The President Of Indian Descent
Peruvians elected a rags-to-riches2 economist as their next president in a vote that highlighted persisting racial divisions in the land where Spanish conquistadors3 defeated the ancient Inca Empire .
With 87 percent of the vote counted, Alejandro Toledo defeated Alan Garcia, 52 percent to 48 percent. International observers said this runoff election was Peru's cleanest vote in years.
"Tonight Peruvians celebrate the triumph of democracy, "Toledo told thousands gathered in front of the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Lima. "I swear, brothers and sisters, I will never let you down. " Toledo, a shoeshine boy who rose from poverty to become a World Bank economist before entering politics, will become Peru's first freely elected president of Indian descent and probably the first president ever in Latin America who made Indian pride a cornerstone of his campaign.
Toledo capitalized on his dark, chiseled Indian features and short stature to mount a campaign replete with imagery of triumphant Inca4 emperors and with odes to Indian glory.
Such rhetoric came as a shock in a country where Indians face discrimination in almost every walk of life and where two of the top television comedy acts are white men frolicking around as silly Indian women in colorful skirts.
Garcia , a 6 -foot-3 Spanish-looking former president, used flowery language to overcome memories of his calamitous 1985-90 presidency, marred by corruption, guerrilla violence , food shortages and hyperinflation.
He returned to Peru in January to seek re-election after nearly nine years in exile waiting for corruption charges against him to expire. Despite his loss, he emerges as Peru's strongest opposition voice and a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Garcia 's campaign stumbled because it failed to reach the Indian and mixed -race population that makes up 80 percent of Peru's 26 million people. Many of those voters found a new hope in Toledo.
"He will be a symbol for all of Peru, "said Mariano de la Cruz, 62 , an Indian migrant from the highlands state of Ayacucho, after voting in a Lima slum." It's a source of pride that for the first time in my life I'll have someone of Indian race governing me . "
With partial regional results tallied, it was clear that the heavily Indian highlands voted largely for Toledo , while Garcia took coastal areas dominated by descendants of the Spanish conquistadors.
Toledo's campaign clearly targeted people with indigenous roots. Calling himself" a stubborn Indian with a cause, "he used symbols of the ancient Inca Empire and dressed in pointy hats and multicolored tunics during campaign stops.
"This is a very racist society, "Toledo said during his final campaign stop in the highlands city of Cuzco5 ."The elitist leadership still has trouble digesting the possibility that
someone like us could come to govern. "
Anthropologist Juan Ossio said Toledo recognized the potential political force of Peru's Indian population during his first presidential campaign i 1995 when his campaign slogan was" a Peruvian like you"and finally was able to capitalize on it this year.
"He has learned to play very well with the symbols of Andean culture , "Ossio said. "Now President Toledo has the duty to build bridges so the two cultures can come together.
Toledo acknowledged that responsibility in his victory speech, pledging to be"a president for all Peruvians".
But, he added:"In me, you'll have the same Alejandro who walks the streets, the same Alejandro who reaches out his hand to touch yours. "
Toledo campaigned largely on a populist platform. He has pledged to create 2.5 million jobs, raise salaries for public workers and lower taxes. "He knows the poverty we endure, "said Indian voter Primitiva Huaman, 58 ."He knows all our suffering. "
1. feature A. child
2. descendant B. basis
3. cornerstone C. appear
4. emerge D. end
5. expire E. face
6. indigenous F. native
Ⅱ. Question :
In the past, Peru is called .
Ⅰ. 1. E 2 . A 3 . B 4 . C 5 . D 6. F
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