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March 3, 2011 13:29:46 | in politics

Peru Elections: Toledo the epicurean

It is undeniable that former president Alejandro Toledo had a favorite sport, and it wasn't playing soccer precisely... (Cartoon: Larry/La Mula)

The consumption of alcoholic beverages during Alejandro Toledo's administration (2001-2006) has always been a source of controversy, gossip and anecdotes during these last years. Very few times has the subject been dealt with serious facts. Perú21 had access to receipts that show expenses that can be considered unnecessary, especially when it comes to the consumption of a certain well known spirit.

By Carlos Castillo for Perú21
Translated and edited by Jorge Riveros-Cayo

The following information has been obtained from purchase orders and receipts to which Perú21 had access. Peru's Palacio de Gobierno, the Government Palace, bought  1,753 bottles of whisky Johnnie Walker Black Label for the president's office during the 1,826 days of the Toledo administration. Simple math will give us 350 bottles per year or 29 per month, which means almost a bottle per day (this is without taking into account the days Toledo was out of the country).

Peru Elections: Toledo the epicurean
Johnnie Walker Black Label, a favorite of Mr. President. (Photo: Internet)

It is true that, some time ago, it was revealed that ex-president Toledo was fond of fine liquor, spending a bit more than S/. 540 thousand (around $194 thousand) in booze during his administration.

What we didn't know yet was the details of that expenditure, for example, how much was spent in Johnnie Walker Black Label. A simple analysis of all receipts confirms that this whisky was included in all orderds placed. A true favorite.

For example, in a receipt numbered 001-19917 and dated August 13, 2002, 120 bottles of Johnnie Walker Black Label were purchased from a liquor store registered under the name of Bar Market EIRL. According to the information we accessed, 2002 was the year in which more whisky was bought; a total of 615 bottles, and always the same brand.

What turns out to be quite funny and contradictory is that Toledo said in a recent television interview — Prensa Libre with Rosa María Palacios — that he only drinks "three glasses of wine during the week." The question is: who was that whisky purchased for then?

But whisky is not the only thing on the list. Former president Toledo and his inner circle of collaborators had epicurean habits and very much enjoyed dining in top end restaurants. Receipts for a total of S/. 417 thousand ($150 thousand) is the proof.

Other receipts reveal quite unusual consumptions, such as one in a bar-folk club named "Calienta Negros" in the southern city of Ilo, for an amount of S/. 3,467 ($1,247) dated August 3, 2004. Another bill revealed "19 President cocktails" and "Fajita Combos" at Chili's Bar & Grill.

But of course an entertaining evening could not only include good food and drinking but also great music. Among expenditures at the Government Palace there is a contract for the folk-music duo Gaitán Castro for no less than $2,000, the renting of a baby-grand piano for S/. 2,030 ($730), the hiring of dancers for S/. 8,108 ($2,916), and a folk show from the reputed Brisas del Titicaca Association for S/. 3,200 ($1,151).

Some of these expenditures were authorized by the former chief of Government Palace's military house, General César Reynoso, who was later appointed general commander of the Peruvian army.

Last but definitely not least, there are receipts for the purchasing of perfumes Hugo Boss, Paco Rabanne, Pierre Cardin, and other well known brands. Maybe Toledo thought that having a good life was indispensable to govern the country.

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# Mike says :
7 March, 2011 [ 02:02 ]

Aside from the fact that most the liquour was likely stolen, and the Toledo likely wasn't aware of such details as who was doing the ordering or where the liquour actually went (a little too fine of detail for a President to be handling, IMHO); is it not possible that some of it was given out as gifts?  Of course, while this particular whisky impresses people because it is expensive, you would think a high-brand of Pisco might be better....

Mind you, I am sure Toledo would have drank his fair share, but I had to laugh when that stupid APRA congressman said that it was obvious that Toledo drank it all.  What an idiot.
# Jeff says :
8 March, 2011 [ 03:38 ]
He may have an alcohol problem. He got trashed in Chile in 2007 and it was all over the Chilean and Peruvian press. He had his thing with Zarai who he has denied for more than 10 yrs (that is until he was losing public support and DNA paternity test results made him stop fighting her) and had relatives involved in shady things like Forgery (firmas falsas). Not a good image for president of a country like Peru.  I doubt he drank it ALL too(everyone makes fun of Toledo for having a rep for being a drunkard), but he does have his issues. He has his demons, and we can't move forward with a guy like this in office again. And before I hear comments about how great Toledo is let me tell you this...I have lived in Peru for 2 years during his first term. Toledo was his own worst enemy. Scandals followed him left and right, violent strikes/protests, people mad that he gave himself a salary increase from 12K to 18K (US DOLLARS) in a country where 50% of the people can barely make ends meet,etc. He faced harsh criticism and by the end of the term he lost a lot of support. He left with the lowest approval rating of any president in the Americas. It was WACK.

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