News Release

Peru Elections


The AP is reporting that “Ollanta Humala, a populist retired army officer … [is] in first place” in Peru’s first round of presidential elections. Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of the recent paper “Peru’s Election: Background on Economic Issues,” which notes: “In the last several years, six presidents who ran explicitly against the ‘neoliberal’ economic reforms of the last 25 years have won elections in South America. The most likely reason for this continuing political trend is the long-term economic growth failure in Latin America. From 1980-2000, per capita GDP grew by only 9 percent; for 2000-2005, it was 1 percent. By contrast, GDP per person grew by 82 percent in the two decades from 1960-1980. The last quarter century has seen the worst growth performance for any 25-year period in more than a century in Latin America, and this economic failure has had enormous consequences that will continue to spill over into the political sphere.”
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Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division, Wallach said today: “Next week, President Bush is expected to sign a trade agreement that would expand the NAFTA model to Peru. This agreement has been met with widespread opposition in Peru, including both a national strike and a movement to force a popular referendum on the agreement. … The proposed U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement faces political uncertainty not only in Peru, but also in the U.S. Congress. The Democrats, including those who supported the Central America Free Trade Agreement, are very upset about the Bush administration’s rejection of Peruvian President Toledo’s request for stronger labor rights provisions.”
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Professor of economics at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Francke also works with ForoSalud, a coalition of organizations focusing on healthcare in Peru. He said today: “The Peruvian minister of health has said that this agreement will double the price of medicine within 12 years, and will particularly affect those with AIDS, tuberculosis or other health problems. The health ministry has also calculated that between 700,000 and 900,000 people would lose health coverage because of the agreement. It also prevents Peru from protecting its farmers. We are gathering signatures for a petition demanding that agreement be subject to a referendum.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167