For a long time, the mining industry is Peru’s most important industry and the fastest growing sector in recent years. The manufacturing industry comprises the production of fishmeal, the processing of agricultural commodities and the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and textiles.
The mining industry, which was largely nationalized in the 1970s, was in crisis for a long time due to high taxes, lack of foreign investors, guerrilla war and economic mismanagement in the 1980s (see Modern History). Since the government changed its investment rules in 1992, foreign capital flowed into the mining industry. Even in the oil and gas industry, it became easier for foreign companies to extract new deposits, and in 1996 parts of the state oil company were privatized.
The mining industry is dominated by Western companies, but since the turn of the millennium, Chinese-owned mining companies have also started investing in Peru.
A large part of the copper mined is processed into pipes and wire in a smelter in the city of Ilo in the south. Other important metals, such as gold, lead, silver, zinc and iron, are mainly exported as raw materials.
The manufacturing industry was protected against foreign competition by high tariffs until the 1990s. The industry was inefficient and out of date, and when barriers to trade were removed, it became difficult for many industries to compete with imports from outside. Several companies went bankrupt or were bought out. Traditional industries are still the most important, such as the manufacture of fishmeal, the processing of agricultural products and the metal industry. In the textile industry, high quality clothing is made from Peruvian pima cotton as well as alpaca and vicuña wool. There is also a significant pharmaceutical industry.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Peru. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
Referendum on legal reform
In a referendum, voters may decide on four proposals concerning political and judicial reform. A large majority votes for three of the four proposals, while the fourth is rejected. The Peruvians agree to set up a seaman’s council to supervise and appoint independent judges and prosecutors – a result of several legal scandals. They also vote for a proposal for funding political parties, a topical issue in the wake of the Odebrech scandal (see June 2018). The proposal that congressmen should not be able to stand for re-election is also adopted, while it will be no for a senate to be established.
Ex-President García is denied asylum in Uruguay
Former President Alan García is denied asylum in Uruguay. The message is given by Uruguay’s President Tabaré Vásquez, who says García cannot be considered subject to political persecution because Peru is a democratically functioning state. García, who was president in 1985–1990 and 2006–11, is under investigation for receiving bribes during his second presidential term (see also June 10, 2018). He applied for asylum at the Uruguay Embassy in Lima on November 17, after being banned from leaving the country for 18 months. García leaves the embassy after being told he will not be granted asylum.
Additional Fujimori allied suspect
A judge issues an international arrest warrant for Jaime Yoshiyama, who was Keiko Fujimori’s vice presidential candidate in 2011. Yoshiyama, who is suspected of involvement in the same tangle as Fujimori (see October 31, 2018), is in the United States. Another Fujimori employee, businessman Augusto Bedoya, is ordered not to leave the country. The prosecutors have identified a total of eleven people suspected of being part of a “criminal organization” with the aim of raising money for Keiko Fujimori’s presidential campaign in 2011. Seven of them are in preventive detention, including Keiko Fujimori himself.
Opposition leader Fujimori arrested
A judge decides that opposition leader Keiko Fujimori should be put in three years of preventive detention. As a reason, there is a risk that Fujimori will otherwise leave the country, trying to obstruct justice and influence witnesses to change their testimonies. She was arrested on October 10, along with her husband and 19 others, suspected of receiving $ 1.2 million in illegal financial grants to the party from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. This should have happened in connection with the 2011 presidential election. An appeals court put the detainees on leave after a week, but now Keiko Fujimori is arrested again.
Legal scandal gets HD judge to flee and minister resign
President Martín Vizcarra demands that Spain seize the dismissed judge in the Supreme Court César Inostroza, after he has managed to cross the border to Ecuador from where he fled to Spain. The day before, Minister of the Interior Mauro Medina has resigned because César Hinostroza moved the country. Hinostroza was dismissed by Congress on October 4 because of its central role in the corruption scandal in the judiciary that has already led to the resignation of the Chief Justice and Justice Minister (see July 2018). The scandal has triggered protests in several cities and prompted President Vizcarra to promise judicial reform. Twelve people have so far been arrested in connection with the scandal.
Former President Fujimori’s pardon is withdrawn
A court annulled the pardon of former President Alberto Fujimori (see December 24, 2017). The now 80-year-old Fujimori, who is being cared for at a private clinic, is pleading not to release prison for health reasons.
Passport requirements are introduced for Venezuelans
Peru is facing the demands of Venezuelan citizens who cross the border to identify themselves with passports, not just ID cards. The decision is a result of the wave of refugees from Venezuela that arose because of the deep political, economic and humanitarian crisis there. Recently, around 4,000 Venezuelans a day have crossed the border from Ecuador. Around 400,000 Venezuelans are now in Peru.
Chief magistrate and justice minister resign after bribery scandal
Supreme Court Chief Justice Duberli Rodríguez resigns as a result of a growing corruption scandal in the judiciary that has already prompted the president to kick Justice Minister Salvador Heresi. The scandal was triggered when news site IDL-Reporteros published audio recordings that reveal how high-ranking judgments can be bribed to give verdicts that are favorable to those who pay. In one recording, Heresi seems to be offered benefits by a judge in the Supreme Court and another is discussing the penal relief – or freeing sentence – of a man accused of raping an eleven-year-old.
