IN OTHER WORDS : Peru disaster

The revolt of Latin American voters against the political class began in Peru in 1990, with the election of an obscure agronomy professor named Alberto Fujimori. The anti-establishment mood has spread, leading to populist soldiers and a coca grower taking the presidencies of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. Now Peru may elect the most dangerous leader yet. Last month Ollanta Humala, a military man whose family advocates the shooting of gays, Jews and Chilean investors, came in first in presidential elections. Since he did not get 50 per cent, there will be a runoff on May 28.

More bad news: the other candidate will be Alan García, an irresponsible and corrupt president in the late 1980s who wrecked Peru’s economy. This sorry duo topped a field that included several excellent candidates. Both candidates would make things worse. Humala is no fan of democracy and wants to hold a constituent assembly to rewrite Peru’s Constitution. He was an army captain during Peru’s war with the Shining Path guerrillas. There is credible testimony from several families in his zone that men directly under his command tortured and killed peasants.

All this is widely known in Peru, yet many voters are unbothered. There could be no warning than this of the importance of economic development that incl-udes the poor. — The New York Times