31 December 2005
I was in Peru on Thursday, on a quick stopover on the way to Bolivia, and was surprised in Lima to see a giant house-sized banner in support of former president Alberto Fujimori for president in 2006. He is currently under arrest in Chile after years of exile in Japan. Peru wants him extradited on 20 counts of human rights abuse and corruption charges committed during his decade-long presidency. This, apparently, isn't holding him back from mounting a campaign for elections in April, nor is a tribunal decision that says he can't - yet. His daughter Keiko will be heading an alliance of pro-Fujimori parties. Could he win? "Yes," says my taxi driver, "Because he did many good things for the country." ABC News quotes Ernesto de la Jara from a Lima think tank: "Peruvians are nostalgic for someone like Fujimori," he says. "The attitude is: 'Fujimori was corrupt, and also killed and robbed - but at least he also built us some roads.'" Let's hope voters ask for more and better.