1677418979 The advent of Antauro Humala to refound Peru

The advent of Antauro Humala to refound Peru

Antauro Humala’s vision blurs when he looks at the horizon. “I have the syndrome of those who have been in prison for many years. I can’t see well, I can see everything far away,” he says, squinting to concentrate better. We are in a multi-storey house in an urbanization in east Lima, full of palm trees and kidney-shaped pools. Humala has curly white hair, a prominent chest, and prominent arms visible through a short-sleeved military green t-shirt, a product of the two hours he exercises each day at dawn. Despite his vision problems, he can glimpse a near future in which he will be President of this country in chaos.

“Then drastic measures will be taken,” Antauro blurted out.

-As such?

– Shoot all the corrupt presidents that Peru had.

The sun is burning, a few drops of sweat bathe Antauro’s face.

— Does that include your brother Ollanta (President of Peru between 2011 and 2016)?

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-To all.

Antauro and Ollanta had a childhood shaped by a father with a strong personality, Isaac Humala. He promoted the Ethnocacerista movement, a group of ethnic nationalists who firmly believe that the country has been in the hands of foreign agents for decades and that power should be exercised by the descendants of the Inca Empire, the brown-skinned. Under this ideological umbrella, the brothers took up arms against President Fujimori in 2000. Antauro repeated it as a retired army major five years later. With 700 followers he seized a police station in Andahuaylas to force the overthrow of then President Alejandro Toledo. A photograph dates from this period in which he appears like a bullfighter on the shoulders of one of his followers in the midst of a crowd; He is wearing camouflage clothes, a wool hat and is doing the victory gesture. Although it wasn’t exactly a success: the attack ended in a bloodbath and he was arrested. Antauro was later convicted of rebellion, manslaughter, kidnapping and many other crimes to be enumerated.

Antauro Humala is supported by his supporters in the Plaza de Armas in Andahuaylas in 2005.Antauro Humala is supported by his supporters in the Plaza de Armas in Andahuaylas in 2005.Portal

He spent 18 years locked up in maximum security prisons with walls ten feet thick. It would have taken ages to dig a tunnel with the dessert spoon. At the Callao naval base, where he met Abimael Guzmán, leader of Sendero Luminoso, and Vladimiro Montesinos, Fujimori’s right-hand man—they were the only three prisoners in the entire complex—he slept on a cement bed and the ceiling above it was twenty feet high , where the front door used to be hidden. At that time they lowered the prisoners with a rope. “You can scream as much as you want and nobody will listen to you,” Antauro explains in this interview, which was conducted at the end of December. He was accompanied by his lawyer and a spokesman.

While in prison, his brother became president. Since then they have held two positions that seem irreconcilable. Antauro believes that his brother sold himself for money and betrayed the ethnocacerist principles. He vehemently emphasizes that they are not only brothers, but also comrades-in-arms. “Childly infidelity,” he says, tightening his hands. “It was a bit traumatic. But hey, I’ve gone from being angry and angry to taking it philosophically. It will be surpassed”.

Antauro is always accompanied at public events by a handful of followers he calls reservists. They wear camouflage clothing and communicate via walkie-talkie. They give the feeling of being a militia, a kind of army. They could have forgotten him, locked up like he was, but from prison Antauro kept the movement alive. He secretly wrote articles that his followers later printed in a newspaper that they distributed on the street. At the same time, he also preserved his private life. In prison he had a secretary who answered the phone for him – ‘Let’s see, wait a minute; I’ll see if Antauro is found. He tells me it’s better after 5″, the secretary was heard saying in a report – and in 2017 he married the sister of a well-known rocker, Julio Andrade.

“I have never regretted what I did. I’m very proud,” he says with a smile on this clear morning, when the soldier seems in a good mood. Peru’s institutional disintegration has put his name on the table. He plans to create two political parties that can contest the elections and allow him to run for president, an opportunity scheduled for April 2024. Many Peruvians might be tempted to fall for his ultra-nationalist, xenophobic, and populist discourse as a salvation table in a desperate situation.

Antauro unsubtlely accuses Venezuelan immigrants of stealing jobs from Peruvians and spreading crime. It declares Chile the country’s greatest enemy, which must return the desert region of Tarapacá and Arica lost by Peru at all costs; If he doesn’t, the two nations could go back to war, he says. For this reason, the name and ideology of ethnocacerism are inspired by Andrés Avelino Cáceres, a soldier like himself and two-time president of the country who led the resistance during the Chilean invasion of the Pacific War.

