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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 5: Peru’s Institutions: The Stables of Augias - 109


Chapter 5 Peru’s Institutions: The Stables of Augias An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought. (Simon Cameron) 1. Introduction When Fujimori first came to power in 1990, his party lacked a majo- rity in Congress and thus he had to compromise and find allies among other parties to get important laws approved (De Eiden, 2006). Follo- wing the autogolpe, Fujimori’s Nueva-Mayoria-Cambio 90 (NM90) party gained 71 out of 120 seats in the new Constituent Assembly elected in November 1992. Most traditional political parties had boy- cotted the election thereby handing a majority to the pro-Fujimori forces who in turn would put their imprint on the new constitution (Cockroft, 2001). In July 1993, the assembly elected the previous year presented a draft for a constitution which included stipulations that would permit the president to suspend parliament without reason, to turn down legislation, to give out an unlimited number of emergency decrees and to be able to run for immediate re-election (LAWR, July 15/93). The Peruvian politician Henry Pease from the left wing Moviemiento Democrático de Izquierda party described the spirit of the document as dictatorial, “... neoconservative and centralizing” (Ibid). The 1993 Constitution restricted the autonomy of the Congress, concentrated power and “militarize[d] the justice system for cases vaguely defined as terrorism” (Americas Update, Jan.–Feb. 1994: 4). 110 Bernales Ballesteros (1993) claimed that the new constitution allowed for the minimize[d role of] parliament and the political parties ... Everything which was done objectively...

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