Carolina Galindo Hernandez (Doctoral Student in the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences, Humboldt University; Germany)

15.09.2010 - Interview conducted by Ana Lucas Palomares

Q1.How do Peruvians and Colombians perceive themselves and what do they think about their respective country?

One problem in academic work is to establish the limits about the research objects and the research subjects. In my case, I don’t specifically consider the opinions of the Colombian and Peruvian citizens about their democracies. Of course, I have to reference the surveys of Latin America, Latinobarómetro for example,  but you cannot find the self-perception about the conception of any citizen and my political system because these are not considered the concept of self-perception. Maybe the concept is very useful to understand the problem of legitimacy regarding the system in both cases, in Peru with Alberto Fujimori and in Colombia with Álvaro Uribe. These politicians are very well accepted by their own people. How can that be measured in surveys?
The Peruvians, in general terms, accepted the performance of Fujimori’s Government because they succeeded on the war against terrorism.

Q2.Is the democracy in Colombia and Peru better than the presented through the media?

Of course it is! For example, during my first year in Germany, I found an opinion section in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung about the performance of Álvaro Uribe and they said the “owner hand of Colombia” of course, it was a very conservative newspaper. There are two trends concerning the political orientation of the media: the majority considers the progress of the democracy in both countries very relevant. The left-orientated newspapers, such as Jungewelt, everyday has at least one piece of news about Latin America. In general the European media does not have a big interest in Latin America, just Spain due to historical reasons, language and the strategic interest of the Spanish country in the Latin continent. To summarize, the perception in general is very positive from left wing media.

Q3.People travel to Colombia and Peru all the time because they feel attracted for the historical sites. Is it a misconception that travelling to these countries is safe?

On one hand, the problem of security in Peru and in Colombia has changed after the implementation of security policies. On the other hand, there was a very aggressive campaign in the media to promote tourism and foreign investment in both countries. But we cannot forget that another side of the problem, especially not  in Colombia, we are experiencing an increase in security related problems in the cities,  and paradoxically this is a result of those policies because many members of the military groups start having a dictating behavior, like in Guatemala some years ago.

Q4.How do the Columbian and Peruvian governments work on fighting crime not only in tourist areas but in the whole country to ensure a safe living for their countrymen?

Well, I am specialized on the Fujimori and Uribe governments, I do not have that much information. In the Colombian case, the main objective is the consolidation of the state power and
the public image of the country. In the Peruvian case, people who have an extension of land can safely live but not the citizens. In general, the security consists in the property of lands.

Q5.How do the governments work with European countries to strengthen their security and democratic processes?

That there are many important strategies between our countries and European countries where the work of international cooperation is very relevant. Of course, the sources of the international cooperation is a consolation, because they do not act in the same way because they have different objectives. The cooperation is the main role, but in many cases the government has reduced the amount of money they give, and that is not just the role of the international help.