The election results reflected a popular rejection of decades of neo-liberal economic policies and the opening up of Peru’s natural resources to exploitation by transnational corporations. While the country has registered one of the strongest growth rates in the hemisphere―8.7 percent in 2010―for the majority of the population, the working class and the poor, conditions have only worsened amid chronic poverty, stagnant wages and rising food and fuel costs.
The Peruvian ruling class and foreign capital lost no time in expressing their concerns that Humala’s victory would spell a change in the free market economic model implemented by the last three Peruvian presidents—Alberto Fujimori, father of defeated candidate Keiko Fujimori, Alejandro Toledo and Alan García—spanning a 20-year period.
Humala campaigned on the basis of vague promises that he would use the country’s wealth to ameliorate social inequality, while Fujimori ran as the standard bearer of free-market policies and the defender of the legacy of her father, who is currently serving a 25-year jail sentence after being convicted for corruption and death squad murders during his decade-long reign.
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