Thursday, November 10, 2005

The shining path back to Peru detours through a Chilean jail

Mutantfrog is one of several who are writing about former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's recent arrest in Chile and the Peruvian government's attempt to extradite him to stand trial for a number of alleged crimes. It also seems that the Peru-born Fujimori, who is now a Japanese citizen, had returned to South America in order to make a triumphant return to Lima, with plans to get re-elected in 2006.

A Peruvian supporter of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori holds a picture of him during a protest in front of the Chilean embassy in Lima November 10, 2005.

Mutantfrog had this to say:
Make no mistake, though: Fujimori is not a demon in his home country. Peru is sharply divided over him. His supporters see him as a hero for liberalizing Peru’s economy and shutting down terrorist groups that made life difficult in the eighties. His opponents, including President Toledo, see him as a tyrant who stole from the people, handing back just enough to keep his popularity up.

This got me to thinking: is Alberto Fujimori the Park Chunghee of Peru?

What do los Presidentes Park and "El Chinito" (as Fujimori was affectionately, if inaccurately, once called) have in common?

Both helped revitalize extremely troubled economies.
Both dealt harshly with a military threat.
Both used extralegal means to stay in power.
Both are supposedly directly responsible for the disappearance of opponents.

Both have ruled a country that is now sharply divided over their legacy.
Both have been Japanese citizens at one time.

One other thing to ponder. Oranckay mentions the apparent enthusiasm that convicted Korean-American spy Robert Kim received upon arriving in his "fatherland" recently, something which Korea critics cite as a sign that Korean nationalism will be the undoing of ROK-US relations (why don't people say this when Israeli spies are convicted for spying activities against the US?). As I asked at Coming Anarchy, does anyone else see a parallel between the welcoming of Robert Kim in Korea and the welcoming of Alberto Fujimori in Japan a few years ago?


  1. I see no comparison. Fujumori kept a very low profile from Japan, and there seemed to be little popular interest in him or his situation. This stands in sharp contrast to the hordes of Park sympathisers. Fujimore was only welcomed by the government.

    Watch for another post some time tomorrow on Fujimori.

  2. Big differences between Park and Fujimori.

    Park industrialized the country and laid the foundation for Korea's advanced economy.

    Fujimori liberalized the economy, but was not a transforming figures as Park.

    At the personal level, Park did not enrich himself as the later generals did or as Fujimori did.

  3. I wasn't so much saying they were the same type of people; obviously there are major differences. The thing that made me think of this in the first place was your comment that "Peru is sharply divided over him." Both Park and Fujimori arguably turned the economy around, but left a flawed legacy in other areas.

    Fujimori keeping a very low profile in Japan isn't that relevant to my point; the legacy I'm wondering about is in Peru.

    Anyway, don't anybody get some idea that I'm making some point. Like I mentioned at ComingAnarchy about a related topic, it was more like a Linda Richman “Coffee Talk” moment: Is there a parallel between former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori and the the dichotomized view Koreans have toward former President Park Chunghee? Discuss.

  4. I also thought that both of them being Japanese citizens was sort of a fun fact.

  5. Well, your fiendish trick worked Kushibo, you got me to comment.
    Anyway, the long Fujimori post I promised is up on my blog.


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