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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 9: Geo-economics or Human Rights? - 197


Chapter 9 Geo-economics or Human Rights? When rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will. (William Shakespeare) 1. Introduction The Fujimori regime was sustained by a number of international actors, although at times these relationships were contradictory and unstable. The most important of these were with the regional hege- monic power, namely the United States (US), as well as the Or- ganization of American States (OAS). The relations with Washington were strongly influenced by the geopolitical transformations of the early 1990s, most notably the collapse of Communism and of the Soviet Union. In this chapter I will analyse the international geopolitical setting in which the regime functioned. This section will explore how a British concept of geopolitics from the early twentieth century was transformed into the major US foreign policy approach in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Also, as previously noted the concepts of soft and hard power developed by US scholar Joseph Nye are useful when analyzing the dark side of international politics. Finally, I will demonstrate how the Fujimori regime used the post- Cold War environment to its own advantage. Since the late nineteenth century, if not earlier, the United States has considered Latin America as its backyard. Following the end of the Cold War it has been the goal of US foreign policy to preserve/re- 198 establish its hegemony whereby the domination of Latin America plays a key role. Since 1990 Washington’s relations with other global powers have...

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