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Perú and Latin América Strongmen

Monday, April 13, 2009 , Posted by LATINO EVENTS Y TESPIS MAGAZINE at 12:01 AM


When I visited Perú in 1991 the country was under constant siege by "Sendero Luminoso'. You could see the Army, with tanks and everything, patroling Lima and many other cities. Sendero could strike anywhere, anytime. There were provinces, were Sendero had their strongholds, off limits to anyone . Alberto Fujimori solved all that. He also became a strongman, trampling on the human rights of peruvians, overriding democratic institutions and remaining in power at will. Until he could not. It seems that many if not all Latin American countries have had to deal with such strongmen. It may look like an strange fascination with them: the Savior, the man of the people and for the people. They all fail, of course, and people end up getting rid off them. Until the next one comes along and 'the hope of the people'' arise again. Chávez, Inc., is the latest of the bunch. He remains in power not because people want to, but because he has subdue all democratic and republican institutions to his will. Chávez, Inc. has hijacked Venezuela and made it his personal chiefdom. That is what Strongmen do.
Perú sentenced Fujimori to 25 years. It was a strong message that I hope will resonate across the Land. Strongmen have no place in any funcioning democracy. Period. Latin America will be a much better place for everyone the day we are able to turn this page for ever.
Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, a senior researcher for the Americas division of Human Rights Watch wrote an insightfull piece for the New York Times title 'Our Own Strongman'. She was involved in the efforts to bring Fujimori to trial and wonders, like me and many others, about the day we stamp out all strongmen from our political life. Chávez, Inc., and the like, beware! Your day will come.

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