Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Monday, April 4, 2011

Decision 2011

Mock presidential debate during language instruction in training.
I played the roll of Jaime Bayly, a local author, TV personality and presidential candidate.

Disclaimer - The Peace Corps is an apolitical organization and I as a Volunteer am not allowed to participate in any political activities or support any kind of political party (nor do I want to for that matter). I’m writing this entry as a general information item that you might be interested in. I have my preferences but since I can’t vote down here, my preferences are as worthless as tits on a bull and can only make my life more difficult. So I´ll keep them to myself.

The Peruvian presidential, congressional and Andean Parlaiment elections are coming this Sunday. There are ten candidates in the running but only five that really have a shot at the actual presidency. Here’s the way it works (as I understand it). Voting is mandatory. If you don’t vote, you have to pay a fine. If a candidate wins over 50% of the votes this Sunday, they will become the next Peruvian president serving a five year term. If no candidate wins 50% of the vote, the top two candidates earning the most votes advance to a run-off election sometime in May.

Here’s a brief recap of the top five candidates in the polls as of this Sunday (3-31-11).

Ollanta Humala (27.2%) – He’s a former soldier, a nationalistic candidate, and has been associated with President Morales in Bolivia and President Chavez in Venezuela who recently called him a good soldier, whatever that means. Mr. Humala lagged in the polls up until a couple of weeks ago when he surged ahead. When he passed everyone else in the polls, the local economy got jumpy, stockmarket dipped (or plunged depending on which newspaper you picked up) and the US dollar strengthened against the Nuevo Sol. All the other candidates have been piling on since (which is what they do to whomever is ahead in the polls).

Keiko Fujimori (20.5%) – A congresswoman and the daughter of the ex-president/dictator of Peru Alberto Fujimori who´s sitting in jail for crimes committed during that whole Shining Path thing in the 80´s and 90´s. She attended college in the United States and the folks here have been wondering out loud who paid for her education. She recently got married and had a kid. Of course the million dollar question is will she pardon her father and let him out of jail if she gets elected.

Alejandro Toledo (18.5%) – El Cholo. Was the president of Peru prior to the current president and has a Peace Corps connection. When the Peace Corps was in Peru during the 60’s, a Volunteer lived in Toledo’s house up in the Sierra. The Volunteer later reportedly help get him into an Ivy League school. Toledo brought the Peace Corps back to Peru in 2002 after they were kicked out by some dictator (Velasco?) in the 1970’s. He did come by the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary celebration at the US Ambassadors House. I didn’t have a chance to meet him nor even see him. Reason being, apparently he’s really chato (short).

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (18.1$)– El Gringo. PPK (pronounced pe pe ka). Here’s what I’ve heard but have done zero fact checking. However, since I’ve posted this on the internet it automatically makes it true and correct. His parents left Poland during World War II to escape that whole Nazi thing and he was born here. He’s tall and white like a gringo and speaks slow and methodically with just a teeny bit of an accent like a gringo. He’s married to a gringa and up until last week, he had citizenship in the United States just like a gringo. He’s the favorite here in the town where I live and has made a big push the last couple of months. His mascot is the large furry edible rodent…PPCuy. If it walks like a gringo and talks like a gringo…

Luis Castaneda (12.8%) – Mr. Castaneda is the former mayor of Lima and apparently all the Limeños think he did great work there. They call him El Mudo because he’s run a pretty quiet campaign but he’s piping up a bit now, maybe too late. I watched him on one of those midday talk shows (the ones with the hot scantily clad latina girls) and late evening variety shows (the ones with the hot scantily clad latina girls) and he seems to be a pretty likeable guy with a good sense of humor.

Alright - I will throw in my two cents after all. If I were Peruvian I would vote for Jaime Bayly!! Unfortunately my favorite presidential candidate, Peruvian author and TV talk show host is no longer in the running. What’s he up to these days? He got canned from the TV station here in Peru over a contract dispute, broke up with his Argentinian (?) boyfriend, knocked up a 20-something year old “bad-girl” author, and moved to Miami.

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