Martha Chávez

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Martha Chávez
La parlamentaria Martha Chávez Cossío (6881746214).jpg
Martha Chávez (2012)
Member of Congress
Assumed office
26 July 2011
In office
26 July 1995 – 26 July 2006
President of Congress
In office
26 July 1995 – 26 July 1996
Preceded byOffice inaugurated
Succeeded byVíctor Joy Way
Personal details
Born (1953-01-12) 12 January 1953 (age 65)
Callao, Peru
Nationality Peruvian
Political partyFuerza Popular
New Majority (until 2011)
ChildrenOne daughter
WebsiteOfficial Site

Martha Gladys Chávez Cossío de Ocampo (born 12 January 1953) is a Peruvian politician and lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for president in the 2006 presidential elections on the Alliance for the Future ticket.

Education and professional career[edit]

From 1970 to 1976, Martha Chávez studied law at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. From 1986 to 1988 she studied additionally for a master's degree in international economic law. From 1984 to 1992, she worked as an associate lawyer for a Limean law firm. From 2006 to 2010 she lectured on a part-time base at the private University San Juan Bautista.

Writing the Peruvian Constitution[edit]

After Alberto Fujimori's self-coup on April 5, 1992, Martha Chávez was made a member of the Democratic Constitutional Congress, which wrote a new constitution during the Peruvian Constitutional Crisis of 1992. Chávez personally introduced the clauses of the Peruvian Constitution that allowed Fujimori to run for a second term and suggested that she might attempt to abolish all term limits on the presidency.[1] Chávez was the first woman to be elected President of the Congress of Peru in 1995.

Congresswoman and Party politics[edit]

Chávez was first elected to Congress in 1992. She was suspended from active duty as a congresswoman in June 2001 due to charges of corruption.[2] From 1998 to 2004, she was secretary-general, from 2004 to 2011 chairwoman of the fujimorist New Majority party.

"La Cantuta" Investigation[edit]

One of her most controversial actions as congresswoman happened while the La Cantuta massacre case was making headlines in Peru. During the investigations and legal procedures, it was revealed that at least 10 people were kidnapped and killed by the Peruvian military. Chávez responded by introducing a law that prohibited the judicial powers from calling low-level military officials to testify in court cases. The resolution passed after opposition lawmakers walked out of Congress in protest.[3]

The case was dismissed on the pretext that because the location of the bodies of the murdered students and professors was unknown, the courts had no way of knowing if they ever actually existed. Chávez stated that the students must have staged their own kidnapping.[2] Soon afterwords, a journalist was anonymously sent a map of the locations of the bodies. After the unmarked graves were uncovered in the site provided on the map, Chávez responded by suggesting that the journalist be jailed because, by uncovering the graves, he had tampered with a crime scene.[4]

"Ley Colán"[edit]

Chávez introduced the controversial "Ley Colán" (Colán's Law) which mandates that in the event of a tie in the Democratic Constitutional Congress, seniority would be used to determine the winner. The Constitutional Democratic Congress had recently come to a tie as to whether or not the Attorney General, Blanca Nelida Colán, could serve a second term despite a constitutional provision that explicitly mandated that the position be filled by the Prosecutor's Board. Because those who voted for Colán to fill the position had the most seniority, Chávez's bill effectively handed Colán the position. (The Democratic Constitutional Congress was working on a new Constitution at that time, and the Constitution of 1979 had been suspended by Fujimori).[5] Colán was later imprisoned for corruption.

Comments on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights[edit]

Chávez controversially characterized the judges on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as leftist terrorist-sympathizers.[2]

2000 Presidential elections[edit]

During the 2000 elections in Peru, Chávez suggested that Fujimori would dissolve Congress if Peru 2000 did not win a majority of seats.[2] She also said that she could not rule out a fourth election of Fujimori, despite the fact that the Constitution of Peru which was written in part by Chávez herself allows presidents to be elected no more than twice in a row.[2] Indeed, Chávez had earlier promised that Fujimori would not run in the 2000 elections.

Presidential Candidate[edit]

In addition to Alliance for the Future, Chávez is also affiliated with Alberto Fujimori's Sí Cumple party.

While Chávez backed Fujimori's own bid for the presidency, she decided to run a separate campaign after the National Jury of Elections banned Fujimori's name from the ballot, citing a political and congressional ban on his participation in Peruvian politics until 2011. Her running-mate in the election was Santiago Fujimori, Alberto Fujimori's brother.

She was never expected to win in the election, and came in fourth place after receiving 7.4% of the vote.

Post 2006 political career[edit]

Chávez remains a visible spokeswoman for the Alliance for the Future ticket and for Fujimorismo in general. After a band of Fujimori sympathizers held a guard at gunpoint and heavily damaged the "Ojo Que Llora" ("Crying Eye"), a memorial to the victims of Peru's Internal War that included the names of victims of government death squads that operated under Fujimori such as Grupo Colina, Chávez said that she applauded the attack, and called the memorial "a garbage monument".

In the 2011 parliamentary election she was elected to the Congress on the Fuerza 2011 list, representing Lima for the 2011-2016 term.


  1. ^ Conaghan, Catherine M. (2005). Fujimori's Peru: Deception in the Public Sphere. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 57
  2. ^ a b c d e Schmidt, Gregory D. "All the President's Women" in The Fujimori Legacy: The Rise of Authoritarian Democracy in Peru (2006). University Park, PA: Penn State Press.
  3. ^ Conaghan, Catherine M. (2005). Fujimori's Peru: Deception in the Public Sphere. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 69
  4. ^ Conaghan, Catherine M. (2005). Fujimori's Peru: Deception in the Public Sphere. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 72
  5. ^ Conaghan, Catherine M. (2005). Fujimori's Peru: Deception in the Public Sphere. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 80

External links[edit]