September 14, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Peru: Politics: Myrtle Beach Sun News: As far as most Peruvians are concerned, President Toledo is lost cause

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Peru: Friend of the Peace Corps: Alejandro Toledo : Special Report: President Alejandro Toledo: September 14, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Peru: Politics: Myrtle Beach Sun News: As far as most Peruvians are concerned, President Toledo is lost cause

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Friday, October 07, 2005 - 12:28 pm: Edit Post

As far as most Peruvians are concerned, President Toledo is lost cause

As far as most Peruvians are concerned, President Toledo is lost cause

In polls, they say that Toledo, with an inspiring rags-to-riches story and degrees from Stanford University, has failed to fulfill his promises. And despite some glowing economic trends, Peruvians say they've grown poorer. President Alejandro Toledo of Peru was a language instructor for the Peace Corps in the 1960's.

As far as most Peruvians are concerned, President Toledo is lost cause

As far as most Peruvians are concerned, President Toledo is lost cause


Knight Ridder Newspapers

LIMA, Peru - (KRT) - Four years ago, newly elected Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo inherited a country battered by years of war and corruption, and he promised to save it.

He would stop the stealing of public funds, which had marred the administration of his predecessor, Alberto Fujimori, he said. He would create jobs for millions and ease poverty. As the nation's first president of indigenous descent, he would bring dignity to long-oppressed communities.

"There is no place for disillusion and doubt, no place for lost hope as we enter the 21st century," he said in his inaugural address.

Now, with his term ending and the race to replace him gearing up - elections will be held in April - millions of Peruvians see his administration indeed as one of lost hope.

In polls, they say that Toledo, with an inspiring rags-to-riches story and degrees from Stanford University, has failed to fulfill his promises. And despite some glowing economic trends, Peruvians say they've grown poorer.

"What we hear in poll after poll is he's a person who lies and doesn't do what he says," said Luis Benavente Gianella, director of the University of Lima's public opinion department. "He's a frivolous man. He's erratic. He fell right after his election and didn't have much time to enjoy his victory."

In fact, the president, 59, holds a dubious distinction: Polls show he's the most unpopular head of state in the Western Hemisphere, with an approval rating in some polls as low as 8 percent.

Even Toledo's supporters are combing the ruins of his administration and wondering publicly what went wrong. Toledo isn't expected to seek re-election.

"Our biggest failure was one of communication," said Hugo Garavito, the national chairman of Toledo's Peru Posible party. "We didn't tell the story of our accomplishments. The economy is growing, and the country is moving forward, but the press didn't like anything.

"This president didn't deserve the intensity of this rejection."

Peruvians have turned on Toledo even though the country's economy grew steadily during his term. Its gross domestic product expanded by about 4 percent a year, while inflation hovered around 2 percent.

On the political front, Peruvians have experienced relative peace even as social unrest brought down governments in neighboring Bolivia and Ecuador.

But ask people on the streets of Peru's capital about their president and the negative answers come quickly.

"People have no confidence in Toledo," said Rosa Chava, a photo shop clerk. "He makes strange decisions, and we never know what he will do from one day to the next."

One persistent issue has been poverty. Despite overall economic growth, the percentage of Peruvians earning below the poverty wage has changed little since 2001, stuck at about 50 percent.

The country's official unemployment rate has also barely moved since 2001, when it was 9 percent. Even 40 percent of those holding jobs in Lima aren't earning enough to meet basic needs, according to the country's National Statistics Institute.

"The economic growth hasn't benefited people," said Congressman Javier Diez Canseco, who helps lead a coalition of leftist parties. "There's more wealth, but it's in a few hands."

Polls show many Peruvians feel their personal economics have worsened.

Among residents of the greater Lima metropolitan area surveyed by Benavente's group in mid-August, about 37 percent said their household finances were worse than they were a year ago, while 19 percent said they were better and 44 percent said they hadn't changed.

Much of Toledo's fall in popularity also has to do with the man himself and what many said was his aloof manner and unsavory personal life.

During his 2001 presidential run, Toledo had been dogged by rumors that he had a daughter from an extramarital relationship, an accusation that Toledo denied.

Only in late 2002, after months of press coverage and public debate, did Toledo publicly recognize his teenage daughter Zarai. But the damage had been done.

"That set the tone for the rest of his presidency," said Mario Munive, a political editor at the Peruvian daily La Republica. "The daughter looks just like Toledo, yet he wouldn't take DNA tests and recognized her only after a fierce campaign."

