Peru leads the way against Colonel Gaddafi

25 Feb

Peru's President Alan Garcia

It looks like Peru’s President Alan García could teach the UN Security Council a thing or two. After a week of increasing bloodshed in Libya, as Colonel Gaddafi lives up to his promise of fighting demonstrators down to the last bullet, President García cut diplomatic ties with the country, while the UN Security Council still stands dumb. His was the first nation to do so.

García condemned Gaddafi’s violent tactics of ordering army units and trained militia to attack anti-government protesters and mourners. Earlier this week he said: “Peru expresses its most energetic protest at the repression carried out by the Libyan dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi against his people, who are demanding democratic reforms to change a government led by the same person for 40 years.”

García asked the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, to prevent the use of fighter jets against the civilian population. But the council itself seems to be rather inactive, failing to produce a legally binding resolution and ending crisis talks today with only a press statement to show for it.

García’s statement is a bold one coming from a country that is itself no stranger to human rights abuses. Former president, Alberto Fujimori, who governed until 2000, is currently serving 25 years for his connection to the army death squad, Grupo Colina, who carried out kidnappings and killings during his rule. Does García’s anti-Gaddafi statement signal a brave new Peru, determined to distance itself from such recent authoritarian rule?

Allies in Socialism: Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro

The Peruvian foreign minister, Jose Antonio García Belaunde, has said he hopes other Latin American countries will follow Peru’s example, but it’s unlikely Cuba or Venezuela will count themselves in that group. Gaddafi’s traditional allies, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, and the seemingly immortal Fidel Castro, have labeled those who denounce Gaddafi’s action as ‘imperialist states’. Castro has accused the United States of using Libyan unrest as an excuse to invade. Earlier this week, the Venezuelan foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, said he hoped the Libyan people would find “a way of solving their problems peacefully without the interference of imperialist states whose interests in the region had been affected”.

It doesn’t look like Peru will find Pan-American support for a dismissal of Gaddafi any time soon.

Image 1: Geopolicraticus

Image 2: Shot from the hip

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