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What you need to know about the election of Ollanta Humala in Peru: a personal testimony

June 7, 2011

The recent election of Ollanta Humala is a historic feat for Peru, a date which we Peruvians will remember with pride in the future. 

Ollanta Humala will start the construction of a new nation through a popular social movement.

It has been a tough and very tense fight, never before seen in Peru. In fact, the victory of Ollanta Humala in Peru is the result of a struggle which has taken five centuries to materialize.

For the first time in the history of Peru since the European contact, a progressive leader of Indigenous heritage will run the destinies of our nation. Ollanta Humala opens a new chapter in the creation process of the Peruvian nation.

This is a translation of my original article posted in Peruanista

Peruvian people in Peru and abroad organized with grass roots groups to online campaigns, in order to support Humala and to defeat the power of the ill-gotten money mafias and the discriminating selfishness of the ruling elites. A nation oppressed by corruption and inequality has risen with hope and courage to regain their own country.

This is the triumph of everyone who supported this campaign; this is our contribution to generations to come. Our courageous vote defeated the mafias of corruption, death and impunity. We Peruvians with dignity, we have regained the political power.

It has been over 6 years of a tough political campaign, Ollanta Humala and his family and friends fought against the most powerful Peruvian and foreign corporate groups backed by true mafias, they used the media of Lima to turn Humala into a character of terror, and they wanted him to be the most hated politician in Peru.

But the Peruvian people recognized a well-intentioned and honest leader, as I did when Humala run five years ago and when I finally met him last year in Washington DC.

In the 2006 elections I witnessed from the U.S. how the Lima press destroyed the candidacy of Ollanta Humala, so I decided to write a blog in the Internet, to promote Peruvians and the media in Lima to discuss issues never touched or ignored.

These years of hard work have produced good results. I have seen how the press has opened its pages to many issues that I started writing in Peruanista, even newspaper opened blogs for Peruvians abroad and TV networks expanded its presence among the Peruvian community in the U.S.

A few months ago, when I met Ollanta Humala in person, I knew he was a good person, his aura is of honesty and respect. Much different from the way the media in Lima portrayed him. Anyone who has met him can understand this. I decided then to focus my blog Peruanista on supporting the election of Humala. My personal effort is the same of millions of Peruvians, each one according to his talents and possibilities.

In Peru, a grass-roots effort of online campaigns and street caravans were organized by hundreds of independent activists, Ollanta supporters, leftists, centrists and even conservative Peruvians who saw on him the best alternative over the criminal mafia behind Keiko Fujimori, the other candidate and who is daughter of incarcerated dictator Alberto Fujimori.

Slowly, one by one, Peruvians in Peru and abroad worked in some way to impact the future of our country, without any personal interest or orders from anyone. We supported Humala because we felt in our hearts it was the right thing to do, it was the call of the Pachamama.

Ollanta Humala won in 19 of 25 regions of Peru. See more interactive maps with the official results.

In order to win these elections, Ollanta Humala and his supporters have faced a brutal campaign of fear and run by very strong interest groups from Peru and overseas. They see our country as a source of personal enrichment, not as a nation of communities and cultures, not as the Peruvian family we are.

These groups don’t want to share the wealth of the country, so they will probably sabotage and run nasty campaign against the upcoming Humala government, as occurred last night when the rich of Lima began withdrawing their money from the stock market, causing many Peruvians to lose lots of money. But it doesn’t matter, because a new era has started in the history of Peru, which is priceless.

The current panic among the wealthy of Peru will soon vanish. I write also for those who voted for Keiko Fujimori, not so much for her but against Ollanta Humala.

In this new era that will soon begin, we Peruvians need to unite in this long process of renewal. Our country needs all its citizens to understand the important role that each of us can play, and that we cannot live apart by hatred and revenge. We the people are the rich and poor, from Lima or not, old and young, men and women, diverse and original.

The struggle that Ollanta Humala leads, is not a struggle of political parties or for profit, and is not a struggle of personal interests. I see it as a real social and cultural movement. I can feel it from here. I see an honest man accompanied by a courageous and tasteful woman, his wife Nadine Heredia, and they need our support.

The Peruvian left, dismembered by the Alberto Fujimori-Alan Garcia secret alliance in the 1990s, has reemerged as a broad movement of grass-roots, neighborhood, community, student, regional, indigenous, and cultural organizations. They are not leftists only, is a progressive movement of several ideas, united in defense of our country, based in solidarity, honesty.

This is a movement organized without selfish slogans, or political foreign models, it’s a Peruvian movement. It is based on individual and collective participation. This movement grew to support the campaign of Ollanta Humala, in the streets, but especially in the social media websites as a response to the corporate media manipulations. Most people who participated in this campaign have done it independently, without any secret financing, without further motivation than the willingness to create a better country for all.

Many people do not understand this, especially those Peruvians who live immersed in a culture of consumerism, corruption and selfishness, typical of the neoliberal economic model, which has made us “believe” that progress and happiness are achieved only with the accumulation of money and properties. There is a very strong power that we have and is not for sale: the power of unity, hope, faith.

The largest newspaper in the country and the strongest supporter for Keiko Fujimori, tried to explain yesterday the reasons for the victory of Humala: “No one, earlier this year, bet a Sol currency for the candidacy of Ollanta Humala, except his followers.” See, this is how Lima ignores the rest of the country; they try to say that we are nothing. That’s why they lost the election.

Because while some parts of Lima and of the northern coast “progressed” in profits, the rest of the country grew in spirituality and consciousness. But right now, we have to turn the page and truly grow in unity. Because ultimately, those of you who thought of Humala differently from his supporters, will also benefit from this process.

Those Peruvians who voted for Keiko Fujimori, I’d like to ask you to give yourself a little time, soon you will understand that you are also part of this process of change. You must know that Peru is also the provinces away from Lima, that we won this election because it was necessary, and you must understand that we are part of your country, we are not enemies.

So please understand that the recovery of Peru is a process that will take years and it will not happen only with Ollanta Humala. In this process there should be no revenge, no divisions. No one wants the rich to turn into poor, because the rich are also needed to build a nation. Nobody wants you to stop thinking freely; on the contrary, freedom makes people flourish. Mostly, you must remember that everything evolves and that change is good when it’s for good.

I will ask Peruvians that you always remember, who supported the corrupt mafia in this election, who created the system of abuse and exploitation that today governs Peru.

To Keiko Fujimori, I wish you will clean up your life after you have collected so much hate in this election and in your life. The truth only will set you free, you have to reconcile with yourself, stop living the life of your father, don’t let them use you.

It is now time to seek reconciliation and unity among Peruvians. Our time has come.

We need to support Ollanta Humala because there are already talks of possible coups and sabotage. These are hectic days, but calm will return to the country. On Tuesday June 5, 2011, two years after the Bagua massacre of Indigenous people, we have begun the road to be finally free.

For those who voted for Ollanta Humala, and those who voted against Keiko Fujimori, congratulations. You have chosen a good leader, who will need you in the years to come. You have shown there are good people in Peru; you are many more of those numbers announced by the electoral agency ONPE to us (51,5% so far). Many more.

You organized so fervently for this election; do not let the fire go out, you must continue your work in anyway, especially monitoring the process that begins this month of July with the inauguration of Ollanta Humala as president of Peru.

This is a process that needs you, it will help to educate other Peruvians, so that never again we get candidates that are convicted felons or related to them, so we can build the new country. Keep it up, because our victory begins now.

Photos by Crhistian Peralta / AP / Reuters

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