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Garcia set for unlikely return

Alan Garcia

Six months ago, Peru might have been in bad shape, but at least the future looked bright.

It had gone through an electoral crisis, with president Alberto Fujimori blatantly rigging his way to an unconstitutional third term, but Fujimori was then exiled in Japan, and the prospects for free and fair elections in April seemed good. Now Peru looks in worse shape than ever.

There's now a strong possibility that the next president is going be Alan Garcia. Garcia needs no introduction to those who followed the worst excesses of Latin economies at the end of the 1980s. In his five-year term from 1985 to 1990, he reduced Peru to such a state of terrorist-plagued hyperinflation that Peruvians happily embraced Fujimori's authoritarian regime.

By the end of Garcia's term, inflation had reached 78% - in July alone. The figure for the year as a whole was 7,650%.

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