The Return of Alan García
In the first round of presidential elections in April 2006, voters chose a former army officer, Ollanta Humala, from among 20 candidates. But in the second round in June, former president Alan García, whose 1985–1990 administration left Peru in economic ruin, made a startling comeback, winning with 52.6% of the votes. Election analysts have suggested that voters felt Humala, a former military leader who had once led a coup, was unpredictable and capable of eroding Peru's democracy, and that García, despite his proven economic incompetence and a reputation for corruption, was the marginally better bet.
In Aug. 2007, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck 95 miles southeast of Lima, killing at least 430 people and leveling churches and homes.
In Sept. 2007, Chile's Supreme Court approved the extradition of former president Alberto Fujimori to Peru in order to try him on charges of corruption and human rights abuses. He had been in Chile since 2005, when he was detained after stopping there on his way from voluntary exile in Japan back to Peru in order to attempt a political comeback.
On Oct. 10, 2008, García's entire cabinet was forced to resign over an oil corruption scandal. On Oct. 11, 2008, in an attempt to regain popularity, President García appointed a leftist regional governor, Yehude Simon, as his prime minister—a move that shocked many. García's popularity took a hit in 2009 when he passed land laws that allowed large sections of the Amazon to be auctioned off to oil and gas companies. Violent protests against the laws broke out in the Amazon, and Simon resigned in July 2009 after he negotiated a settlement that included repeal of the laws. García replaced Simon with Javier Velásquez .
In April 2009, after a televised trial that lasted 16 months, Alberto Fujimori was found guilty of human rights abuses and corruption. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Three months later, he was convicted of illegally paying off his former intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, with $15 million in state funds. Montesinos is serving a prison term for corruption.