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Corruption as Power

Criminal Governance in Peru during the Fujimori Era (1990-2000)

Alfredo Schulte-Bockholt

This book deals with the political corruption which infested Peru during the Fujimori years (1990-2000). The work is not about petty corruption, the small bribe paid to the underpaid police officer to avoid being booked for a minor traffic violation, but addresses the corruption of the powerful. Elites rely on corruption, and particularly in repressive regimes the practice is the most important tool of ‘criminal governance’. The author utilizes the concept of the protection racket developed by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno from the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory to explain the links between political, economic, and societal elites in Fujimori’s Peru such as the military, political parties, multinational corporations, or conservative groups within the Catholic Church.


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Chapter 1: Foreword on Peru - 1


Chapter 1 Foreword on Peru I don’t trust him. We’re friends. (Bertolt Brecht) 1. Introduction This book is about political corruption, its functions and conse- quences. It is not about petty corruption, the small bribe handed to the underpaid police officer to avoid being booked for a minor traffic violation, or the payoff that goes to a public functionary for being al- lowed to jump the queue. It is about the corruption of the powerful or grand corruption. The work is inspired by investigations on Peru dur- ing the presidency of Alberto Kenji Fujimori (1990–2000). Research began in 2003 with the original goal to explore the political corruption of the Fujimori regime. However, the project evolved into an inquiry of the criminal activities of a dictatorship posing as a democracy in which corruption played a key function. This work focuses on two important dimensions of corruption which are rarely treated in the existing literature on the phenomenon: First, corruption is a phenomenon which is likely present in some form in every society on the planet. However, in a dictatorship, such as Alberto Fujimori’s Peru, the practice acquires an additional signi- ficance as it constitutes the cardinal facilitating mechanism or the pri- mary tool of domination to control society. Corruption is an enabling tool which allows for the employment of various other instruments of control. Indeed, corruption in a non-representational political system, 2 irrespective of whether it is an absolutist monarchy, a totalitarian dic- tatorship, or a military regime, is...

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