Peru president emerges for first time in two weeks

August 13, 2011 5:41 am

, LIMA, Aug 13 – Peru’s Ollanta Humala has emerged from the presidential palace for the first time since being sworn in two weeks ago, defending his virtual silence as a sign of effective governance.

The leftist Humala, sworn in on July 28, defended his seclusion after opposition figures derided it as an indication of inexperience, saying his government would have “less talk and more action.”

Humala spoke in Pisco, a southern city still recovering from a major earthquake in 2007, where residents chanted against his predecessor and demanded the government do more to aid the rebuilding.

Ahead of the trip, Humala had tweeted: “Social inclusion in Peru begins with the rebuilding of Pisco and the dignity of its people. There is no democracy with misery.”

In other postings to the Twitter micro-blogging website Humala has referred to campaign promises to promote social welfare and fight crime.

His style is in stark contrast to predecessor Alan Garcia, who frequently delivered public speeches that showed off his oratorical skills, which are said to be lacking in Humala.

Humala, a 49-year-old former military man who once admired the populist socialism of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, narrowly defeated Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of a jailed ex-president, in June.

Before becoming Peru’s first leftist president in 36 years, Humala had narrowly lost in 2006 elections when he campaigned under the shadow of Chavez. He has since remodeled himself along the lines of Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a more moderate leftist.

Fujimori said Humala’s lack of public appearances showed “he is a little scared or nervous about the job,” adding that online messages were not sufficient.

But a poll released Friday showed Humala’s government remains popular, with a 62 percent approval rating and just 19 percent disapproving.


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