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Peru

Yearbook 2002

Peru. Violent riots erupted in June in the city of Arequipa in southern Peru after the government announced plans to sell two energy companies to a Belgian company. The protesters demanded that sales be postponed after the local elections in November. According to Countryaah website, two people were killed in the rattles and 150 injured, and the government was forced to back down and postpone the deal. On July 17, nationwide protests were held against the government.

2002 Peru

At the regional and municipal elections on November 17, former President Alan Garcías won the PAP party (Partido Aprista Peruano) in 12 of the 25 newly created administrative regions. President Alejandro Toledo's PP (Perú Posible) won only one. García, who returned to Peru last year after a long period of exile abroad, is considered preparing to return to the presidential post at the next election.

Three days before US President George W. Bush's visit in March, two bombs exploded in Lima, one outside the US embassy. Peru has not experienced any political violence on a large scale since the guerrilla movements Sendero Luminoso and Tupac Amaru were virtually defeated in the 1990s, but the then government's controversial methods in its guerrilla fight are still subject to judicial review.

In May, for example, an arrest warrant for ten officers accused of cold-blooding eight of the guerrilla soldiers during the storming of the Japanese Embassy in Lima, which occupied the Tupac Amaru guerrilla in 1997, cold-bloodedly. One of the officers surrendered to the police, but the other nine sought refuge in their army offices, where their superiors refused to release them for a long time.

Transition to democracy

Following Fujimori's escape to Japan, he was formally deposed by Congress and a transitional government was established under the leadership of Congress President Valentín Paniagua Corazao. The transitional government lasted only eight months, but has nevertheless characterized Peru's recent history. Paniagua called for new presidential and congressional elections in 2001 and secured a democratic change of government. A Truth Commission was established, Peru's relations with the Inter-American human rights system were restored and legal proceedings against the leaders of the Luminous Path Guard were reinstated in civil courts.

Center- centric Alejandro Toledo won the presidential election held in June 2001. Toledo's duelist in the second round was former President Alan García, who had returned from his exile after the Supreme Court withdrew old charges against him. But just a few years after the election victory, support for Toledo dropped dramatically. Mass demonstrations and strikes in 2003 led to a government crisis and state of emergency. Two years later, new unrest followed a political dispute over liberalization of the economically important cocoa cultivation. Shortly after, Toledo rescued his political life by a meager margin after a commission of inquiry found him guilty of electoral fraud in 2001.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission

President Toledo ratified the establishment of a Truth Commission and expanded the name by 'reconciliation' (Comisión de la Verdad y la Reconciliación - CVR). The CVR's mandate was to clarify the truth about abuses committed during the armed conflict in Peru, as well as throughout the Fujimori regime, that is, the period from 1980 to 2000. The commission consisted of twelve people from civilian and denominational communities, and one representative from the military.

The Commission delivered its report in August 2003, concluding that the number of killed and disappeared in the armed conflict was 69,000 people; far more than the previous estimate of 25,000 victims. About 75 per cent of the victims were civilians from the rural areas of the Highlands, especially peasants with indigenous backgrounds. According to CVR, this was due to historical marginalization and discrimination of the peasantry in Peru. CVR also concluded that the Luminous Path Guard was responsible for 54 percent of the murders reported to the commission. The Peruvian military was found responsible for systematic human rights violations in the fight against terrorism; especially in the 1980s, but also during the Fujimori regime.

The Truth Commission's report initiated a sustained debate in Peru about past abuse and opportunities for reconciliation. In 2005, President Toledo established a program of redress for the victims of the armed conflict, in line with the Truth Commission's recommendations.

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