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Cablegate: Ngo Reps Skeptical of Gop Commitment to Reform

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C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 003659

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/19/2017
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL EAID PE
SUBJECT: NGO REPS SKEPTICAL OF GOP COMMITMENT TO REFORM


Classified By: Ambassador P. Michael McKinley, for Reasons 1.4 (c...

id: 130701
date: 11/19/2007 16:41
refid: 07LIMA3659
origin: Embassy Lima
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination:
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C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 003659

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/19/2017
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL EAID PE
SUBJECT: NGO REPS SKEPTICAL OF GOP COMMITMENT TO REFORM


Classified By: Ambassador P. Michael McKinley, for Reasons 1.4 (c,d)

1. (C) Summary: In a recent meeting with the Ambassador,
representatives of Peru's top pro-democracy NGOs pointed to
corruption as the fundamental challenge facing public
institutions and raised doubts about the ruling APRA party's
commitment to reform. The NGO reps were sanguine about the
likely political and public impact of former President
Fujimori's imminent trial (ref), as long as the ruling APRA
party stays out of the judicial process. The NGO reps were
skeptical that the government's reform plans will produce
needed changes. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Ambassador McKinley on November 5 met with
representatives from the top rung of Peruvian human rights
and pro-democracy NGOs: Cecilia Blondet, executive director
of Proetica; Pablo Rojas, national coordinator for human
rights; Hans Landolt, executive director of the Institute of
Legal Defense (IDL); and Rodolfo Alban, area human rights
coordinator for the Andean Commission of Jurists (CAJ).

3. (C) Blondet began by noting that corruption remains a
grave problem in Peru and continues to undermine public
confidence in institutions. Blondet observed that polls show
almost 90 percent of Peruvians believe that the police force
is corrupt, and similarly high levels of mistrust exist for
other public institutions. She said most Peruvians expect
little will change on this score during Garcia's remaining
four years in office. Her colleagues agreed, emphasizing
that corruption is the central obstacle to Peru's reaching
the next level of development.

4. (C) IDL's Hans Landolt suggested that even if reforming
government were a more manageable challenge, APRA would be
ill-equipped to take it on. He explained that the APRA
party's composition as a coalition of political operatives
limited its interest in genuine reform and undermined its
ability to articulate a positive vision of government. For
example, he claimed that the Garcia government -- APRA at its
core -- had shelved a decent plan developed by former
President Alejandro Toledo to strengthen human rights
protections in Peru, not because it was a bad idea but
because it came from a political rival. That kind of
short-sighted opportunism, Landolt said, is illustrative of a
government that sways with public opinion and lacks the
ideological ballast necessary to lead reform.

5. (C) Rojas, the head of a coalition of Peru's human rights
NGOs, said he doubted Fujimori's trial would produce social
unrest, noting that the Fujimoristas are internally divided
and no longer as popular as they were before. The
prosecutors handling the case, moreover, are talented and
honest and can rely on a "mountain" of evidence that
virtually seals the process from the prospect of easy
political manipulation. That said, Rojas worried that the
ruling party may seek to intervene: some APRA leaders,
including Garcia, face accusations of human rights abuses and
could use APRA's influence over the judiciary in order to
shape the outcome of the trial and limit its impact on
future, substantively related human rights cases. Such
political tampering in the process could produce widespread
and potentially destabilizing protests, he said. Rojas hoped
the international community would play an active role in
monitoring the trial to ensure the judicial process is
perceived by Peruvians as fair and transparent.

6. (C) In response, the Ambassador noted that despite its
slim electoral victory the government has articulated and
begun implementing plans to improve public services,
including administrative decentralization. However, the
scope of the government's challenge is enormous and the
objective cannot be accomplished overnight. Acknowledging
the Ambassador's point, Landolt and others insisted that the
government's reform efforts thus far are skin deep and
unlikely to make a difference in solving the country's
entrenched social problems.

7. (C) Comment: In that sense, like the government's other
critics, the pro-democracy NGO representatives remain
skeptical that President Garcia is the kind of leader who
will transform Peru into a robust and thriving democracy
whose economic development does well by a clear majority of
its people. End Comment
MCKINLEY

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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