A new book by historian Alfonso W. Quiroz overturns several conventional assumptions about corruption in Peru, most notably that it’s a hidden crime of recent provenance.
Corrupt Circles: A History of Unbound Graft in Peru
Written by Alfonso W. Quiroz
Copub.: Johns Hopkins University Press
As Peru prosecutes former president Alberto Fujimori and other alleged participants in state crimes, the country’s longstanding culture of impunity is under attack, and the subject of corruption has acquired a new prominence, both in Peru and in Latin America more broadly. In Corrupt Circles Alfonso W. Quiroz gives a definitive and thorough history of Peruvian corruption that dates back to the country’s colonial period. He demonstrates how corruption has been deeply embedded in Peru’s state institutions and has damaged the country’s prospects, and he offers a comprehensive estimate of the costs of corruption to the country’s development. Far from being a hidden crime, the author finds, corruption is well documented throughout Peru’s history in the records of its opponents in government, journalism, and diplomacy. The pervasiveness of corruption has been aided by the readiness of both Peruvians and the international community to turn a blind eye.