The electoral madness of Peru, portrayed in a book by journalist Diego Salazar

This content was published on 24 November 2021 – 17:06

Fernando Gimeno

Lima, Nov 24 (EFE) .- The extreme polarization and political tension experienced in Peru during its last elections, with a country divided into two halves until now irreconcilable and a media that renounced impartiality, has been included in the book “Now what?”, By the Peruvian journalist Diego Salazar.

The book, edited by Penguin Random House, compiles the opinion articles published by Salazar in international media such as the Washington Post, El País and El, in which, as a blog, he chronologically narrates the unusual and irrational that marked the Peruvian electoral campaign.

Salazar analyzes with amazement the maelstrom of events from the prism of an external observer, since as a resident in Mexico, he has a general perspective of the electoral battlefield in Peru, and at the same time has valuable information from the actors involved to try to understand What is happening.

The texts begin with the second round of the presidential elections between the leftist Pedro Castillo and the rightist Keiko Fujimori, until the victory by the minimum of the first led the daughter of President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) to launch a crusade to denounce electoral fraud without proof.

“Read from a distance and with the intensity that all Peruvians follow the campaign, the book has the value of leaving a record of a particularly critical and turbulent moment that I think we will continue to talk about for a long time,” Salazar said in statements to Efe.

“Anyone who is a little honest with himself and maintains a little distance and perspective, knows that we continue with that extreme polarization that we live in the campaign, beyond the multiple crises that this government generates itself,” he said.

Salazar is still surprised by how many political actors aligned themselves so quickly with two extreme options.


On the one hand there was Fujimori, who faces a prosecution charge of more than 30 years in prison for alleged money laundering and who also vindicates the legacy of his father, sentenced to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity and corruption.

And at the forefront was Castillo, an unknown union leader of the Peruvian teachers, candidate of a Marxist party, whose leader, Vladimir Cerrón, is a politically trained doctor in Cuba who frequently praises the Chavista regime of Venezuela and Cuban Castroism.

In that alignment there is a transversal protagonist in Salazar’s texts, which is the Nobel Prize winner for Literature Mario Vargas Llosa, of whom the Peruvian journalist feels “disappointed” for having supported Fujimori without justification, a candidate of whom in past elections He went so far as to assure that it represented the worst.

“You cannot go from saying that you would never vote for Fujimori because it represents a maximum betrayal of the country, and then doing the opposite without explaining yourself in a sufficient way,” Salazar lamented.

“To that we add having defended the theory of an alleged fraud, which has not been able to be proven by anyone, and barricading yourself in that defense without further argument, confessing himself that he does not have more information or data because he does not live in Peru. I don’t live in Peru either, but I try to stay informed, “he added.

In this sense, Salazar reflects on how the Fujimori and Vargas Llosa families have been two cornerstones of Peruvian politics in the last 30 years, both as enemies and now friends on the same side against the left.


Central to the book is also the unequal coverage that some national media in Peru, especially print newspapers and television channels with the highest audience, gave to the electoral campaign, with a clear inclination towards Fujimori and hostile treatment towards Castillo.

“They were not very honest and simply betrayed the trust of their audiences. When you become the propaganda mechanism of one electoral campaign to the detriment of another, you are being dishonest and betraying your audience,” said Salazar.

“This does not mean that a medium cannot have a position on one or the other candidate, but it cannot be done by betraying the audience, and that is what most of them did, in addition to lying openly in many cases” he added.

Hence, the title of “Now what?” It is not only in reference to the constant crises in the Peruvian political field, but also a rhetorical question that is difficult to answer about how to get out of this vicious circle, a political “trap” in which Peru has been since the 2016 elections and that has led to five presidents in five years and three parliaments.

“I do not see that either side is trying to lower the confrontation. I do not see that there is an alignment of interests between the Executive and Congress. The first thing they bring up is the issue of vacancy (removal of the president). ¿ How do you get out of that? What is missing? I really don’t see it, “he concluded. EFE

fgg / amr / fpa


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The electoral madness of Peru, portrayed in a book by journalist Diego Salazar