When Peruvian voters headed to the polls last year, the presidential election looked like a proxy contest for two radical views of the South American country's future. Ollanta Humala, who emerged victorious, had left advocates of free-market economic policies feeling nervous due to his past support for the policies of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Humala had previously run for president as an anti-business socialist in 2006, and before that, he had attempted a military coup in 2000. Many voters worried he would take the country in a radical, populist, anti-market direction.
More than a year later, Humala’s presidency could not have turned out more differently from what his foes feared and his supporters expected. But the president is still searching for his political identity.
The radical left is so disappointed in Humala’s performance that the Maoists of the Shining Path movement are trying to rebuild their political strength on the basis of the president’s unpopularity.