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2/25/16

Cesar Acuña: The fall of a sociopath

What If I told you:


  • That a successful academic, who built on his academic success by founding a university and making himself very rich indeed, was running for the Presidency of your country.
  • That he was running second in voter intention polls with just three months to go before the vote.
  • That suddenly people found out that his academic background was suspect, including an extremely strong case of plagiarism (we covered on IKN right here on January 27th) in his Master's degree.
  • That further investigation found evidence of plagiarism in his original bachelor's degree.
  • Then when it seemed it couldn't get any worse, he was found to have taken a academic-level book written by his university professor, changed the name of the author to his own, then passed it off as his own work for 15 years, including several new editions.
  • But when faced with that latest charge of intellectual theft, he held a press conference to show, via a document he waved to the press corps but didn't let them see close-up, he had permission to co-author the book from his professor, something that the professor strenuously denies.
  • And as cherry on top of the cake, when people started investigating the document used by the candidate as evidence he was in the right, they found that the professor's signature had been forged. 

That man is César Acuña.

Sorry people, you up there don't have the monopoly on weird-ass election candidates, the 2016 Peru Presidential election is almost as much fun. The fall of César Acuña, up to this year one of Peru's apparent "success story" businesspeople, has been the classic cliché witnessing of the slow motion car wreck, the man's reputation is in ruins. And despite overwhelming evidence of his academic cheating he simply denies it all, for example the lifting of six pages of somebody else's work in his Master's thesis without any footnoting, credit or acknowledgement was called "an error, not plagiarism". Yesterday his deputy Vice-Presidential candidate resigned from the party ticket and the the Peruvian Electoral Ethics Committee described him as "unfit for office". 

The good news in all this is that the Peruvian citizenry are not stupid and his voter intention has dropped off a cliff, from 15% and 12% to 6% as per last weekend. As for who will make the second round run-off, it's looking more and more like Keiko Fujimori versus the surprise outsider Julio Guzmán, who got the green light to remain in the race yesterday from the Peru election people after some iffy 2015 part paperwork was cleared up.