Peru election highlights decline of Latin America's hard-core left
The rebranding of left-leaning populist Ollanta Humala ahead of today's Peru election shows the wide spectrum of leftism in today's Latin America and how the most radical fold has started to wane.
Five years later, the choices once again could not be starker for Peruvians as they choose between left-leaning populist Humala and right-wing lawmaker Keiko Fujimori in today's presidential run-off.
But while the 2011 race is an extremely polarized one, it is not an ideological battle. In fact, Humala, once a fiery leftist promising to guard against any kind of "neoliberal" agenda, has refashioned himself as a moderate leftist, appealing to a Peru that has seen tremendous economic growth over the past decade. His rebranding shows the wide spectrum of leftism in today's Latin America and how the most radical fold has started to wane.
"Five years ago, [Humala] was a follower of Mr. Hugo Chávez. Now he sees that Chávez is a failure," says Augusto Alvarez Rodrich, a columnist for La Republica in Peru. Instead, he is looking to perhaps the most successful leftist in the region – former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. "He says he wants to follow the path that Mr. Lula forged."
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