Peruvian presidential candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (a.k.a. PPK) was in Tarapoto yesterday, March 29, 2011. I moseyed on down to the Plaza Suchiche, one of the stops on his tour through town, to check out the impressively experienced politician.
PPK and a Poor Turn Out in Suchiche Square
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has an impressive resume. Highlights include a degree in politics from Oxford University, a Master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton, regional economist for the World Bank, deputy director of the Peruvian Central Bank and Peru’s minister of economy and finance (see Wikipedia for more info). He also has dual nationality, U.S. and Peruvian.
So, how is he faring in the murky race to win Peru’s top job? Well, he’s doing okay, but the turn out in Tarapoto would suggest a distinct lack of local interest. According to Diario Voces, PPK got off to a bad start at Tarapoto’s airport. The reception committee consisted almost entirely of students from the Universidad César Vallejo, rather than gushingly grateful local supporters.
His “caravan” of honking trucks and mototaxis did a few rounds around town, passing through La Banda before stopping at the pretty little Plaza Suchiche. The square was far from busy, despite the customary free T-shirts and flimsy paper hats (according to the PPK website, however, “The sunny city of Tarapoto received Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the presidential candidate of the Alianza Por el Gran Cambio, with great fanfare and a large caravan of welcome”).
Anyway, I took up position near the front of the little stage, expecting to hear more of the same old meaningless nonsense that politicians feed to the public. What I heard was… well, exactly what I expected.
Peruvian Presidential Candidates and the Grand Plan
PPK fired off some cheap shots aimed at his “corrupt” rivals before rambling on about why he is going to win – minus any substantial details about how or why that should actually come about. He also seemed intent on emphasising his credentials as a charapa, a term used to refer to Peruvians from the jungle. Slightly strange considering he’s half American and was born in Lima…
During the 10 to 15 minute speech, PPK covered topics such as the drinking water supply, social benefits, economic development and saving the Amazon, all of which were completely devoid of any substance or anything that resembled a plan. Of course, everyone in Peru knows that he is the only man who can achieve all these lofty goals (according to PPK himself, anyway).
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and the PPKuys
All fairly standard stuff. He received a few decent cheers from the crowd, many of which were instigated by the travelling PPKuys – PPK’s loyal band of kids dressed up in cuy (guinea pig) costumes. After the Suchiche stop, the “caravan” moved off to Lamas. The local mototaxi drivers were all very happy, and apparently not just because PPK had mentioned them frequently in his speech. I was watching local TV today and one of the news analysts in the tiny, slightly wobbly studio said (if I understood correctly, which I think I did) that PPK’s people had paid each of the mototaxi drivers 30 soles to join the tour. Ah, the joys of politics…
Any Thoughts on the Peruvian Presidential Race?
I’m still not too sure where my allegiances lie, not that I can actually vote. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s appearance in Tarapoto failed to inspire, although I did discover that the little shop on the square sells fantastic chicha morada. Any thoughts on the Peruvian presidential race? I’d be interested to hear any opinions about the candidates or Peruvian politics in general. Oh, and if you want to see more of PPK, you can watch PPK in Tarapoto, Peru – Part 2 on my YouTube page.