Corruption charges against Toledo's family members tarnished his image as a reformer. The president also was criticized for raising his salary to $18,000 a month after taking office, a figure he later lowered to $12,000 because of public outcry.

Then came the political miscalculations that alienated enemies and allies alike.

The latest emptied out his Cabinet in August after he appointed much-disliked politician Fernando Olivera to be foreign minister, a move that prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero and other ministers.

Olivera later renounced his post but not without some bitterness toward Toledo.

"That was a crisis that didn't need to happen," Benavente said. "That was a problem that started with Toledo."

Garavito admitted Toledo had made "political errors" but said they didn't surpass the mistakes of other politicians. Such arguments, however, don't convince Peruvians.

Recent polls show Toledo's party far behind in next year's race by a range of other parties, including that of Fujimori, who has threatened to return from his Japanese exile and run again.

"This government is finished," said driver Carlos Huapaya. "They had their chance. It's time for someone else to give it a try."


© 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

When this story was posted in September 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina Date: September 4 2005 No: 725 Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina
First and foremost, Give. Carol Bellamy says "In situations such as this one, money is needed the most" and added that Hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orleans is comparable to last year's tsunami. Thailand RPCV Thomas Tighe's Direct Relief International has committed an initial $250,000 in cash to assist hurricane victims. Mayor Tom Murphy (RPCV Paraguay) says Pittsburgh is ready to embrace refugees from devastated areas. Mark Shriver of Save the Children says it will assist rural communities it serves in rebuilding. Brazil RPCV Robert Backus is among the first Vermont doctors to volunteer to travel to Louisiana to treat victims. Ohio Governor Bob Taft (RPCV Tanzania) says students displaced by "Katrina" can enroll in Ohio Colleges and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (RPCV Tunisia) is sending soldiers to help residents of Louisiana. Do you know what it means to lose New Orleans? Contact your local Red Cross to Volunteer.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

Military Option sparks concerns Date: August 23 2005 No: 714 Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military, struggling to fill its voluntary ranks, is allowing recruits to meet part of their reserve military obligations after active duty by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" and RPCV Chris Matthews leads the debate on "Hardball." Latest: Avi Spiegel says Peace Corps is not the place for soldiers while Coleman McCarthy says to Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps. RPCVs: Read our poll results.

Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger Date: August 25 2005 No: 717 Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger
When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger.

Upcoming Events: Peace Corps Fund in NYC Date: August 20 2005 No: 710 Upcoming Events: Peace Corps Fund in NYC
Peace Corps Fund announces Sept 29 Fund Raiser in NYC
High Atlas Foundation Hosts a Reception in NYC on Sept 15
Jody Olsen to address Maryland RPCVs at Sept 17 picnic
"Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" in NY thru Sept 30
See RPCV Musical "Doing Good" in CA through Sept
"Iowa in Ghana" at "The Octogan" in Ames through October 7
RPCV Film Festival in DC in October
RPCV's exhibit at Museum of Man in San Diego thru May 2006

Top Stories: August 20, 2005 Date: August 20 2005 No: 711 Top Stories: August 20, 2005
Jack Crandall writes "Memories relished by WWII Generation"
Cris Groenendaal plays Phantom of Opera on Broadway 19 Aug
Peace Corps Director Travels to Madagascar 19 Aug
RPCV presents "Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" 19 Aug
Robert Brown to head Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA 19 Aug
Peter McPherson to head national university association 19 Aug
Len Flier says US has lose-lose scenario in Iraq 18 Aug
Ruth DeMaio sends aid to Niger 18 Aug
Bob Taft pleads no contest to ethics law violation 18 Aug
Antoinette Allen is Field Hockey coach at Hun School 16 Aug
Tony Hall Avoids Mugabe on Zimbabwe trip 14 Aug
Peace Corps Receives 2005 Medgar Evers Award 10 Aug
Jeff Wray is filming "The Soul Searchers" 10 Aug
40th anniversary of Shriver's Foster Grandparent Program 9 Aug
Tom Petri writes "It's not just about highways" 9 Aug
Terry Dougherty brings students from Afghanistan to US 8 Aug
Chris Newhall is leading volcano scientist 5 Aug
Douglas Biklen appointed dean at Syracuse University 5 Aug
Greg Kovalchuk and Mike Kelly Find Rare Fossil 4 Aug
Edward O'Toole salvages furniture for schools in Honduras 3 Aug
Gary Mount is Apple Grower Of The Year 1 Aug

The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Peru; Politics


Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.