Peru Election 2006

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Roundtable: Electoral Platforms Against Sexual Discrimination

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Photo: J. Bazo
Oscar Ugarteche, Belissa Andía, Vicente Otta, Sandra Vallenas, Susel Paredes y Víctor Andrés García Belaúnde Velarde
Universidad del Pacifico and Weblog Peru Election 2006 Roundtable “Peru Election 2006: Analysis of Policy Platforms to Support Sexual Diversity”
Maxwell Cameron & Fabiola Bazo
March 20, 2006

Under the auspices of Universidad del Pacifico, a roundtable on “Policy Platforms to Support Sexual Diversity” was held on Friday, March 10, 2006. What follows is a brief summary some of the key issues and conclusions that emerged from the discussion.

On Friday, March 10, 2006, a public round table discussion was held at the Universidad del Pacífico on “Analysis and Programmatic Proposals on Sexual Diversity” in the 2006 election. The participants included:
Belissa Andia, Movimiento Nueva Izquierda
Vicente Otta, Partido Unión por el Perú
Susel Paredes, Partido Socialista
Víctor Andrés García Belaúnde Velarde, Frente de Centro
Sandra Vallenas, Universidad Católica del Peru
Oscar Ugarteche, Comentarista
Moderator: Fabiola Bazo, “Peru Election 2006” Weblog
Agustín Haya de la Torre, candidate for the APRA, could not participate due to a legal embrolio with the National Election Board over his registration as a candidate. Instead, he send a letter which read:
Lima, 10 de marzo de 2006
Estimada Fabiola: Me hubiera encantado participar en el evento sobre diversidad sexual, pero los ajetreos de una resolución constitucional del JNE que trata de impedir las candidaturas de los docentes universitarios que expresamos a la izquierda democrática me lo impiden.
De todas formas quiero reiterar mi firme convicción de defensa de la orientación sexual que asuman las personas como una libertad fundamental de los seres humanos y mi repudio a cualquier tipo de discriminación por tal motivo.
Tenemos que construir la democracia sobre la sólida base de los derechos humanos y aprender a respetar el ejercicio pleno de la libertad individual y la privacidad de cada cual. En ese sentido, eventos como el que ustedes realizan refuerzan la gran corriente de opinión universal para que la democracia se convierta en un modo de vida real en el mundo.
Agustín Haya de la Torre,
Miembro de la Comisión Política del Partido Aprista Peruano