State of emergency at the border with Colombia
Peru is facing an emergency permit for 60 days along the border with Colombia to increase security in the area, where drug trafficking is extensive. Peruvian and Colombian helicopters and aircraft will jointly monitor the border area.
The Minister of Finance resigns
Minister of Finance and Finance David Tuesta resigns, following protests against plans for a number of excise taxes on used cars, cigarettes, soft drinks, alcohol and diesel, among other things. The whole government is behind the proposal, but Tuesta is allowed to carry the dog’s head. President Vizcarrra says the government should now try to accelerate growth through investments and better tax collection, and not through increased taxes. Critics fear that the speedy retreat gives a signal that the young government is weak and easily let down.
Bribery charges against ex-presidents
Prosecutors begin to investigate charges against three former presidents: Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Alan García and Alejandro Toledo. They are suspected to have received campaign grants from the Brazilian building conglomerate Odebrecht in exchange for pledges on comprehensive contracts. The three are being investigated for money laundering, as are three other related persons. Odebrecht’s former Peruch boss, Jorge Barata, testified that Odebrecht paid millions of dollars in bribes in Peru between 2001 and 2016. In the 2011 election, Odebrecht should have given money to four candidates: Kuczynski, Keiko Fujimori, Alejandro Toledo and a close associate with Alan García.
Congress closes Kenji Fujimori
Congress votes to shut down Kenji Fujimori and two of his allies, on accusations of trying to buy votes to impede a judicial process against former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (see December 2017). An attempt is also made to completely cast off the three, but the number of yes votes is not enough. Kenji Fujimori accuses his sister Keiko Fujimori of being behind the polls and says he should try to get them declared invalid.
Ex-president’s assets are seized
Prosecutors decide that five properties and bank accounts belonging to former President Ollanta Humala should be seized during an ongoing investigation (see April 2018). The ex-president as well as his wife and children are ordered to leave their main residence in Lima before the end of the day. A few hours after they resign, a new message comes from a judge: the decision to seize assets is postponed for 30 days.
Ex-president is released from detention
Former President Ollanta Humala and his wife, Nadine Heredia, are detained until the corruption trial against them begins (see also July 2017). This is done by order of the Constitutional Court.
A new government joins César Villanueva as chief minister. Villanueva held the same post for four months under President Humala, 2013–2014.
Vizcarra new president
Former Vice President Martín Vizcarra will take over as President. Some votes have been raised for new elections, but Vizcarra makes it clear that he intends to run for office until 2021. Vizcarra, who quickly left the post as ambassador to Canada, says that combating corruption will be the main focus of his government.
The President resigns
President Kuczynski resigns the day before Congress is to vote on national law, after accusations that he passed the previous state court vote through a vote. Kuczynski denies the allegations but says he does not want to stand in the way of the country’s development. The opposition party FP has published video recordings that appear to show how Kuczynski’s allies offer opposition members compensation in exchange for support in the vote.
New vote on national law
The congress decides with the votes 87-15 to hold a new vote on whether President Kuczynski should be brought before national court (see December 21, 2017), on the grounds that he received bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
Pacific free trade agreement clear
Peru, together with ten other countries, signs the Free Trade Agreement (CPTPP) (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Parthership). The agreement is also called TPP-11 and is a slightly revised version of TPP. The changes are a result of the US withdrawing from the TPP before it came into force. The CPTPP is presented as a counter to the anti-free-trade policy pursued by US President Donald Trump.
New indictment against Alberto Fujimori
A Lima court announces that ex-president Alberto Fujimori will face trial again for the murder of six farmers in 1992. According to the court, the pardon in December has no bearing on the new case. In addition to the 79-year-old Fujimori, 22 others will also be tried for the murders that must have been carried out by a death squad.
Split in the Fujimori Party
The contradictions within the People’s Force (FP) surrounding the national court process against President Kuczynski (see December 2017) lead to the party splitting and losing its majority in Congress. It comes after a decision to exclude Kenji Fujimori and two other congressmen from the party led by his sister, Keiko Fujimori. The day after the decision, Kenji Fujimori announces that he will form a new grouping in Congress along with nine other members. The new group is called the Vengadores and, according to Kenji Fujimori, will support the government, in order to promote political and economic stability. FP now has only 61 mandates and can no longer enforce laws independently.
Pope of threat to indigenous peoples
Pope Francis, who is visiting Peru, says in a speech that the people of the Amazon have never been as threatened as they are now. The Pope criticizes the financial interests that want to seize the region’s natural resources in the form of oil, gas, timber, gold and agricultural land. He also expresses himself against the “endless violence” that women are exposed to.
New demonstrations against pardon
Around the country, for the fourth time, widespread protest actions against former President Alberto Fujimori have been pardoned. Many students, trade union representatives and human rights activists are among the protesters who also demand that President Kuczynski resign. Kuczynski denies that he would have entered into a settlement with the Fujimori family.
Ministerial leave after pardon
Defense Minister Diego Nieto resigns and thus becomes the second minister to leave the government following President Kuczynski’s contentious decision to pardon ex-President Fujimori. In the past, the Minister of Culture has resigned, as has the head of the public service company. At least three congressmen from Kuczynski’s party PPK have also resigned in protest.