Analysis: Vaccine scandal highlights long history of misconduct by elected officials in Peru
The question scandal has broadly involved current and government officials, including former presidents who were vaccinated against coronovirus, even if they were not eligible, a scandal that has prompted the resignation of several ministers.
According to data from Johns Hopes University, Peru is currently battling a resurgence of the virus, reporting more than 6,000 cases per day. As cases grow, this intensive care unit is facing an alarming shortage of beds and oxygen.
Vizcarra appears on a list of about 500 people who “took advantage of their position” to gain access to the Chinese-made vaccine, current Interim President Francisco Sagasti said earlier this week. The list, which has been made public, includes the creme-de-la-creme of Peruvian politics, including Sagasti’s Health Minister Pilar Mazetti and Foreign Minister Elizabeth Este.
Vijaykara tweeted on Sunday that his decision to get the vaccine “has not hurt anyone and the state has suffered very little.” He said that he “did not take advantage of the situation because it was a project [to develop] A vaccine that had not yet gone through all stages of approval. “
“I had valid reasons for not participating in me [in the clinical trials]The former president wrote that, as it would put the normal development of Phase III at risk, not only that I was warned about the possible counterintuitive effects to my health.
And then on Monday, he complained that the press continued to publish “distorted information” about what happened.
Peru is facing “an important moment”, Sagarji said. “Apart from the health crisis, the economic crisis, the social crisis, and the instability and political crisis that we have lived in the last few months, we now have a crisis of ethics and morality.”
His own presidency is a testimony to the recent telegram of the Peruvian crisis; Sagasti has been the President of the country for less than three months, having been appointed as the interim leader due to the political upheavals of the previous days.
He took office after predecessor Manuel Marino was forced to resign amid mass demonstrations against the Peruvian political class. Merino had only replaced Vizcarra; Between 9 and 17 November, Peru had three different presidents: Vizcarra, Merino and Sagasti.
The vaccine scandal – which some in the Andean country is already calling “vecuna-gate” (in Spanish, the vaccine means vaccine) – surfaced last week following an investigation by local news organization Wilax TV.
Many Peruvians say they are angry, but not surprised that government officials and their inner circles, including relatives, allegedly took advantage of their positions to use a vaccine they were not entitled to .
Jose Ugaz, a Peruvian human rights attorney and former president of Amnesty International, called it “a chronicle of scandal foretold” echoing the words of author Gabriel García Márquez. “I had already asked, and many organizations had done the same, that how to handle vaccines should be very careful.”
Ugaz said many Peruvians have so far been accustomed to “disappointment after disappointment” from their elected leaders.
“We have seen governments deeply rooted in corruption, with weak governing capabilities, permanently and systematically lying to the people, and putting themselves in the internal circles of their parties and the country; which, even during the epidemic Has happened. ”
Alberto Fujimori (1990–2000) is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights violations. Alejandro Toledo (2001–2006), currently in the United States, faces an extradition request for money laundering charges, which he denies. Alan Garcia (1985–1990 and 2006–2011) committed suicide in April 2019 as he was about to be arrested for charges related to the Odebrecht corruption scandal.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016–18) is currently under arrest for his related role in the Odebrecht corruption scandal, which he denies. Olanta Humala (2011-16) was arrested on similar charges in 2017 – he not only disputes the charges, but also plans to run for president again. And finally, Peru’s Attorney General’s office announced on Monday that it was investigating Martin Vizcarra for the vaccine scandal.
Many Peruvians still remember the Vladi-Video scandal, a series of video-recordings that came to light in 2000. The video featured Vladimiro Montesino, the then head of the Peruvian intelligence service, bribing opposition members in Congress to change sides and support. The policies of the then President Alberto Fujimori, whose campaign motto was “Integrity, Technology and Employment”.
Montesino has been convicted of several crimes that go beyond the Vladi-Video scandal. In 2016, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the kidnapping and murder of three people. In 2019, the Peruvian Supreme Court confirmed his 15-year sentence to be extended to 17 years for his role in the 1992 kidnapping of businessman Samuel Dyer.
Still, for Uzzaz, there is reason to hope. Peru’s justice system still works despite the obstacles, they say. The authority is proceeding with an investigation against Vijkara over the vaccine case and Toledo will be tried if he returns to the country. The same applies to others as well, although allegations of political harassment and stigma continue back and forth.
Peruans have a chance to reset on April 11, when they go back to the polls to elect a new president and all 130 members of its unilateral congress. Like many Peruvians, Yugasse is expecting a major change from Peru’s political upheaval and the much-criticized change of the coronaires.
“The scandals can be said to be representative of a political class breathing its last gas air,” he said.
Jimena de la Quintana in Lima and Claudia Rebza in London contributed to this report