Something smells funny about the recent denunciation of maverick Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala for alleged human rights violations. Before the accusations, Humala was riding high as the leading candidate in Peru’s presidential elections. Investigations illustrate that Humala’s accusers are subsidized by the US Government funded Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Washington may be interfering in this election to protect its own interests.
The former army officer heads a nationalist and anti-neoliberal coalition between his new Peruvian Nationalist Party and the ten-year-old center-left Union for Peru party. Humala, a mestizo, was never part of Lima’s white ruling elite which has traditionally run the major institutions of the country. He is often derided for being an upstart “cholo” (indigenous), which sheds light on the colonial racism still inherent within Peruvian society. So much of Humala’s support comes from the impoverished non-white majority who has suffered from the “neoliberal reforms” of the unpopular sitting president Alejandro Toledo.
As Latin America turns against the US, the super-power is starting to realise the increasing limits to its influence.