Participation of the National Solidarity Party in the 2000 elections and in current campaign; reports of problems or mistreatment of its members or supporters [PER36389.E]

The National Solidarity Party (Partido Solidaridad Nacional, PSN) participated in the April 2000 general elections with a list of candidates for the presidency and vice-presidencies, and a list of candidates for Congress. The PSN, headed by Luis Castañeda Lossio and considered early in the campaign as one of the main contenders in the opposition, was described as follows:

Luis Castañeda Lossio, former director of the Peruvian Social Security Institute, has established a reputation as an effective manager who wants to eliminate poverty. During the last half of 1999, he profited from [Lima mayor and presidential candidate] Andrade's declining popularity. However, he has lost appeal due to his limited assertiveness. In the February polls, he placed fourth in the electoral preferences.
The candidate for the first vice-presidency, Eduardo Farah, is a former president of the National Manufactures Association and a harsh critic of Fujimori's economic policies. Graciela Fernández Baca, a well-known Congresswoman who ran as vice-presidential candidate for Unión por el Perú (UPP) led by Javier Pérez de Cuéllar in 1995, is running as second vice-president for PSN (FOCAL Mar. 2000, 4).

The PSN did not win enough votes to pass on to the second round of voting in the presidential election, but five of its congressional candidates were elected to office, including first vice-presidential candidate Eduardo Farah (Bayly 29 Jan. 2001, 1). Once elected, Farah and two other PSN congressmen named Mendoza and Pollack deserted the opposition to align themselves with the pro-Fujimori camp, earning the adjective tránsfugas (ibid.). Castañeda explained in an interview that until their desertion, the tránsfugas had "impeccable credentials" and that he couldn't have foreseen such an act (ibid.).

Numerous reports indicate that the 2000 electoral campaign that began in 1999 and the election held in two rounds in April and May 2000 had many problems, including attacks against the opposition and fraud. A general description of the problems reported during the campaign and the election of 2000 can be found in the Human Rights Watch 26 September 2000 report Peru's Political Crisis and its World Report 2001, an information archive sponsored by Queen's University and the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) called Peru Election 2000, and the University of Texas Latin American Network Information Centre (LANIC) Electoral Observatory (see reference list), among others.

Referring specifically to the PSN, Peru Election 2000 reports the following:

On 9 September, 1999, Luis Castañeda Lossio and officials of his political organization, Partido Solidaridad Nacional (PSN), held a news conference in Lima. At the news conference, Castañeda Lossio showed videotape that he offered as evidence of the harassment to which he had been subject during the course of his exploratory campaign for the presidency at various locations throughout Peru. Castañeda Lossio charged that government officials were orchestrating the harassment.
Fernando Dianderas, the director general of the National Police of Peru, immediately refuted the PSN charges that his organization had been involved in harassing the Castañeda Lossio campaign. He maintained that the incidents on the tape showed the police carrying out normal duties related to public safety. Dianderas reaffirmed the commitment of the National Police to protect candidates and safeguard their right to campaign freely.
Luis Castañeda Lossio subsequently turned over the videotape, along with other evidence of harassment, to the national election observation organization, Transparencia. Transparencia is an independent non-governmental organization; it is spearheading the domestic election observation efforts in Peru. Castañeda and the PSN requested that Transparencia investigate the incidents and make a judgment on the veracity of the evidence. After conducting field investigations of the incidents, Transparencia made the results of its report public on 29 October, 1999.
Transparencia's independent investigation did confirm that the events on the videotape took place and expressed concern regarding some of the impediments to free campaigning shown in the video. Transparencia turned over the evidence and its findings to the Jurado Nacional de Elecciones (JNE) and urged the JNE to further investigate and take appropriate action. In early November, the JNE sent the Castañeda Lossio materials to the Public Ministry for further investigation (13 July 2000).

Peru Elections 2000 includes link to view the video mentioned above and a link to the Transparencia report. However, the Research Directorate was unable to access nor review either within the time constraints of this Response.

