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  HOME | Peru

Corruption Revives Debate on Peruís Political Stability

LIMA Ė Corruption allegations between the government and the opposition has shaken the Peruvian political scene and revived the debate about graftís impact on the countryís stability and democratic system.

The issue bubbled over after clashes between the opposition party led by former president Alberto Fujimori and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala.

While opposition politicians linked Humala and his ministers with illegal activities of a fugitive businessman, Humala said that they were not qualified to talk about corruption.

According to a recent investigation, corruption in the country has been endemic since Spanish colonial times and again came to light in 2000 when a gigantic corruption network was found to be controlled by Vladimiro Montesinos, a senior advisor to Fujimori who served between 1990 and 2000.

A transitional government was headed by Valentin Paniagua until 2001 when Alejandro Toledo was elected president for five years during which he tried to root out corruption.

However, with every passing year it has become increasingly evident that the task is far from being completed and there are still many cases that threaten Peruís stability.

One of the most significant and recent cases has been that of the president of the Ancash region, Cesar Alvarez, who was imprisoned on charges of corruption and hiring contract killers to knock off his opponents.

This challenged the countryís regionalization project, which in the last few years has allowed a better distribution of income earned from the extraction of natural resources, but has also made local mafias stronger in the absence of efficient central control.

Over the past few months, the authorities worked to break up corrupt networks formed by public servants, as in the Ancash case, or by private individuals, such as entrepreneur Rodolfo Orellana who was captured recently in Colombia and is charged with leading a money laundering ring.

Fujimoriís followers are demanding a thorough investigation of businessman Martin Belaunde, who is on the run after being sentenced to 18 months of preventive detention for alleged misuse of public funds.

Belaunde was one Humalaís advisor during his unsuccessful 2006 presidential campaign.

According to the opposition party, the businessman also worked in the presidentís 2011 campaign, a charge denied by the government.

This week, Humala called on Peruvians to continue the struggle against corruption and defended democracy, which he said he considered infinitely better than dictatorships.

Humala also reiterated charges that under Fujimori, the country was riddled by corruption which threatened to destroy the Peruvian identity.

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