Evangelical leaders in Peru strongly criticized their nation’s president, Alberto Fujimori, for his action last month to dissolve Congress and suspend the Constitution. In a televised speech at the onset of the April 5 “self-coup,” Fujimori said political corruption and infiltration, supposedly by subversive elements, had pervaded “all levels and rulings of the judicial power.” His move, which was backed by the military, was strongly condemned by the Organization of American States and the United States.

A pronouncement issued April 9 by the Evangelical Council of Peru (CONEP) called for a return to democratic government. “Immorality, corruption and injustice at all levels” are clearly present in Peruvian society, the document stated. “These evils are also present as much in the Legislative and Judicial [branches], as in the Executive [branch], the Armed Forces and the National Police.” Nevertheless, it called for a return to fundamental values within a constitutional framework.

Many observers attributed Fujimori’s 1990 presidential victory to strong support from Peru’s 1 million evangelicals, who represent about 5 percent of the nation’s population. Twenty-two Protestants were voted into national office as deputies and senators, including Second Vice-president Carlos García.

In the past year, however, practically all the Protestant legislators elected to the Congress under Fujimori’s Cambio 90 party were ejected from the party or chose to leave voluntarily. Second Vice-president García, a Baptist pastor and attorney, was largely sidelined from power and influence.

Shortly after Fujimori’s announcement, which suspended the democratic process, García publicly denounced the move in a radio interview, according to a report by the ...

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