In Peru, A Death Foretold

Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel explains the underlying traits that led to downfall of Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Watching Peruvian TV on Wednesday, March 22nd brought bittersweet thoughts about Latin America, its elites and the road that needs to be covered before the region can claim modernity.

There you could see one of the most internationally admired heads of state from Latin America resigning and in so doing placing the blame on everyone but himself.

Watching the event was like turning the clock back to the days when soapy shows ruled the airwaves to bring into households the drama of a good soul being tortured by the forces of evil to the point of self-execution.

At least that was so in series like Peyton Place and Barnaby Collins.

But it so happens that too many advances in technology and entertainment make these dramas look silly nowadays.

And that’s how PPK the internationally acclaimed President of Peru came through in his final hour.

Undeniably, there were a lot of anti-PPK free agents intervening in Peruvian politics including but not limited to the Bolivarian checkbook buying politicians, journalists and analysts to bring him down.

But PPK did not make the task difficult, to the contrary, in a truly Oedipal drama PPK brought about his downfall by committing mistakes that could only be explained by hubris.

His successful life as a banker and as a public servant made him believe that his sole reputation was sufficient to guarantee governance.

But alas, governance is the result of additions or multiplication. PPK only performed subtractions throughout his mandate.

He discouraged supporters by choosing an unknown cabinet of operators with very little political acuteness.

He failed to negotiate a firm coalition to allow him to pass reforms that Peru badly needed.

He gave away the baby with the bath water when he liberated Fujimori without closing a firm alliance to secure governance in exchange.

In short, he behaved like most Latin American elites who believe themselves invincible given their knowledge and experience and, of course, their wealth.

Worse, they lack knowledge of their own people.

And these behavioral traces spring from the fact that up until the last decade of the past century there were such things as public and private life. Public life demanded the portrayal of virtue. Private allowed elites to enjoy the lifestyle of affluent citizens from the most advanced countries.

Accordingly, you would network, entertain and socialize in your upper-class cocoon while conducting leadership activities in the public domain with people that were as distant to your reality as those that march in the Marvel movies behind the space heroes.

But it so happens that the iPhone brought down the barriers between public and private therefore exhibiting your full life to the world while revealing the best guarded secrets.

You thus now have no choice but to be consistent, transparent and coherent if you aspire to be an elected officer.

And apparently there was a ghost in PPK’s closet. An advisory contract entered with Odebrecht, the Brazilian bribe spreading giant, while he was the most powerful man in government after president Toledo.

And while perhaps this all was quite legal, it ethically spelled disaster. It led his enemies to go after PPK’s jugular and he had to resign or face the prospect of being removed from the presidency.

The region has lost a stateman who had the right vision and policies not only for Peru but for Latin America. But he failed to understand that politics demands humility and transparency. Truly sad !!

Published by on Monday March 26th, 2018

*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*