Peru is the country with less citizen support for democracy in the Americas while in Uruguay, Costa Rica and Argentina the system enjoys massive approval.
The facts were revealed during the presentation in Lima of a paper on “Democracy’s political culture in Peru 2010: democratic consolidation in the Americas in hard times”.
Support for democracy in Peru stands at 60.1%, down from 65.5% in 2008, while in the three countries above mentioned the percentages are 86.2%; 80.4% and 79.6% respectively. Other countries with relatively low approval of democracy are Honduras (62.6%); Guatemala (62.8%) and Paraguay (63.3%).-
Among the reasons for Peruvian disappointment or disenchantment with democracy the paper mentions the governments of former president Alberto Fujimori (1992/2000) and public opinion unrest with corruption and crime (street security).
The paper which is based on statistics from the acknowledged Latinamerican Barometer reveal a significant drop in the percentage of Peruvians that feel they belong to a political party, which in 2006 stood at 29.9% and this year stands at 21.2%.
Another concern described as “alarming” is the fact that Peruvians are at the bottom of the list regarding political tolerance. “This means not only that support level for the system in Peru is low but political tolerance is also scarce”. The paper describes the combination of these two attitudes, (poor support for democracy and for political tolerance) “democracy at risk”.
Furthermore in Peru support for military coups remains strong (45.3%) only below Belize (47.8%), Mexico (47.1%) and Guatemala (46%), and with the bracket most inclined to support an extreme measure of this kind in the ages ranging from 15 to 25.
Regarding corruption among government officials, Peru ranks third (79.4%) behind Trinidad Tobago (83.1%) and Jamaica (81.7%).
Peruvians are also among the people who feel most victimized by corruption (having experienced such actions at least once) and among the institutions with the lowest public opinion confidence figure Peru’s Supreme Court, political parties, Congress and the Presidency of the republic.
The perception of insecurity because of extended uncontrolled crime, Peru ranks top of the list with 53.8%, followed by Argentina, 52%; El Salvador 49.7% and Venezuela, 49.2%.
This only comes to confirm what the media and experts insist in mentioning frequently: measures are urgently needed to prevent the high indices of crime in the country.
The paper is based on the latest Americas Barometer and in Peru has been managed by Julio Carrion, head of the Delaware University Department of Political Sciences and International Relations and Latinamerican Studies together with Patricia Zarate from the Peruvian Research Institute.
The public opinion poll interviewed an average of 1.500 people in each of Latinamerican countries although in Bolivia and Ecuador as well as in Brazil and Chile, the number was greater.