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Peru in the 2000s


Toledo’s presidency
Toledo’s presidency

Alejandro Toledo was elected president in June 2001 after a runoff with former president Alan García Pérez. Toledo vowed to reform Peru’s criminal justice system, promote foreign investment, and reduce unemployment. In legislative elections, held alongside the presidential election, Toledo’s Possible Peru Party emerged as the largest party in the congress, although it did not attain a majority. The American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA), led by García, became the second largest party. In 2003 a government-appointed Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued the results of a two-year investigation into human rights abuses committed during Peru’s 20-year struggle with the Shining Path guerrillas.

The commission found that nearly 70,000 people were killed or had disappeared from 1980 to 2000, twice as many as previously believed. Nearly 75 percent of those killed were Quechua-speaking Indians. Shining Path guerrillas caused most of the deaths by massacring villagers who refused to support them. However, Peru’s military, which attacked Indian villages in counterinsurgency operations, was found responsible for about 30 percent of the deaths and disappearances. Unrest continued during Toledo’s presidency as he failed to deliver on an election promise to create jobs, and strikes and demonstrations against government policies became frequent.

Corruption scandals undermined his administration, and he shuffled his cabinet several times in efforts to reclaim public support.

The June 2006 presidential elections required a runoff between APRA candidate Alan García Pérez and populist candidate Ollanta Humala, a former army officer. Regional politics played a significant role in the runoff as García used an endorsement of Humala by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez to discredit Humala. Chávez was reportedly unpopular with most Peruvians, and García was said to have made gains by linking Humala to Chávez. García also sought to portray himself as a moderate and promised that he had learned the lessons of his first administration, which was economically disastrous for Peru. The 2006 elections were also notable for the attempted political comeback of Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s president from 1990 to 2000 when he went into exile in disgrace. Fujimori’s supporters sought to place his name on the presidential ballot, but he was ruled ineligible. After Fujimori was extradited from Chile, where he had been placed under arrest, a Peruvian court found him guilty in December 2007 of ordering an illegal search and sentenced him to six years in prison.

The same month he went on trial again on more serious charges of murder and forced disappearance, stemming from his alleged use of a secretive death squad that targeted leftists. In April 2009 a three-judge panel of Peru’s Supreme Court found Fujimori guilty of those charges and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. "Peru" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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