January 11, 2006
The national elections board in Peru rejected the bid by Alberto Fujimori to run for president this year. Martha Chavez, one of Fujimori's closest political allies during the 1990s, is leading the effort on behalf of [the controversial former president, who was recently arrested in Chile, and who had lived in exile in Japan since he resigned in October 2000.] See Washington Post. In the unlikely event that Fujimori is allowed to run, it might take votes away from front-runner Lourdes [Flores Nano of the conservative Popular Christian Party], which would increase the likelihood that the populist Ollanta Humala might win. He is a populist former Army officer of Indian descent who led a mutiny last year, and whose brother led a coup attempt a few years ago.
Violence in Mexico is spilling across the border, as U.S. border patrol agents based in Brownsville, Texas came under fire twice in the past week. The lower Rio Grande valley happens to be premier bird-watching territory, where many tropical species abound. Could this rash of narcoterrorism escalate to the point where the U.S. government is forced to consider unilateral action, as when General Pershing led an expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916? No responsible policy maker in Washington would even dare acknowledge such a possibility, which is admittedly low, but the security situation is likely to deteriorate until the two countries engage in a frank dialogue aimed at addressing problems of mutual interest. See CNN.com.
Still no word on when the elections will be held. Yesterday a general strike was held to protest violence perpetrated by warlords and their gangs who are jockeying for position. A Brazilian officer in command of peacekeeping forces recently committed suicide, which does not bode well for pacification. See cnn.com.
The Latin America Current overview page has been updated.