Peruvian Prime Minister Aníbal Torres cited Nazi Germany and the road building program of Adolf Hitler’s government as a role model on Thursday (7). His words immediately elicited boos from opponents, government politicians, and the German embassy in Lima.
Torres, President Pedro Castillo’s right-hand man, was taking part in a plenary session in the city of Huancayo.
He said the following: “I give you an example: Italy and Germany were like us, but on one occasion Adolf Hitler visited northern Italy and [Benito] Mussolini showed him a motorway built from Milan to Brescia; Hitler saw it and went home, filling it with highways and airports, and turning Germany into the world’s largest economic power.
This is not the first time that Torres, the 79-year-old lawyer, has mentioned Hitler. In March, former President Alberto Fujimori compared the imprisoned to the Nazi leader, saying that he “judges no one by their good deeds, but by their bad deeds.”
The German diplomatic mission in Peru said on its Facebook page: “Hitler was a fascist dictator and a mass murderer, and in his name Germany fought the worst war of all time, exterminating six million Jews. Faced with this scenario, Hitler is not a reference in anything.”
The Israeli embassy reported that the Mussolini and Hitler regimes were neither an example of prosperity nor progress. “We regret that the Peruvian political discourse includes references to Hitler and Mussolini as examples of prosperity. Death and terror regimes cannot be proof of progress,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
Hours later, at the conclusion of the cabinet session and in the presence of Castillo, Torres apologized to the Israeli ambassador and asked for a conversation.
“If we give an example of German progress on the roads, this is a real fact. This does not mean that Adolf Hitler is not considered a major criminal,” he added.
Peruvian politicians’ reactions
“What Prime Minister Aníbal Torres said, praising Hitler’s genocide, offended thousands of Peruvians,” said Peruvian Congress President Maria del Carmen Alva.
Deputy Government Alex Flores also condemned Torres’ speech, which he described as embarrassing. “Now we understand where the wrong actions come from [do governo] Like a frustrating curfew.”
“We would have preferred not to refer to Hitler’s statesmanship. It is folly that offends the six million victims of the Jewish genocide,” said Fernando Cavallo, RPP’s morning radio and television host.
Hitler began building highways in 1933. Although it was not an original idea, as other highways had been built in Germany before, the Nazis highlighted them in their propaganda as a symbol of the greatness of the Third Reich.
Nearly 4,000 kilometers of “Autobahnen” (“highway” in German) were built until construction was halted in 1941 due to World War II.
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