Photo: J. Bazo
Fabiola Bazo began by asking the panelists to outline their proposals with respect to sexual diversity and non-discrimination, and to offer their assessments of the progress or reversals that have occurred in Peru in recent years with respect to the rights of gays, lesbians, transsexual and bisexual persons (GLTB). What can we expect from this election, and what issues are being raised in the campaign? How do these issues play with the voters, and what is at stake in this election in terms of rights and discrimination?
Belissa Andia spoke first, arguing for a program of eradication of discrimination and marginalization. She is running on the New Left Movement (MNI) ticket as a transsexual person to express the right to sexual diversity. She strongly repudiated violence against transvestites, and called attention to the serious abuses being committed by the Serenazgos of Lima under the control of mayor Luis Castañeda Lossio, leader of Solidaridad Nacional, member of the alliance Unidad Nacional.
Photo: J. Bazo
Andia outlined a set of policy changes that are part of the programmatic proposals of the MNI, and which include the recognition of any stable union between two people; the elimination of hate crimes; equal rights to work, education and healthcare, regardless of sexual orientation; no discrimination in laws regulating conjugal unions; equal tax benefits for all couples; non-discrimination in sexual education; campaigns against homophobia; efforts by the Ministry of Women to promote freedom from violence for women, and centers of attention for battered women; full respect for human rights and no impunity for crimes against humanity.
The next speaker was Vicente Otta, member of the government plan team for the Union for Peru, or UPP. Otta argued that the problems of inequality and exclusion are rooted in the nature of the Peruvian state. Since its foundation in the origin of the republican era, the Peruvian state has excluded the majority of the population, especially indigenous peoples, and this exclusionary state has reigned for most of the 20th century. Otta proposed a constitutional change that would create a nationalist and democratic social pact, creating a state capable of inclusion. Otta mentioned Jose Matos Mar’s famous work Desborde popular y crisis del Estado, and argued that 20 years after its publication the crisis of the state has only intensified. There is more informality, less social security, and a dysfunctional relationship between state and society. Without rights, citizens confront a state from a position of inequality. This is true for broader social rights, as it is for particular, sectoral, and sexual rights. Otta paid homage to Oscar Ugarteche as a founder of the Homosexual Movement of Lima (MHOL), and called for stronger penalties for agents of the state who violate rights.
Photo: J. Bazo
Susel Paredes followed. She began by affirming that she has been a socialist militant since she was 17 years old, first in the PUM (Unified Mariateguista Party) and now in the Socialist Party with Javier Diez Canseco. The Socialist Party chooses its candidates by internal democracy, overseen by the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) and there are no “consensus lists.” She was proposed by lesbian and feminist groups, and placed 5th on the list of candidates to congress. She made public her sexual orientation as a lesbian as an act of honesty and to advance her policy agenda. There are 24 public policies for the inclusion of GLBT population that the Socialist Party wishes to advance in the next legislature.
Paredes says she sees her role as a legislator and agent of accountability. Working with Flora Tristan, she has contributed to citizen accountability on issues like AIDS and HIV as well as the rights of women and lesbians. She noted that Cardenal Cipriani has asked that the candidates not talk about social issues like abortion or gay marriage in this campaign, and she is happy to defy the Cardenal. In congress, she will fight for the legalize abortion especially for women who cannot afford expensive clinics; equality in civil law for all couples; and a change in the definition of marriage in the civil code.
The next speaker was Víctor Andrés García Belaúnde, of the Frente de Centro (Centrist Front). He acknowledged that his group has a more traditional view on these issues than he does personally, and that while it affirms equal rights it is silent on sexual rights. Speaking as a psychologist, he outlined the many dimensions of sexuality—genetic, genital, identity and orientation—and said that those opposed to diversity are often ignorant of the issues and know little of the homosexual community. He called for sexual education based on the latest scientific knowledge, and a rejection of ideas about what is “normal” that are, in fact, social constructs. Homosexuality is no longer considered an illness, and represents as much as 10 percent of the population. García Belaúnde closed by calling for “equality for all” (the campaign slogan of his group) including the rights of homosexuals.
Photo: J. Bazo
The next presenter was sociologist Sandra Vallenas, who offered not policy proposals but analysis of polling results on the topic of tolerance toward homosexuals and lesbians. According to a poll conducted by the Catholic University, 31 percent of the electorate would vote for a homosexual or lesbian candidate (7 percent said “definitely” and 24 percent said “probably”). The most tolerant groups are in higher income brackets (“A & B” voters). In those sectors, 17 percent would definitely vote for such candidates, and 30 percent probably would. This tolerance was highest among youth. At the same time, Vallenas noted there are high levels of intolerance in all groups, including youth. 61 percent of youth said they would “never” vote for a homosexual or lesbian candidates, and the figure in the “A & B” category overall was 42 percent.
Finally, the round table was wrapped-up by Oscar Ugarteche who said that he was pleased to be at a discussion of these issues in the Universidad Pacifico, , and that he was delighted to see a new generation of leaders taking up the cause of the rights to sexual diversity. We are an adolescent country, he said, of people who care too much what others think and not enough about being ourselves. Tolerance is not our great strength, he said. He characterized Peruvian society as closed and exclusionary, based on circles of trust that reinforce social divisions.
Photo: J. Bazo
Ugarteche traced the evolution of global advances in the struggle against discrimination starting with Strasbourg Treaty in 1992, and he emphasized the role of Norway as a leader in Europe. Spain is a recent convert, and Germany is still wavering. The Dane have adopted the Norwegian initiative, as have the Canadians outside of Europe. Federal countries like Argentina, Mexico and the US have had problems advancing the agenda at the subnational level because national governments have often overturned policies adopted by provinces and states (Buenos Aires being an exception). Even progressive parties have had difficulties.
