In the second round of the Peruvian presidential election on Sunday 6 June, the left-wing (but socially conservative) outsider Pedro Castillo was standing against the right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, currently serving a 25-year sentence for kidnapping and murder. The results from cities came in first. Fujimori appeared to be slightly ahead. In Lima she won 64 per cent of the vote. But at the end of Monday morning Castillo had overtaken her, and his advantage was further confirmed as votes from rural and Amazonian regions were tallied. Before the official count had ended, Fujimori accused her opponent of fraud, and, with the help of several law firms, called for 200,000 votes to be declared null and a further 300,000 to be scrutinised.
On Wednesday 17 April, early in the morning, the police came to former president Alan García’s house in Lima to arrest him in connection with the multibillion-dollar corruption case surrounding the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht. García told the officers he would call his lawyer, locked himself in a room and shot himself in the head. He died a few hours later in hospital.
Last week I carried a very small white coffin down the street in Ayacucho, Peru, birthplace of the Maoist guerrilla group Sendero Luminoso. It contained the remains of Alejandro Aguilar Yapo, killed along with an estimated 105 others in a day-long massacre in 1984. Aguilar’s bones had been arranged in the coffin that morning by employees of the public prosecutor’s office in Ayacucho, who unpacked them, along with the bones of three other victims exhumed last year from a mass grave, from the Motta panettone boxes in which they had been stored after seven months of forensic analysis. After a service in the cathedral, the victims’ families prepared to take their remains on the lengthy bus ride back home to Sicuani, 740 km away.