The Israeli Embassy in Lima led a wave of protests after Peruvian Prime Minister Aníbal Torres praised Adolf Hitler, claiming that the fascist dictator had made Germany the “first economic power in the world”. world “.
In a week in which Pedro Castillo’s government has been plunged into a political crisis caused by rising fuel and fertilizer prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and the clumsy efforts of the president to quell the unrest — Torres’s ill-timed remark on Thursday drew opprobrium from all quarters.
“Regimes of death and terror cannot be a sign of progress,” read the statement from the Israeli Embassy. “Hitler was responsible for the deaths of six million Jews, praising him is an offense to the victims of this world tragedy.”
Speaking in Huancayo, the Andean city at the center of ongoing protests against soaring inflation, Torres hailed Hitler’s road-building initiatives and Italy’s example of infrastructure construction. under wartime dictator Benito Mussolini.
“On one occasion Hitler visited northern Italy and Mussolini showed him a highway built from Milan to Brescia. Hitler saw it and went to his country and filled it with highways, d airports and made Germany the leading economic power in the world. We have to make an effort, make sacrifices to improve our roads,” he said.
The 79-year-old lawyer later said his remarks were misunderstood but offered to apologize in person to Israel’s ambassador, Asaf Ichilevich.
However, the Jewish Association of Peru said it was not the first time Peruvian politicians had made such remarks. “The seriousness of these expressions does not deserve explanations or half-apologies.”
Lawmaker Ed Málaga, who lived in Germany for 21 years, wrote an open letter to Torres asking him to apologize to the German people. “The political crisis with this government has reached the point of no return,” said Málaga, of the centrist Morado party.
The German Embassy in Lima said in a statement: “Adolf Hitler was a fascist and genocidal dictator, in whose name the worst war ever was waged from Germany and the genocide of six million Jews was been committed”.
“In this context, Hitler is not the right reference as an example of any kind,” he added.