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Monday, May 26

Fujimori visits the Patriach

Washington Post When a Great Novelist Turned His Pen on Tyranny : "As is also true of Garcia Marquez's other masterpieces, the novel weaves back and forth in time. 'The past is not dead, it's not even past,' is how Faulkner put it, a notion as essential to Garcia Marquez's work as to his own. The individual memory of the dictator and the collective memory of the nation are pinned down to no specific moment but exist in eternity. Indeed it can be argued that the dictator is the embodiment of time and timelessness: 'the only thing that gave us security on earth was the certainty that he was there, invulnerable to plague and hurricane . . . invulnerable to time, dedicated to the messianic happiness of thinking for us, knowing that we knew that he would not take any decision for us that did not have our measure, for he had not survived everything because of his inconceivable courage or his infinite prudence but because he was the only one among us who knew the real size of our destiny.'"

Jonathan Yardley wrote an interesting appreication of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel, The Autumn of the Patriach. I couldn't help but think of Alberto Fujimori's 10 years in power. Although he gained power through legal means, he quickly learned how to take liberties. Until the end of his regime, most Peruvians were willing to accept his strong-arm methods -- even when they became more repugnant. After Garcia's economic debacle and Sendero's lunge for power, most Peruvians want to regain some semblance of stability. Fujimori and Montesinos had very clear ground rules. When you accept the rules, you were able to concentrate on other factors in the complex formula of survival, whether you were a businessman or a shantytown resident.

Fujimori never displayed the venal vices of Garcia Marquez's tyrant, but he had his alter ego in Montesinos. Peruvian society is "softer" than Colombia so its dark side did not have to corrupt it as violently -- some would say that it was always corrupt.

The most telling remark above is Faulkner's -- the past lives on, taking on new forms. That's why it's so important to answer the question of another novelist, Mario Vargas Llosa in Conversation in the Cathedral: Cuando se jodió el Peru?.

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