This post is part of our special coverage WikiLeaks and the World.
One of the unexpected consequences of the cables released by Wikileaks has been its impact on the Peruvian presidential campaign. Shortly after the release of the first leaks, a congressman declared [es] that “We must look carefully at this issue, it could be an intentional leak or the actions of a hacker.” Subsequent statements given by people such as author Mario Vargas Llosa: “Wikileaks is frivolous gossip” [es] and President Alan Garcia: “Wikileaks reports are not relevant,” [es] did not show very favorable views on the subject.
The first cables made public in Peru were themed around corruption and terrorism. Although they had some impact on the press, the current political situation did not seem shaken by them. But earlier this month, in the middle of the presidential campaign, a cable emerged [es] alluding directly to one of the candidates (Pedro Pablo Kuczynski) and his ties to big business and mining lobbies. As a result, the wires are now seen differently and have begun to have some impact on the campaign.
On February 13, the daily El Comercio [es] announced that it would begin releasing cables related to Peru since 2006 [es] thanks to negotiations with Wikileaks. That same day, the newspaper published two cables, both related to key players in Peruvian politics. The first was about Ollanta Humala coordinating with Venezuela [es] to create the anti-Summit (ALC-UE) of 2008. The second was about Jorge Del Castillo asking for support from the United States so that Lourdes Flores would accept the results of the 2006 elections. Both cables are closely related to the elections, especially the one referencing Humala, who is currently a presidential candidate.
But on Saturday 19, the situation reached new levels with the release of a cable from 2005 via the Spanish newspaper El Pais stating that “Fernando Rospigliosi, former Minister of Interior in the government of Alejandro Toledo, asked for assistance from the United States Embassy to carry out a campaign against Ollanta Humala.” Furthermore, the day after, El Comercio published information on cables related to candidates Luis Castañeda [es], Keiko Fujimori [es], Ollanta Humala [es] and Alejandro Toledo [es]. However, despite how revealing some of the latter cables were, they did not generate as many reactions [es] as the one released on Saturday, February 19.
Former president and now candidate Alejandro Toledo declared [es] not long ago that “Wikileaks [cables] are a ‘kind (of) noise’ that disrupt the electoral process and thereby avoid proper debate among candidates.” While Luis Castañeda, another candidate, has preferred to refrain [es] from giving his opinion on the cables again, adding [es] that “national problems must be solved by Peruvians” in reference to the Rospigliosi case. Moreover, Congressman Mauricio Mulder said [es] that the cables had become “an object” that “a local newspaper will be able to handle as they want.”
Print media analysts have also given their very diverse opinions on the subject, like Juan Paredes Castro from El Comercio [es], Mirko Lauer [es] and Javier Diez Canseco [es] in La República, and Aldo Mariátegui in Correo [es]. The issue has also been discussed on television: here is a compilation video [es] of several interviews on the matter.
Opinions on blogs have been a little more raw and unbarred. For example, John Ochoa in the blog Mariategui: The magazine of ideas says [es] that these revelations should not surprise anyone:
Aquí todos saben que los buitres del norte toda la vida han sido amos y señores de estas tierras. Aquí, sino somos todos, al menos los que hemos logrado cierto grado de instrucción elemental siempre entendimos que los hijos del Tío Sam, siempre han sido los mandamases de nuestra política, los justiprecieros de nuestra economía. Los inoculadores de una “cultura” a la medida de sus intereses. ¿Dónde diablos está la novedad sobre este hallazgo más antiguo que la momia juanita?
In his blog Gran Combo Club Silvio Rendón analyses [es] the U.S embassy and its ambassador participation:
La embajadora estadounidense en el Perú, Rose Likins, es todo un personaje mediático más de la política peruana. Se reúne con candidatos en plenas elecciones. Hace declaraciones semanales. Nomás falta que la imiten en la tele […] A ver que en EEUU una embajada apoye o perjudique a algún candidato estadounidense […]
He also talks about interventionism:
De 2006 a 2011 los términos de la política se han volteado. Entonces era Humala quien aparecía como parte de una intervención externa, de Venezuela. En la actualidad, es Toledo quien aparece como parte de la intervención de los Estados Unidos en el Perú. Mientras Humala ha marcado distancias con Chávez, Toledo ha evidenciado ser el protegido oficial (al menos uno de ellos) del gobierno de los Estados Unidos
He also talks about the people seeking interventionism:
Extraña concepción de democracia. Rospigliosi va a una embajada a pedir una contracampaña contra un candidato que goza del apoyo popular. Si la gente vota contra las privatizaciones, ahí está Rospigliosi para imponerlas. Sin embargo, la reunión fue a pedido de los funcionarios de la Embajada. El legado de Eudocio Ravines, ex-comunista, que se convirtió en agente de la CIA, sigue vivo en el Perú.
In addition to that, in other posts Rendón analyses the history of U.S political interventions in Peru and in some other Latin American countries. In those posts there is also an analysis of the consequences of political intervention both in Peru's current politics and in some other organizations. Those posts are mainly: “IDEPHPUCP and USAID” [es], “Sandino in Peru” [es], “The great USAID payroll in Peru” [es], “The CNDDHH in the embassy” [es] and “Round-up without surveyors” [es]. By reading all of them, not only is it inferred that there are people who provide information to the U.S government in a web, but it is also deduced how some authorities of Peruvian politics are used to providing information about either opposition or any other topic required. The proof of this is the post “Aveleaks 8” [es] in the Ave Crítica blog.
In his blog Lex Digitalis, Erik Iriarte, a candidate for the congress, gives his opinion [es] regarding changes in the balance of political power due to the information unveiled by some organizations such as Wikileaks:
Que representan los wikileaks para la democracia peruana?, esta representando un reconocimiento de relaciones y temas ya conocidos, pero se les esta entregando rostros, se esta estableciendo responsabilidades y sobre todo los mecanismos como el poder ha esta ocurriendo en los pasados años. […] En esta época ya no es mas posible entender la participación política, el actuar en democracia, sin un acceso real y efectivo a la información, que se ve potenciado por los instrumentos digitales como redes sociales, webs, wikileaks, en fin internet.
But maybe the main topic behind all this is not the modern age with internet or Wikileaks, but it is something basic like values. Like the journalist Cesar Hildebrant accurately asserts in a republished article [es] in the Ave Crítica blog: “this crisis regarding lack of values transform us in active third world people, serious underdeveloped people, barbarians that cannot be helped. Development is not just about exporting and selling, it also consists on establishing a new system that approaches as much as it can to principles of honesty.”
Finally, Aldo Cisneros Jirón in a post in his blog Grupo Perú Futuro asserts: “Wikileaks has started to embrace new theories regarding political power relations.” Nonetheless, the influence of those disclosures in the results of the April 10th elections remains unclear. In a survey in the newsaper La República, “do you think that what Wikileaks revealed affects the result of the elections?” [es], 48% answered yes, whereas 52% answered no. In any case, as the Uruguayan journalist Danilo Arbilla said in “The Wikileaks factor” [es]: “candidates will have to be aware, they cannot leave aside internet sites because even though they do not want to, they do not deserve it or if it is unfair, they can wake up in the morning with the surprise of a new Wikileaks cable that might include them.”
This post is part of our special coverage WikiLeaks and the World.