LIMA – The extreme right has gained visibility in Peruvian politics and seeks to open a space in the legislative elections on 26 January, after the dissolution of congress by president Martin Vizcarra.
Historically there have been no legal groups that occupy this political spectrum in Peru, beyond the Revolutionary Union of the 1930s, but in recent months ultra-conservative speech has been accentuated.
This has focused on a pro-family message, opposing almost all the demands of feminism, gender equality and abortion.
In the fragmented landscape of Peruvian politics, in which 20 parties and groups participate in legislative elections, conservatism is mainly represented by the National Solidarity Party (PSN), founded by former Lima mayor Luis Castañeda.
With Fujimorismo on a low profile, aware that the political capital will grant them several seats in the new congress without much effort, it has been the PSN which has achieved notoriety with political extremism.
Castaneda’s party has been investigated over alleged corruption in the case of Lava Jato.
Its new leader, businessman and Opus Dei member Rafael Lopez Aliaga, has declaredd himself a “pragmatic” politician who is against abortion, the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage.
Lopez Aliaga, who is not a candidate in the polls, announced on 12 January his intention to run in presidential elections in 2021.
The politician has said he wants to be “the Peruvian Bolsonaro.”
Representatives of this political position have described their opponents as terrorists and communists, branded Vizcarra a dictator and claimed there is a link with the regime of Nicolas Maduro, although the Peruvian ruler is one of the main opponents of Venezuelan policies.
PSN has been bolstered by a sentiment that began in 2016 and took the most radical representatives of the Fujimori in parliament dissolved on 30 September by Vizcarra.
Some of them now occupy top positions in PSN, such as Rosa Bartra, who said in Spanish on Twitter on Sunday that Peruvians have “the great opportunity to choose to recover democracy, defend life, the family, our security, education of our children of this perverse ideology that is intended to be imposed to destroy their innocence.”
“I have been aggrieved in all ways. In this campaign much more. I am aggrieved every day, but if I am going to be aggrieved for defending the family, for defending the children and my homeland, the harder I am going to get,” she added.
In keeping with these approaches, the former Fujimorista congresswoman and PSN candidate, Nelly Cuadros, organized a meeting this month titled “United for the family and for your children against gender ideology.”
The issue has begun to have such significance in the country that in recent weeks numerous intellectuals, analysts and journalists have dedicated opinion columns that attempt to explain their emergence in national politics.
Historian Carmen McEvoy said it is an “ultra-right completely emptied of ideas and projects.”
PSN has been fined around $104,000 by Peru’s National Jury of Elections for releasing a campaign video showing politicians including Vizcarra with terrorists such as Abimael Guzman, leader of the Shining Path.
It also ordered the party to issue a public apology to left-wing candidate Julio Arbizu after he suffered a discriminatory attack.
The campaign also involves the centre-right Contigo party, which brings together politicians who came to Congress in 2016 after the election of Vizcarra’s predecessor economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Its visible leader is Salvador Heresi, former minister of justice for Vizcarra, who has expressed admiration for the Spanish far-right Vox party.
But radical discourse has not only come from the right, but also populist and nationalist groups such as the Union for Peru, which was also sanctioned over a video in which it called for corrupt officials to be shot.