A decade on from this transitional moment, superficially Peru seems to be a model of post-conflict reconstruction. Democracy has been restored, with free and fair elections since 2001, a fairly robust separation of powers, and a vibrant if cacophonous free press. The economy is booming; over the past several years Peru has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and the impact is felt throughout the country with a dramatic rise in consumer spending, construction projects, mega shopping centers, and the like. Poverty levels have been reduced significantly as well. The most damning legacies of the Fujimori period —corruption and human rights violations— were tackled head-on, with high-profile prosecutions of former presidents, ministers, and advisers; high-ranking members of the military; and high-profile business elites.
Scratch below the surface however, and the mirage of post-conflict success story fades away. Democratic restoration notwithstanding, Peruvian democracy receives very low approval ratings from its citizens. Political parties have not re-emerged from the ashes of the 1980s, leading to the domination of politics by amateur and semi-professional politicians, on the one hand, and powerful de facto institutions including powerful media groups, the military, business elites, and conservative Church authorities, on the other. The absence of a strong, organized political force is especially notable on the left. Authoritarian practices persist, including influence-peddling, executive interference in the judiciary, and use of security forces and states of emergency to repress social protest. The media continues to be dominated by right wing owners and tainted by the manipulation to which much of it was subject –and in many cases, willing participed in—during the Fujimori decade. Poverty remains deeply entrenched in some regions, particulary the Andes and the jungle regions, and inequality remains as entrenched as ever. Serious issues of ethnic and gender inequality remain. And the mechanisms to address the legacy of conflict in Peru have faltered: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, considered internationally to be a model of transitional justice and post-conflict reconstruction, is widely maligned, and its policy proposals, from reparations for victims to trials of perpetrators of human rights violations, have faltered dramatically. In this context, it is perhaps not surprising that the former dictator’s daughter, Keiko Fujimori, nearly won the 2011 elections, or that armed groups once believed defeated are in resurgence, or the state –promises of “grand transformations” not withstanding— is reaching for repressive methods to quell social protest, maintain social order, and inhibit opposition groups.
This issue of Latin American Perspectives will evaluate political, economic, social and cultural developments in post-conflict Peru and address theoretical issues relevant to these topics. It invites reflections on the nature of the Peruvian political system and the difficulties and challenges of consolidating democratic governance in Peru. It also invites examination of the legacy of Peru’s neoliberal turn under Fujimori. How can we understand the persistence of the neoliberal hegemony in Peru, particularly given the shiftss in other Latin American countries towards other models of social and economic organization challenging the Washington Consensus? This is particularly puzzling given the fact that, as Peruvian commentators have wryly noted, presidents since 2001 have been elected thanks to their anti-neoliberal electoral platforms, but they conform to the neoliberal hegemony once in office. What are the consequences of the neoliberal hegemony for development and for democratic representation and citizenship?
Peru has a vibrant history of social movements. While political violence and the Fujimori dictatorship largely silenced social movement activism, the return of democracy has opened new spaces for collective action. Moreover, the context of neoliberal hegemony has given rise to numerous local and regional movements challenging neoliberalism and its effects on the ground, from local communities challenging the exploitation of their land and resources without prior consultation to regional efforts to prevent disruptive mega “development” projects such as the Trans Oceanic Highway. The issue of Latin American Perspectives welcomes contributions that evaluate the nature of social movement activism in Peru today, particularly focusing on movements that emphasize indigenous rights; environmental protection, especially relating to extractive industries; movements addressing issues of gender and sexual orientation; cultural movements and artists collectives; and the role of the non-profit sector in negotiating the terrain of state-society relations in post-conflict, neoliberal Peru.
The issue also welcomes manuscripts that reflect on the human rights question. These could address the legacy of the CVR and its historical interpretation of political violence in Peru, or examine the implementation of the specific public policies proposed by the CVR (reparations, memorial sites, criminal prosecutions of perpetrators of human rights abuses); or the unfulfilled promises of institutional and structural reforms proposed by the CVR. Essays could consider the human rights question in Peru today, given the widespread use of repression against social protest, the widespread abuse of practices such as preventive detention, extensive police violence, and the persistence of torture. Is the use of repression and states of emergency to “control” social protest simply a reflex of the past, or does it respond to a new logic of capitalist development in which foreign interests –particularly revolving around the extractive industries— hold a prime position in Peruvian politics and society? What if any are the connections between structures of impunity of the past and structures of impunity in the present?
This special issue of Latin American Perspectives calls for theoretically grounded, empirically rich papers from any disciplinary field working on the politics, society and culture of Peru.
Manuscripts should be no longer than 8,000 words of paginated, double-spaced 12 point text with 1 inch margins, including notes and references. The manuscript should include an abstract of no more than 100 words and 5 key words. Include a separate cover sheet with author identification, basic biographical and contact information, including e-mail and postal addresses. Please follow the LAP style guide which is available at www.latinamericanperspectives.com under the “Submissions” tab. Please use the “About” tab for the LAP Mission Statement and details about the manuscript review process.
Manuscripts may be submitted in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. If submitting in Spanish or Portuguese, please indicate if you will have difficulty reading correspondence from the LAP office in English. LAP will translate accepted manuscripts from Spanish or Portuguese to English. If you do not write in English with near native fluency, we prefer to receive the manuscript in your first language.
All manuscripts should be original work that has not been published in English and that is not being submitted to or considered for publication elsewhere in identical or similar form.
Please feel free to contact the issue editors with questions pertaining to the issue but be sure that manuscripts are sent by e-mail directly to the LAP office
firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line – “Your name – MS for Peru issue”
In addition to electronic submission, US authors should submit two print copies to: