Bildner Center » Events

Corrupt Circles: A History of Unbound Graft in Peru

November 14, 2008 - 5:00 pm

Alfonso W. Quiroz, Baruch College and The Graduate Center, CUNY

Discussants:
Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University
Miguel Angel Centeno, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies
Marcos Cueto, Princeton University, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, and Instituto de Estudios Peruanos

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.

Reviews:
“There is no other systematic assessment of corruption for such a long time period for Peru or, to the best of my knowledge, any other Latin American country. Quiroz’s effort is monumental and unprecedented in its span of Peruvian history.”—Cynthia McClintock, George Washington University

“The best of historical writing—clear, expository prose that combines analysis and narrative in an accessible, entertaining, and highly informative way.”—Peter Klaren, George Washington University

About the author:
Historian Alfonso W. Quiroz has authored several books and studies on institutional and economic issues of modern and colonial Latin America, particularly Peru and Cuba, including Domestic and Foreign Finance in Modern Peru, 1850-1950; The Cuban Republic and Jose Marti (co-editor); and Cuban Counterpoints: The Legacy of Fernando Ortiz (co-editor). He is also the editor of special issues of Colonial Latin American Review. He has received important honors including a 2008-2009 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship for the study of constitutional debates in the Hispanic world, and a fellowship of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC. Quiroz is professor of history at the Graduate Center and Baruch College, City University of New York, and is a fellow of the Bildner Center.