Humala during the interview.Humala during the Musuk Nolte interview

—90% of the population want to found a new republic, are looking for a new social pact. Here the thesis would be the semi-nationalist constitution of 1979. The antithesis is the neoliberal constitution of Fujimori and Montesinos, the one of 1993. Now a synthesis must emerge between nationalism and a national market economy closed to foreign investment. At Fujimori, there was foreign looting that threatened national security; then it went on. They bribed six Peruvian presidents who acted as foreign agents. This is treason, he explains.

He says that’s why he’s revolted twice and that now that he’s been released from prison – he was released in August 2022 – it’s worse than ever. He wanted to further prepare his movement for the 2026 presidential election, but Pedro Castillo’s attempted coup has accelerated everything. Castillo was arrested for this attempt and ended up in prison. His place was taken by Vice President Dina Boluarte, who was harassed by street protests across the country. More than 50 people have died as a result of the authorities’ repression, without changing the pace of the new government, which is determined not to call elections immediately.

The situation forces Antauro to act faster. By May of this year he wanted to come with half a million reservists. “Pedro Castillo, with all his shortcomings, has fulfilled his role. He gave us time and space to develop. You have to rethink everything,” he thinks out loud. It doesn’t put Castillo in the pocket of corrupt presidents worthy of facing a firing squad, even though he made that odd move that landed him in prison at a time when he was facing 54 simultaneous corruption investigations. In reality, Antauro believes Castillo was a chicken thief along with the other Peruvian leaders who wore the red and white sash. He compares him to the protagonist of Paco Yunque, a children’s story by the poet César Vallejo.

The story tells the first day of school of a humble country boy who is abused and humiliated by the other students. “Anyone who only wants to understand Peruvian society from the point of view of class struggle will not understand it. You will not have a good diagnosis. There is an ethnocultural factor, the race factor. Paco Yunque and Pedro Castillo are brothers in that respect,” continues Antauro. Castillo was a rural teacher who became popular as a union leader. A provincial party, Peru Libre, put him up as a candidate with the intention that the formation would make a name for itself in the capital, Lima. They never thought they could actually win. But Castillo attracted a surprising number of humble people in the first round with his speech, his hat and his manner of a common man. In the second, he rallied all of the country’s anti-Fujimorismo when he competed and won against Keiko, Alberto Fuijimori’s daughter. In power, however, he had neither a leader nor a roadmap, and he ruled by chaos and improvisation until he single-handedly, in a televised political suicide like few before in history, struck in one fell swoop at improvised and meaningless democracy self destroyed .

Humala, at his home in Lima.Humala, at his home in Lima.Musuk Nolte

Antauro wants to re-establish the country on these ashes. “There is a system problem. The whole installation is burned, you need to root it. That is the Republican change,” he emphasizes. This change, with the law in hand, is not easy at all. First, a Constituent Assembly would have to be called, and then, with the support of Congress, new elections would have to be called. The Peruvian legislature, with all its power, has become an insurmountable obstacle for recent presidents, who have a weak bench in the chamber due to the fragmentation of Peruvian politics. The big parties no longer exist. Antaurus would face the same contradictions. Castillo, like all previous ones, clashed with Congress, which is full of politicians who want to uphold the status quo and benefit the transportation, education or mining lobby. Peru remains trapped in its own institutional labyrinth.

“Let me suggest something.” I give you the name of a Peruvian president and you tell me your opinion, Antauro is offered.

“Sure, go ahead.

– Alberto Fujimori.

“A foreign criminal.

– Alexander Toledo.

– A treacherous Felipillo. Felipillo was the interpreter for Atahualpa and Pizarro playing for Pizarro’s benefit.

– A concept like that of Malinche in Mexico.


– Alan Garcia.

Antauro thinks for a few seconds.

– Another criminal.

– What does the gesture of suicide tell you?

He rubs his hands together and opens his eyes wide.

“How lucky you asked me that.” When I was in prison I found out that my brother was involved in the Lavajato case. So I wrote him a letter. We hadn’t spoken to each other in years and I hope we never do again. I published this letter urging you to honor suicide. I was imprisoned for being a rebel and I was proud of that. But for a thief? I’d rather be a rebel than a thief. Alan was honest and took no pressure on himself for dignity. He was a smart guy, you have to give him that.

– Back to the presidents: Ollanta.

– His case is the hardest because it went through one of us. He is very much alive. I haven’t seen him again, I haven’t trespassed a word.

– Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

– A stateless person. This is American. There’s nothing Peruvian about that. He had one line: get rich.

The morning loses its shine. A group of workers make adjustments to the house, the structure of which is perched on a hill. Behind some high walls that turn the urbanization into a fortress.

-One last question. When do you think your time will come or do you still see it blurry?

– Patience, we will be patient.

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