Hello gain everyone, and welcome to yet another blog update from Peru! With November 6th rapidly approaching, I thought that I would take the opportunity to share with you what the Peruvians that I know think about our upcoming elections. Surprisingly, they all seem to have quite strong opinions about the candidates and American politics in general. Also, they seem to be under the impression that I am some form of expert political analyst, with in depth knowledge of the motivations and beliefs of all my fellow countrymen. Unfortunately, this is not the case and I am often unable to answer the questions that the ask me. However, I do find it highly impressive that they know so much about American politics. Before coming to Peru, I had absolutely no idea who the Peruvian president was, what their major political parties were, or what any of the issues facing their country were. In contrast, almost everyone who I have talked to here know who our president is, and also his current opponent. Most of them also seem to have at least a vague idea of the positions of our two major political parties, the Democrats and Republicans. Furthermore, they are aware of the current economic crisis in the USA and Europe, as well as our actions in the Middle East and various other issues facing our country. After the presidential debates on October 3rd, many of the Peruvians that I know began to have conversations with me about American politics, as well as share their opinions about about our political candidates.
I will now share with you what information I have been able to glean from the locals about the Peruvians opinion about our candidates. Their general attitude towards president Barack Obama seems to be one of disappointment. They feel as if he made various problems to the American people and the world that he has not kept. Many a time I have been asked of President Obama has actually done anything in the past four years. Though I did bring up healthcare reform and ending the war in Iraq and creating a timetable for leaving Afghanistan, they remained unimpressed. They seem to feel as if he promised grand reforms and, for the most part, has failed to deliver them. Also, demonstrating a rather impressive knowledge of US current events, they go on to criticize Obama's increased use of extra-legal methods to combat terrorism (drone strikes/assassinations on civilian targets), and his general continuation of traditional American policies such as refusing to submit to various international treaties and standards which we still expect the rest of the world to adhere to (Kyoto Protocol, Geneva Convention, etc.). Even so, every Peruvian I have talked to thus far strongly supports President Obama, and hopes that he emerges victorious this November.
('Murica according to many Peruvians)
The general opinion here about Governor Mitt Romney, as well as the Republican party in general, seems to be overwhelmingly negative. They are viewed by the locals for the most part as a group of religious fanatics who wish to impose their will upon the rest of the world through force. I have been asked many a time how a country as developed as the USA could have produced what they view as a religiously based, highly aggressive political movement as one of our major political parties. One Peruvian even expressed to me a fear that if Governor Romney is elected the United States will embark on some form of attempt to conquer the world and, in doing so, trigger a nuclear war and thus bring an end to the human race. I, of course, responded by telling them that they had a somewhat skewed view the American political landscape, their fears were highly exaggerated, and that I am sure that should Governor Romney win the election the world will in no way be destroyed in a nuclear war. Still, I feel as if my reassurances did not do much to quell their fears.
Thus, the Peruvians have a rather grim view of American politics. Though I am sure that many Peruvians have opinions quite different from the ones mentioned above, this is a fairly accurate summary of what I have encountered so far from Peruvian students, my host-parents and their friends, as well as random taxi drivers on the streets.
Until Next Time,