Family Feud

Roger Clinton and Billy Carter have nothing on Antauro Humala, the imprisoned brother of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, who will mark his first year in office on July 28. Currently serving a 19-year prison sentence for instigating a failed military rebellion in a remote Andean town in 2005, Antauro has, according to reports, smoked marijuana, received unauthorized female visitors, used a cell phone, and left the facility a dozen times.

Such misbehavior prompted a series of prison transfers, ultimately landing him in a high-security naval penitentiary where Antauro joined four other notorious detainees: Abimael Guzmán, arrested in 1992 as leader of the ruthless Maoist Shining Path insurgency; Vladimiro Montesinos, Peru’s disgraced spy chief during the 1990s; Victor Polay, former leader of another inurgent group, the MRTA; and “Artemio,” another Shining Path leader captured just months ago.

The move to the latest prison has soured relations between the novice president and the rest of the Humala clan. Their extremely vocal father, Isaac, a lawyer who gave his children the complete works of Marx and Engels to read, has joined the fray, asserting that the relocation was personally authorized by Ollanta and involved a group of hooded men who physically abused the president’s brother. He even vowed to file a complaint against his son with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights of the Organization of American States.

Long associated with a bizarre, virulently natinonalist ideology that “calls for the supremacy of ‘copper-skinned’ Peruvians,” Isaac had already become deeply disillusioned with his son’s presidency. He and other family members, including older brother Ulises and sister Ima Sumac, feel betrayed by Ollanta’s failure to follow through on his commitment to sweeping change. Although Humala’s family had posed a problem for his political ambitions for some time — in 2006, his mother, Elena, called for shooting a few gays as a way to keep the rest closeted — the relationship has become notably adversarial in the past several months.

Although doubtlessly an uncomfortable distraction for the president, there is no sign that the other Humalas have influenced his decision-making. On the other hand, the sway of Nadine Heredia, the first lady, has no rival.

Not only does the president’s wife and closest confidante tend to outperform her husband in the polls, but there is speculation that she might be contemplating a run for the presidency herself, despite some inconvenient laws preventing it. Her clout was evident when, during a recent press briefing, she asked in a fit of pique, “Where is my minister?” The education minister at her side quickly responded, “I’m here, Señora, here.” The public musings over who actually calls the shots — Ulises openly calls his sister-in-law the actual president — represents yet another public relations headache for the administration.

Complete article via Foreign Policy.


Suggested Content