In 1990, Mr. García was wrapping up his first term as president. While not running then for reelection, his APRA party produced a famous ad in the 1990 presidential runoff between Mr. Fujimori and Vargas Llosa, using Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” to warn voters against an economic disaster if Vargas Llosa won.
García’s government had already destroyed the economy – GDP shrank by 14 percent in 1989 and between 1985 and 1990 inflation was above 2 million percent – so the ad helped stoke fear of greater disaster. Fujimori, a political neophyte who emerged in the polls only weeks before the vote, won the race.
Two years later, Fujimori would close Congress and force García into exile. The government collapsed in the late 1990s and Fujimori fled to Japan in 2000, paving the way for García's return and presidential run in 2001, which he narrowly lost.
García finally made a comeback in the 2006 election, but his APRA party only won 36 seats in the 120-member Congress. An alliance was forged with a political bloc still loyal to Fujimori, who by then was wanted in Peru on charges of corruption and human rights abuses.
García also reconciled with Vargas Llosa a few years ago and eventually appointed him to head a museum project that would house exhibits on the 20 years of political violence that shook the country between 1980 and 2000. Vargas Llosa quit the committee last September, after the García government tried to force legislation that would allow crimes against humanity to expire. The legislation was later rescinded, but Vargas Llosa did not return to the committee.
García’s participation in the 2011 race has been more subtle, although several moments revealed his desire to meddle, too. Speaking to a group of businesspeople, he said that while he could not chose the next president, he could influence who would not be elected.