In Peru, the GLBT community is the most excluded, and within that group, rural women have the fewest options. The 17 percent within the “A & B” perhaps have rights, though even there tragedies have occurred. GLBT people contribute to society, pay taxes, and deserve the same laws. In his view, the GLBT community stands roughly where women were in 1923: perhaps on the Cusp of irreversible changes for the political class. But mobilized in opposition are the forces of the Vatican, and the US government. An example of an effort to prevent change was the intention to propose an “anti-sodomy” law, under Fujimori, that could be revived in the future if is elected that is hostile to GLBT rights.
Following the presentations, questions were taken from the audience. One person asked whether the issue of sexual diversity was really on the agenda in this election. Noting the lack of serious proposals and frontal debate on the matter, it would seem that the topic is marginal. Even within the parties that are more out front on the issue, how strongly do these candidates have the backing of their respective parties?
Andia responded saying that the process is a slow one, but her party is ideologically committed to the issue. Paredes agreed with respect to her party, and noted that Concertacion Decentralista also has proposals on the issue. Otta acknowledged that his party does not have concrete proposals with respect to sexual diversity, and recognized this as a limitation and error. He attributed this to the haste with which the UPP plan for government was prepared, a view that was dismissed as disingenuous by a member of the audience from Red Fatherland (Patria Roja) who claimed the nationalists had lifted all sort of ideas from his party’s platform except the points on non-discrimination. For his part, Otta questioned whether it was possible for old-line Stalinist parties to sincerely come around on these issues.
Otta was then challenged by the audience with a question that suggested that his discourse was similar to the position of the left of the 1970s on women’s rights: first solve economic problems, then issues of personal liberty will follow. Add to this the misogyny and homophobia within the military, and the UPP’s position becomes even more problematic.
Otta responded by saying that the UPP will probably form the next government. He acknowledged that there are elements of old guard thinking in the UPP, but insisted that there has to be a clear macropolitical line to orient policy. A truly nationalist government is necessary to guarantee the equal rights of all citizens. That said, it would be desirable to have policies and leaders from this sector within the UPP.
Regarding misogyny and homophobia, Otta made three points:
(1) 2006 is not the same as 1970. Gay rights have made advances and conquered spaces that cannot be lost.
(2) Political processes are contradictory. Velasco was not particularly homophobic, and it was the government that was most closely aligned with Peruvian society of the 20th century.
(3) The nationalist movement is not a military project. It is led by a person with a military background. He is military, but not homophobic. His personal commitment to this issue is “why I am here,” said Otta.
Paredes expressed profound concern about homophobia in the military, pointing to opposition to the inclusion of sexual rights within human rights commitments in the National Plan for Human Rights from the Church and the military. The “classic alliance of robes and boots” is a major obstacle to the advance of the rights of the GLBT community and the election of a military president fills her with terror.
Then, addressing a question about homophobia and misogyny on the left, Paredes said she is not been utilized and could not be thrown out of her party; because she is not an invited militant, and not placed on the list to get visibility with this sector; she is on the list because she was proposed by feminist and lesbian members of her party and selected by the party rank and file. Her goal is to democratize the left and lead her party. Andia said the same: her candidacy is not the result of an electoral calculation by her party leadership but the result of an unexpected opening.
Ugarteche talked about how he was brought into the campaign in two moments. At one point he was approached to be a vice presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. On another occasion, he was mentioned in the press by Victor Andres (“Vitocho”) Garcia Belaúnde (father of Víctor Andrés García Belaúnde. and an important leader of the Frente de Centro). Lourdes Flores Nano had been asked if she would include a gay or lesbian in her cabinet and she responded that she would have no objection but could think of no one off hand. Vitocho Garcia Belaúnde immediately announced that he could easily see Ugarteche as a finance minister in a future government of Valentín Paniagua. In both cases, these reference fell from the sky, as Ugarteche has been living in Mexico City where he has a tenured position at UNAM (something that was never offered to him by the Catholic University in Peru during the 25 years that he worked there).
Notwithstanding his decision to leave Peru, Ugarteche feels there has been an opening in recent years as a result of the formation of GLBT groups and the emergence of spaces within parties for this community. He would be pleased to see a couple of GLBT members of congress, but notes that Peru has come to occupy a pole of conservative thinking in South America, as an ally of both Washington and the Vatican, that was formerly held by Argentina.
Ugarteche also spoke about class and sexual diversity in response to a question about GBLT people who are poor. He said that when gays are rounded up in places where they gather, it does not matter whether you are rich or poor—either way, you’re gay. But if you are poor, it is worse still, since you have fewer means of defense. He spoke of lamentable persecution of the gay community by former mayor Alberto Andrade, which included shaming people by publishing the license plate numbers of vehicles that engage with transvestites and prostitutes in a newspaper of major circulation.
One of the questions from the floor criticized García Belaúnde for not having a clearer position. Specifically, he treated the issue of sexuality as a matter of private rights rather than a public issue about power; and spoke in terms of improving understanding rather than establishing rights. García Belaúnde responded saying he favors gay marriage, equality and non-discrimination. There is a range of positions within the Centrist Front, with some people favoring non-discrimination but drawing the line at gay marriage. He said his personal mission is to push for a more open position within his party and the Centrist Front, something he shares with his father.
Members of National Unity (Unidad Nacional), , Decentralist Concertation (Concertación Decentralista) and the Independent Moralizing Front (Frente Independiente Moralizador) were invited but did not attend.
Raíz Diversidad Sexual

