Administration), as Bolivia and Ecuador once did, losing the United States part of its control of drug routes in the region, and also its military air control bases that served to illegally monitor some of the Brazilian rainforest. Finally, Peru is also a good food producer, and with inflation looming in the United States, it is important for them to control that this market is directed towards them (as it is today) and not towards Asia.

Opinion and forecast:

Peru will have a very complex outlook. If Keiko Fujimori wins the elections on June 6, it is certain that we would have new elections, or perhaps only a new president, within a year. The population simply does not want her; she hardly has congressmen, and the political right that now supports her will abandon the ship with the first scandal, hoping to introduce another candidate. Peru would be paralyzed in that way for a couple of years at least, that is, without changes in geopolitics and with the usual people in charge. If Pedro Castillo and the political left win, he will have to fight to pass any political initiative, no matter how inconsequential it may be. Although it would be the main majority in congress, it does not have enough support for a stable government. If he manages to vacate Congress and calls for new congressional elections, he could get many more if Peru Libre aligns himself with the other two left-wing groups, Juntos por el Perú and Frente Amplio, but this is not easy. The author believes this could happen in mid-term, campaigning for a referendum to change the constitution. Those struggles would take up most of his presidential term, so in the short term, this author does not see great changes in socioeconomic matters, simply because the current constitution does not allow them. On the other hand, there could be pronouncements on foreign policy, which would serve as propaganda in the bloody political-economic struggle that will occur clashing with the oligarchy, from day one of his mandate. The United States and the Grupo de Lima are sure to lose yet another ally in their blockade and political struggle against Venezuela.

by Jhr Cronos.