Overtime, Peru’s political history has had several dark patches that have crippled the nation in progress, innovation, stability and security. Even Peruvians show no signs of disappointment or surprise at the news of numerous scandals and its extremities.
In 2000, Former President Alberto Fujimori was sentenced for 25 years in prison for human rights violations. In 2018, Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was placed under house arrest for his role in the famous Odebrecht corruption scandal. Again in 2000, Vladimiro Montesinos was seen bribing opposing members of congress to support policies of Alberto Fujimori. These are only few of the examples of misconduct among high ranking officials. Many presidents have been involved in cases concerning murder, money laundering, human rights violations and bribery.
This time it directly influences the foreseeable future for many. In November, 2020, many government officials and their family members were secretly vaccinated. However, not all were political officials. Some outsiders were also picked and vaccinated. A favored restaurant in Lima, Peru was vaccinated because the logistics team assisting the trials were tired of Burger King.
Sinopharm is one of the leading Chinese companies producing vaccines. While the details of the contract are unknown, Peruvian officials received large sums of vaccines and were able to vaccinate nearly 500 officials, family members and close friends. This was done in the last stages of clinical trials in Sinopharm.
Now impeached President, Martin Vizcarra, had claimed that he was one of the participants in trial stages. However, reports from the university offering the trials revealed that he had requested the vaccine for himself, his wife and brother.
Some of them justified their actions while others acknowledged their mistake. “It’s not about privilege; it’s about the way things function,” said professor Germán Málaga. Many of these officials were made to resign and released their own statements afterwards. “Nothing excuses what I did, much less having covered it up. I took this decision with the fears and limitations of a human being and I recognize that this was the worst mistake of my life,” said now former health minister Pilar Mazzetti.
In November, Peru underwent three presidents in one week. Former President Vizcarra was impeached following multiple moral corruption scandals. He was then succeeded by Manuel Merino. However, because of this large groups of people protested in the streets. Due to this, two protestors were killed and Merino resigned. He had been a president for only five days. Congress then compromised and then elected Francisco Sagasti. This was only a compromise as there were no other suitable candidates. He was known more for his educational background than political achievements.
People hoped that with the elections on April 11, 2021, Peru would elect a stronger President and team to mend what has happened before. However, many citizens are left hopeless and disheartened. Many are leaving their ballots unmarked despite the laws mandating a vote. “I’m planning on leaving it blank,” said Vincento Escobar who sells produce in Lima, Peru. She said she was “fed up with all the lies and robberies.”
Peru had been facing critical moments in their history over the past few decades. With trade agreements, the intervention of technology and other such industries, Peru could have been led to progress. However, the ones supposed to be leading them to prosperity are also the ones breaking their trust and opportunity for growth. At a time when healthcare is already limited, they are constrained more by the ethical and moral decay in the forefront of leadership.