Hoy viernes 10 de marzo, en la Universidad del Pacífico, se realizó la Mesa Redonda sobre Elecciones y Propuestas Programáticas desde la Diversidad Sexual, la cual contó con la presencia de Belissa Andía (Movimiento Nueva Izquierda- MNI), Vicente Otta (UPP), Susel Paredes (PS), Víctor Andrés García (Frente de Centro), Sandra Vallenas (Universidad Católica), con el comentario del reconocido activista Oscar Ugarteche.
La Mesa se inició con la intervención de Belissa, quién explicó el proceso de inclusión de la diversidad sexual en el Plan de Gobierno y la lista congresal del MNI, en el contexto de la convocatoria a una Asamblea Constituyente, la cual sea la base de la inclusión de un conjunto de cambios necesarios que reemplacen al actual modelo neoliberal. Sobre las propuestas para la comunidad LGTB, Belissa apuntó la necesidad de promover una Ley de Prevención de la Discriminación por Orientación Sexual e Identidad de Género, además del reconocimiento de las uniones de las parejas del mismo sexo.
Luego intervino el señor Otta, miembro del Plan de Gobierno Nacionalista (UPP), el cual coincidió con Belissa en la necesidad de una Asamblea Constituyente para hacer los cambios estructurales que garanticen que el acceso de todos los sectores sociales a la ciudadanía. En este contexto planteó que su partido no tiene una propuesta explícita para la diversidad sexual, por lo cual saludaba los puntos propuestos por la candidata de la Izquierda. Posteriormente, hizo uso de la palabra Susel Paredes, la cual presentó las propuestas del PS en relación a la despenalización del aborto, el apoyo a la personas viviendo con VIH-SIDA, la ley para prevenir la discriminación y la necesidad de cambios constitucionales para el reconocimiento de las parejas del mismo sexo. En un cuarto momento, Víctor Andrés García (Frente de Centro) admitió que su partido es conservador en relación al tema de la diversidad sexual, sin embargo planteó que en lo personal considera importante promover la tolerancia y el respeto a la diferencia.
Luego de presentadas las propuestas, la socióloga Sandra Vallenas (Universidad Católica) presentó los resultados de su último sondeo electoral, el cual revela que aproximadamente dos tercios de la población muestra intolerancia frente a las candidaturas LGTB, frente a un tercio que admitió que podría votar por un candidato de la diversidad sexual. Para la Dra. Vallenas, las y los jóvenes son sin duda el sector que muestra mayores niveles de tolerancia y menores prejuicios. Finalmente, Oscar Ugarteche hizo un balance de lo avanzado en estos últimos veinticinco años; además, planteó la necesidad de no olvidar el peligro que implica el neoconservadurismo, en especial el proveniente de la administración Bush y la actual cúpula de la Iglesia Católica.
Todos estos insumos permitieron iniciar un interesante debate en el cual participó el público asistente. La conclusión general fue que a diferencia de los anteriores procesos electorales, la novedad en el 2006 es la inclusión de la diversidad sexual en las agendas de discusión electoral.
Candidatos de varios partidos expusieron sus puntos de vista sobre la diversidad sexual en la Universidad del Pacífico
Diario de Lima Gay

