Peru: Fujimori cries electoral fraud – and unleashes torrent of racism
Claims of rightwing candidate, trailing Pedro Castillo in the polls, emboldens far right, who have vowed not to accept result
The prospect of the son of illiterate Andean peasants becoming president as his rival cries fraud has shaken Peru’s entrenched class system and its fragile democracy, letting loose a torrent of racism in the bicentennial year of the country’s independence.
“The tension has reached a breaking point,” said José Ragas “The Lima elite is not just trying to keep power, they are trying to cancel the rural vote.”
In one ugly but not unusual case, the news site Sudaca published text messages between middle-class white men in Lima who discussed how people from the highlands should “die of hunger” and called for the return of Alberto Fujimori’s alleged forced sterilisations which mostly targeted indigenous women.
Other memes characterised Castillo as a donkey or said Andeans were too ignorant to be allowed to vote.
As officials at Peru’s electoral board work overtime to reinspect the disputed ballots, social media and partisan news broadcasters have helped spread fake news stirring up the spectre of totalitarian rule, violence and even mass expropriations if Castillo is declared the winner amid rumblings of coup plots among the far-right.
Apparently inspired by Donald Trump’s refusal to accept defeat at the US elections, Fujimori has led a string of marches against “fraud” telling supporters at one rally: “The election will be flipped, dear friends.”
Peru’s interim president Francisco Sagasti slammed as “unacceptable” a letter signed by nearly a hundred retired military officers urging the armed forces not to recognise Castillo.