Peru election – Humala on the rise


I’m not one to cover politics much on this website, but this combination of headlines here in Peru today struck me as something that people elsewhere deserve to see:

On the left, a graphic showing the five presidential candidates with current poll results:
Alejandro Toledo 19.4
Ollanta Humala 17.6
P Pablo Kuczynski 17.5
Keiko Fujimori 16.1
Luis Castanneda 15.5

The headline, correctly, translates to something like “neck and neck.” Toledo has been a shoe-in for the second-round runoff from the start, with the real race for second place. And now,with a statistically insignificant 0.1% lead, Humala is suddenly a real contender.

The right-hand newspaper, which is supposed to be a more serious, sober paper, is hilarious. In case you don’t speak Spanish, it is:


This is the news!

Given the class breakdown in Peru, and how many people feel kinship with El Comercio (hint: not many), I’d say it’s a very good day for Humala.

I saw this headline just hours before reading this long Lula analysis which includes a paragraph that would seem to apply to Humala:

The degree of venom directed at Lula bore little or no relation to anything he was actually doing. Behind it lay other and deeper grievances. For the media, Lula’s popularity meant a loss of power. From 1985 and the end of military rule, it was the owners of the press and television who in practice selected candidates and determined the outcome of elections. The most notorious case was the backing of Collor by the Globo empire, but the coronation of Cardoso by the press, before he had even thrown his hat into the ring, was scarcely less impressive. Lula’s direct rapport with the masses broke this circuit, cutting out the media’s role in shaping the political scene. For the first time, a ruler did not depend on their proprietors, and they hated him for this. The ferocity of the ensuing campaigns against Lula could not have been sustained, however, without a sympathetic audience. That lay in the country’s traditional middle classes, principally but not exclusively based in the big cities, above all São Paulo. The reason for the hostility within this stratum was not loss of power, which it had never possessed, but of status. Not only was the president now an uneducated ex-worker whose poor grammar was legend, but under his rule maids and guards and handymen, riff-raff of any kind, were acquiring consumer goods hitherto the preserve of the educated, and getting above themselves in daily life. To a good many in the middle class, all this grated acutely: the rise of trade unionists and servants meant they were coming down in the world. The result has been an acute outbreak of ‘demophobia’, as the columnist Elio Gaspari, a spirited critic, has dubbed it. Together, the blending of political chagrin among owners and editors with social resentment among readers made for an often bizarrely vitriolic brew of anti-Lulismo, at odds with any objective sense of class interest.


Here is Bloomberg saying “Chavez Ally Humala Says Will Seek to Renegotiate Peruvian Energy Contracts.”

And El Comercio today is as good as yesterday!!

Hugo Chavez has a slogan, “Chavez drives them crazy.” His supporters like to chant it to the tune of “neener, neener, neener.” I have no idea how similar or different the guys really are, but Humala could certainly adopt that slogan.

6 thoughts on “Peru election – Humala on the rise

  1. MRegan

    Al abandonar a Toledo para apuntalar al flautista, la derecha le han dado un empuje a Humala. Se llama ‘les salió el tiro por la culata’.
    En cuanto a PPK solo importan dos cosas: es íntimo amigo de Susana de la Puente, y armó una ONG que se llamaba Agua- si él gana los peruanos, se la pasarán peleando por la última gota de orin del perro del vecino, porque no habrá agua para más que los relaves.

    En Perú, o te gusta Arguedas o te gusta Vargas Llosa- o sea o das o robas. Decidete muchacho porque la noche se acerca y en poco no habrá quién te quite lo bailado. Si no me crees, pregunta al pishtaco con gorro de FDNY.

  2. Kepler

    Setty: what about actually reading the content of the articles and not just judging from the titles? Perhaps you are right, they are overdoing it, but what if not? How can they express in one short title line that a plan does not make sense? And interpreting Peruvian things from Brazil’s media is a bit tricky.

    I don’t know much about Brazil. I have a friend working for Brazil’s current president and some other friends living there, but I haven’t been in ages there. Now, if I am to judge from how I see some “lefties” writing about Venezuela (although lefty is more of an image than an ideology these days), I wonder if what this guy wrote about Lula’s opponents and reasons to oppose are so real.

    I am very aware of the elitism and classism so widespread among upper-middle classes in Venezuela and other American countries and I have myself written about it and criticized it very sharply but most people rejecting Chávez are and were not precisely against him because
    “maids and guards and handymen, riff-raff of any kind, were acquiring consumer goods hitherto the preserve of the educated, and getting above themselves in daily life”.

    I don’t know the most common reasons in Brazil for people to reject Lula, but if I judge from what I have seen foreign journalists write about us Venezuelan opponents to Chávez, this journalist may be exagerating it a lot. The María Alejandra Lópezes can be a very vocal sector of Venezuela’s oppo, but she is definitely not the average. The reasons for rejection of a guy who says a zillion times he is for the poor may be different from dislike for the poor.

    I imagine people in Brazil are not so much different regarding that.
    Most may also have other reasons for rejection.

    I also have a couple of Peruvian friends. They come from humble families and they won’t fall into the cliché of “Spanish conquistadores”, one having the most Inca look you can imagine and the other a rather African American one. They abhor Humala for the economic policies he is proposing. I haven’t got the time to ask them what those policies are.
    I try to imagine what any newspaper would have put as title to target people like them. Any idea? Only by reading the content can we know.

    1. sapitosetty Post author

      You make me think you’ve never watched people at a Peruvian (or Chilean) newsstand. Everyone stops. Everyone looks at headlines. One in 10 people buy a paper. The headline is all that matters.

  3. Roberto N

    Any paper that proposes that Rebecca Black is the new Justin Bieber has a few screws loose anyways!

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