In its 9 September 1999 issue, the Peruvian weekly Caretas also reports on organized harassment of Castañeda's campaign entourage, reporting on groups of "counter-demonstrators" (contramanifestantes), unidentified men following and filming his entourage, and provocations bordering on violent confrontations. Upon his return from campaigning in the a central jungle area, at the Lima airport, a police officer with no apparent reason made a public announcement identifying Castañeda's car (ibid.).

On 5 December Castañeda himself, brandishing a fake gun, captured one of two armed men on a motorcycle who had been stalking and harassing his wife (ibid. 9 Dec. 1999). The man was taken to a police station, and eventually identified as a policeman working for a state intelligence service (ibid.).

Please note that a detailed review of reports on the campaign for the 2000 general elections could not be done within the time constraints of this Response.

Castañeda is currently running in the 2001 presidential elections with Máximo San Román as his candidate for the first vice-presidency and Mirtha Ortiz for the second vice-presidency (APRODEH 9 Jan. 2001). Although in late January a poll showed that only 5 per cent of voters intended to vote for him, his hope was to garner enough votes to go on to a second round of voting (to take place between the two candidates who garnered the highest number of votes, if no candidate secures more than half of all votes in the first round) (Bayly 29 Jan. 2001, 2). No PSN congressional candidates for the 2001 elections are reported (PSN Jan. 2001; La República Feb. 2001).

Castañeda is reportedly basing his campaign on four main issues: employment and the economy, social justice, strengthening of institutions and decentralization of power, and fighting against corruption and crime (PSN Jan. 2001). One report states that his government plan is based on responsible management of state finances, infrastructure improvement, support for certain sectors of society, and employment generation through small enterprise, tourism and exports (Expreso 7 Jan. 2001).

In January 2001 Castañeda publicly demanded that former president and presidential candidate Alan García submit himself to the authorities and respond to earlier accusations of illicit enrichment during his administration, instead of running again for president (AutoNoticias 19 Jan. 2001). The PSN candidate also criticized the interim government for dropping charges against García (ibid.).

Earlier, Castañeda had criticized the use of the state television channel to provide free full coverage of a ceremony headed by presidential contender Alejandro Toledo (Expreso 7 Jan. 2001). He also called on the special prosecutor investigating former presidential advisor Vladimiro Montesinos to voluntarily reduce his salary of US$476,000, which he decried as excessive (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH), Lima. 9 January 20001. "JNE recibió inscripción de 17 planchas presidenciales."> [Accessed 22 Feb. 2001]

AutoNoticias [Lima]. 19 January 2001. "Alan García le debe una exlpicación al país." [Accessed 22 Feb. 2001]

Bayly, Jaime. 29 January 2001. Artículo Semanal. "Castañeda no se rinde." [Accessed 21 Feb. 2001]
Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL), Ottawa. March 2000.

Peru's 2000 Presidential Election: Undermining Confidence in Democracy?

Caretas [Lima]. 9 December 1999. "Cazando al Acosador." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2001]

_____. 9 September 1999. "Si esto no es acoso." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2001]

Expreso [Lima]. 7 January 2001. "Castañeda denuncia uso de recursos del Estado a favor de Toledo." [Accessed 22 Feb. 2001]
Human Rights Watch (HRW), New York. December 2000.

World Report 2001.

_____. 26 September 2000. Peru's Political Crisis. [Accessed 21 Feb. 2001]

La República [Lima]. February 2001. "Elecciones 2001: Las Listas Inscritas." [Accessed 21 Feb. 2001]

Partido Solidaridad Nacional (PSN), Lima. January 2001. [Accessed 22 Feb. 2001]

Peru Election 2000 [Kingston]. 13 July 2000. "Introduction to the Castañeda Lossio Video." [Accessed 21 Feb. 2001]

University of Texas Latin America Network Information Center (LANIC), Houston. 2001. Electoral Observatory. [Accessed 22 Feb. 2001]