La Universidad del Pacífico y el Weblog Peru Election 2006 organizaron una mesa redonda para que representates de los partidos olíticos mas importantes que compiyten en estas elecciones expusieran sus proopurestas programáticasy lesgislativas dirigidas a lesbianas, gasy, bisexuales y personas trans (GLBT).
Se hicieron presentes Belissa Andía, candidata trans del MNI ( Número 30), Vicente Otta, representate del Partidos Nacionalista /UPP, Susel Paredesdel PS ( Número 10) y Victor García Belaúnde quien acudió en representación de su padre y a nombre de Frente de Centro.
A pesar de haber confirmado su presencia, no asistieron los representamnts de UNidad Nacional y la Concertación Descebtralista. Agustín Haya del Partido Aprista envió una carta disculpándose por no poder asistir debido a problemas suegidos d ela tacha de su candidatura por el JNE. En la carta expresó su compromiso personal y de su partuido copn la defensa de los derechos GLBT.
Cada representante de partido expuso durante 10 minutos sus propuestas programáticas y/o legislativas.
Belissa Andía leyó las propuestas sobre el tema de diversidad sexual incluidas en el Plan de Gobierno del MNI. Las propuestas se centran en la promesa impulsar la convocatoria a una Asamblea Constituyente que permita la inclusión de los cambios necesarios para modificar el modelo neoliberal aí como en la necesidad de promover una Ley de Prevención de la Discriminación por Orientación Sexual e Identidad de Género y la legalización de las uniones de las parejas del mismo sexo.
Vicente Otta, quien participó de la elaboración del Plan de Gobierno del Partido Nacionalista /UPP, luego de una disertación sobre la desconexión entre gobieno y bación que ha caracterizado la historia del Perú, también sostuvo la necesidad de convocar una Asamblea Constituyente para hacer los cambios estructurales que garanticen que el acceso de todos los sectores sociales a la ciudadanía. Reconoció que su partido no tiene una propuesta explícita para la diversidad sexual.
Susel Paredes del PS presentó las 24 propuestas de su partido en relación la diversidad sexual ( que disstribuyó en un folleto) y sus propuestas legislativas específicas respecto de la despenalización del aborto, la ley para prevenir la discriminaciónpor oruientacionsexual e identidad de género ( ya presentada al congreso por Javier Diez Canseco, en diciembre de 2005), el apoyo a la personas viviendo con VIH-SIDA, y la necesidad de realizar los cambios constitucionales previos para que se a posible el reconocimiento de las parejas del mismo sexo.
Víctor Andrés García (Frente de Centro), quien es psicólogo y ha trabajado el tema de la sexualidad homosexual, puso en relieve la importancia del cambio en el sistema educativo para promover una educación sexual acorde con los avances de la ciencia y sin oscurantismos ni prejuicios y así cambiar el sentido común de la gente logrando una mayotr comprensión y respeto.Sin embargo, recomoció que partido es conservador en relación al tema de la diversidad sexual, que no hay nada específico en sus planes pero que se ha llegado a considerar la posibilidad de algún recoocimiento legal de las parejas del mismo sexo pero no como matrimonio.
Sandra Vallenas, socióloga de la Universidad Católica presentó los resultados la última encuesta realizada por esa casa de estudios en Lima,según el cual dos tercios de la población ( 67 %) rechaza las candidaturas GLTB, frente a un tercio que admite que podría votar ( 26 %) o votaría definitivamenter ( 6 %) por un candidato homosexual, lesbiana o trans. En su análisis de los resultados Vallenas señaló que los jóvenes y particularmente los de los sectores A y B, son el sector que muestra mayor tolerancia y menores prejuicios.
Finalmente, Oscar Ugarteche, destacado economista fundador y líder del Movimiento Homosexual de Lima,realizó un balance de los últimos veinticinco años en lo que se refiere al avance de los derechos GLBT , tanto en el Perú como ene le resto del mundo. Enfatizó el peligro y la amenaza del neoconservadurismo,promovido por la administración Bush y la cúpula de la Iglesia Católica.
Luego de las exposiciones se realizó una ronda de preguntas y se concluyó en que resultava muy positivo que en el actual proceso electoral hayan dos candidaturas GLBT al congreso y otras dos al parlamento Andino, lo que ha hecho que los partidos políticos se preocupen, por primera vez, de hacer alguna propuesta o promesa dirigida a los votantes GLBT.

Catholic University 2004 Exclusion Survey
Catholic University February Urban Poll

Written by Michael Ha

March 21st, 2006 at 5:01 pm

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