Return to Democracy
Toledo’s political inexperience and lack of strong leadership caused his popularity to plunge among Peruvian voters, many of whom missed the dramatic results and bold programs of Fujimori. Strikes and civil unrest plagued the country in May 2003, which led Toledo to declare a temporary state of emergency to clear highways of protesters. After allegations of corruption, calls for Toledo to step down reached a fever pitch in early 2004. Peru’s largest union, the General Confederation of Workers, held nationwide strikes in mid-2004, and thousands of coca farmers marched in Lima to demand an end to the U.S. sponsored eradication of their crops.
Toledo, however, did establish a stable and growing economy, which is precisely what newly elected President Alan García, with more charm and political experience than his predecessor, is out to maintain. García barely won the 2006 election against the populist Ollanta Humala, who was inspired if not financially supported by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.
García’s return to presidency was a result of “voting against” Ollanta, a turn of events not many Peruvians were happy with. Nevertheless, Peru’s economic growth has favored him, despite the cases of corruption in his political party that have been exposed by the local media.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition