Alan Garcia decries 'coup'

11 November 2018

Alan Garcia has grown accustomed to tweeting his way into Peruvian politics from the relative safety of Madrid. But his latest claim that Peru is suffering a coup d’etat at the hands of President Vizcarra has rebounded against him at a moment when his role in the Odebrecht corruption affair is coming under growing scrutiny.

The idea that Vizcarra is engineering a coup against the constitutional order has been widely ridiculed in the Peruvian media. At no point in his ongoing fight with the Fujimoristas and Apristas in Congress has he or any member of the government violated the constitution.

García’s claim would seem to be an attempt to fight back against the suggestion that he might be involved as a recipient of Odebrecht cash during his second term (2006-11), under the idea that the best form of defence is attack.

Much will depend on the new information that the prosecutor, José Domingo Pérez, has gleaned from his Brazilian sources as to whether the suspicion holds water or not. This may become clearer over the next few weeks. García has been summoned to give evidence to Pérez on 15 November.

Meanwhile, Congress (in which the Fujimoristas and Apristas have a majority of seats) last week refused to debate a minority report (written by the Frente Amplio’s Humberto Morales) that recommended that García and Keiko Fujimori should not be excluded from its considerations. Complaints on this score were rebutted by loyal Aprista members of Congress. 

The congressional Lava Jato report, excluding any mention of Fujimori or García, was approved in the plenary on 9 November.

So far, García has stuck to the claim that bribes offered by Odebrecht to secure the contract to build the Lima metro and other projects were paid only to subsidiary figures, including jailed Jorge Cuba the minister responsible for transport infrastructure.

What is García’s game plan? In the short term, to avoid charges being levelled against him. Over the years he has become an expert in dodging such accusations. In the longer term, he appears not to have ruled out standing once again for the presidency in 2021, notwithstanding his poor performance in the 2016 elections. Although in present circumstances this seems to be a fanciful objective, few people ever thought that García would win a second term in office in 2006.

For a discussion of García’s objectives, it is worth listening to the discussion between Mirko Lauer, Augusto Alvarez and Fernando Rospigliosi.

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