Saturday, February 25, 2006

Peruvian gays: Presidential candidates are "hypochrites"

On Thursday, in "Gays can serve on cabinet, says Peruvian presidential candidate," I reported that Ollanta Humala - a left-wing former military leader who is running second in the Peruvian presidential election polls - had expressed support for the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships, as long as it was not in the form of marriage, and said that gays could serve on his presidential cabinet as long as they met the requirements for the position. This according to EFE coverage of a news conference by Humala earlier that day.

Global Voices online picked up on my post but also picked up on a far more comprehensive look at the local coverage of the press conference by Fabiola Bazo and Maxwell A. Cameron at the University of British Columbia's Department of Political Science blog.

The press conference, in which Humala meant to charge against what he deemed "a lack of balanced coverage [of his campaign] by the media" covered topics as wide-ranging as trade with the United States (he says that more details are needed before the government can sign a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.) and alledged charges that he might have committed human rights abuses during his military career (he said that he had not killed or tortured anyone outside of combat, a qualified 'no' as any I've heard recently, and he also admitted that he had trained at the nefarious United States-ran military School of the Americas).

According to the UBC blog, Humala's comments on gay rights and abortion (he said he respects a woman's right to chose) came after prodding from reporters.

In the meantime, today La Primera is reporting that Jorge Bracamonte from the Peruvian gay rights organization, Movimiento Homosexual de Lima (MoHL), has called both Humala and the conservative Congresswoman - and leading presidential candidate - Lourdes Flores Nano "hypochrites" for claiming they respect gays while refusing to say if they will sponsor a government-led anti-discrimination law.

Bracamento, who is also running for a lower office on the Socialist Party line, told La Primera that the two candidates "are engaging in double-speak because while saying that they will include gays in the cabinet, they will not promote any laws in our favor."

Bracamonte added: "They have a hypochritical strategy to draw votes. In practice, they tell us to do whatever we want to do in private, inside of the four walls, but they do not recognize equal rights nor do they advocate against discrimination."

He also argued that the debate on the issue of same-sex marriage was a non-starter since, according to Bracamonte, gays in Peru had never demanded the right to religious matrimony but, instead, had asked to be allowed to enter into civil unions that would extend same-sex couples the same rights as married couples.

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