Ollanta doesn’t even come to power until the end of July, but he’s already indirectly responsible for one death in Huancayo. I heard yesterday that an old lady, who was drunk (not uncommon here), when she heard that Ollanta had won announced to everyone that that was the end of her, since he would not support the elderly, and went off to drink poison. Not the best of endorsements for his coming presidency.

Peruvians returned to the polls yesterday to choose between the two presidential candidates, Ollanta and Fujimori, who one famous commentator here described as like choosing between AIDS and terminal cancer. The votes are nearly all counted and it’s been one of the closest elections in Peruvian history (which when you consider that democracy has never survived more than 12 years here perhaps isn’t saying all that much!), but it seems that Ollanta is to emerge triumphant.

What next for Peru? Ollanta, from the left, is heavily linked with Hugo Chavez’s regime in Venezuela (it is widely accepted that his campaign was funded from Caracas). He seeks more state involvement in the economy and has promised to make sure that Peruvians benefit from their country’s wealth, rather than big multinationals. How he does this without driving away much needed foreign investment remains to be seen.

So too, in Ollanta, the Peruvian people now have a president who has far from a squeaky clean image. His brother is in prison for and has implicated the new president in human rights atrocities committed during the years of terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s whilst serving in the Peruvian army. He himself led a short-lived rebellion against the elected government in 2000. Whether he is the right man to pull together a deeply divided nation will only be known in time.

It’s been noticeable since being back in the country that food prices have gone up and I’ve seen the odd article recently which says that this is not a phenomenon that is unique to Peru, but that around the world many more people are plunging into poverty. The families with whom I work are certainly noticing the increases, so we are all hoping that they do not continue to rise whilst work continues with them to try and find longer-term solutions to their economic problems.

Peru’s presidential elections are upon us. Last week the five candidates were sifted down to two, with the whole nation casting their vote. The decision between the two remaining will take place in early June, when the nation will be obliged to turn out again and vote between Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori.

Mario Vargas Llosa, perhaps the most famous Peruvian at the moment (having one the Nobel Prize for Literature last year), and who actually stood for election himself some years ago, is quoted as saying that choosing between those two would be like choosing between terminal cancer and AIDS!

Humala, a former army commander, who is suspected of killing various innocents whilst in uniform and has nationalistic policies closely aligned to those of Chavez in Venezuela. Keiko is the young (same age as me!) daughter of a former disgraced President who is now in prison having been convicted of corruption charges.  It’s easy to see what Mario Vargas Llosa might have been referring to!

© 2017 Paul and Rach Elliston Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha