South America: Flair, Firmness And Ideas

Peru's young President raises new hopes

The noontime sun beat down on a weather-beaten throng of 20,000 assembled in the dusty market town of Casa Grande. Normally toiling in nearby sugarcane fields, the villagers stood in the withering heat waiting for an apparition from the sky. As a whining white air force helicopter came into view, the crowd spotted the broad, beaming face of President Alan García Pérez, waving a white handkerchief in greeting. "Alan!" thundered the crowd as the helicopter set down in a swirl of dust. "Alan! Alan!"

After wading to the platform through a sea of outstretched hands, the lanky, self-assured García, 36, delivered...

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