Sunday, June 04, 2006

Peruvian LGBT organization backs Humala in today's presidential election

In a press statement sent out to different e-mail lists Friday night, Raiz Diversidad Sexual, a radical socialist Peruvian LGBT-advocacy organization known for their sometimes disruptive actions and rhetoric, decided to endorse former military commander Ollanta Humala in today's run-off presidential election. This despite the furor that followed statements made last March by his mother, Elena Tasso, to the effect that if two gays were shot it would serve as a warning to other gays and stop "immorality in the streets."

According to the statement, the move follows recent efforts by Humala's party, the UPP, to reach out to the Peruvian LGBT community.

The Spanish-language statement reads as follows (translation by yours truly, apologies for run in sentences and lack of punctuation):
Just hours away from the electoral process and putting aside our personal sympathies, it is important to recognize that there is a possibility that our demands will be effectively heard for the first time; as a matter of fact Union por el Peru (UPP), which [stands behind] candidate Ollanta Humala, presented their proposals to the LGBT community at a recent forum that took place last Wednesday, May 31st, which counted with the presence of Dr. Silvia Pessah, from the UPP's Governing Commission, who spoke about the need to eliminate every form of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender, stating that in Ollanta Humala's government, a number of public policies will be developed to guarantee full access to education, health, employment and social security, additionally she also presented a group of planned projects to confront HIV/AIDS, and in this sense confirmed that the nationalist movement has their doors open to the LGBT community.

This is extremely important since - due to the fact that such a compromise has been adopted by the UPP - there is new hope for the LGBT community that in an eventual Ollanta Humala government our rights will be respected and we will have a government that will begin a path of authentic change that will help to overcome the multiple exclusions and seocial inequalities. But not only does an Ollanta Humala government open an opportunity to broaden our rights, but also to put an end to the injustice and corruption represented today by Mr. Alan Garcia, who represents the conservative and retrograde forces.

Another important aspect is that the compromise expressed by the UPP generate a number of expectations in response to which all social and popular organizations must have an active role of vigilance, in a way that we can guarentee that an Ollanta Humala government will be a government of the people which will not defraud the poor and those who are discriminated in Peru, finally we can only ad that with a few hours before elections we are cetrain that hope will conquer fear.
Humala's rival in the run-off election is former Peruvian President Alan Garcia, a pro-business elitist who left the country in economic shambles during his first presidential term and now is seen by the Peruvian economic power-base (as well as international economic powers) as their only alternative to the left-wing nationalist Humala. Accordingly, the race has turned ugly with Garcia claiming that a Humala presidency will be akin to turning the country over to Venezuela's left-wing President Hugo Chavez and others playing up the fear of a man with an indigenous ethnic identity being a threat to other ethnic communities. He has also been painted as politically naive and dangerously authocratic.

From afar, though, he seems to be smarter politically than given credit, able to distance himself from the more radical members of his family and less prone to Chavez's well-known and self-serving histrionics (though some argue that there are striking similarities).

Garcia was projected a winner in the polls leading to today's vote by a margin of 5 to 10 percentage points but his popularity stems from a campaign that has played to fears of "the other." Then again, analysts also say that the type of popular vote that Humala might elicit has been difficult to measure in polls and that he might end up surprising everyone.

Should Humala eek out a victory, let's hope that Raiz Diversidad Sexual is right (there are some past indications that they might just well be).

For the latest on the peruvian elections:

UPDATE: Alan Garcia wins Peruvian presidential elections (June 4, 2006)

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