Peru is divided by the pardoning of the former President
Alberto Fujimori, the former president of Peru, was pardoned by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the President-in-office. Fujimori left prison after spending 10 years there and avoided the remaining 15 years of imprisonment for corruption and murder. Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the Nobel prize in Literature, stated that Kuczynski had betrayed millions of Peruvians who voted for him in the presidential election.
The Odebrecht case
Father of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was a Polish-German emigrant of Jewish descent. Current President of Peru worked at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He was elected in 2016. On November 14, 2017, it was revealed that Kuczynski’s Westfield Capital LTD company was to receive more than USD 782,000 from the Brazilian construction concern Odebrecht in exchange for consultancy. Kuczynski was the Finance Minister back then. His associate’s company received a payment of $4 million. At the beginning the President of Peru denied that he had any relationship with the Brazilian construction giant. Later he defended the legality of the contracts. He explained that he had not run the company himself because at that time he had been active in the public sector and he had not been able to take responsibility for the decisions of his business partner.
The Odebrecht case is the biggest corruption scandal in America, and Kuczynski’s explanation was not enough. What is more, the former President of Peru (2011-2016) Ollanta Humala is currently imprisoned awaiting a trial because of accusations of accepting $3 million for the presidential campaign from the same company.
A vote of confidence
Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Albert Fujimori, is now a leader of the Popular Force party, which has the majority in the National Congress of Peru. When unclear connections between Kuczynski and the Odebrecht company came to light, she tabled a motion to dismiss him from the Presidential Office.
It would not be surprising if it was not for the fact that she is also suspected of accepting a bribe from Odebrecht and she was recently interrogated about the case.
– Keiko tried to hide her own connections to the Odebrecht case and planned to release her father from prison – says Julio Arbizu, a well-known Peruvian lawyer.
Keiko Fujimori denies allegations of corruption She wrote on her Twitter account that ‘Marcelo Odebrecht speculates in my case, shows intentions, not facts. He does not know me, and he did not give me any money.’
Voting on the vote of confidence took place on December 22. Eighty-seven votes were enough to dismiss Kuczynski from the office of the President. Keiko Fujimori’s party had 71 votes and could count on the support of several deputies from other parties. However, the result of voting was to some extent surprising. It turned out that Keiko’s brother and nine other members of the Popular Force abstained.
An escape to Japan
Alberto Fujimori, son of Japanese immigrants, was elected the President of Peru on July 28, 1990. He defeated the well-known Peruvian writer Maria Vargas Llosa in the second round of elections. Fujimori introduced a savings program that increased corruption, and began a fight against terrorist organizations. He also dissolved the Parliament and led to the next elections. It resulted in the adoption of the new constitution that allowed him to be re-elected. The opposition accused him of dictatorship and violating human rights.
On November 17, 2000, Alberto Fujimori fled to Japan. He was accused of corruption. Fujimori sent a fax declaring resignation from the office. Peruvian Parliament rejected his resignation and removed him from the office itself. For some time, Fujimori had been hiding in Tokyo and then planned to go to Chile, where he wanted to run a presidential campaign from. When he arrived in Chile he was arrested as the authorities recognized the international arrest warrant issued for him. The Peruvian government has requested an extradition of Fujimori, claiming that he had committed many crimes.
Murders and kidnappings
On November 3, 1991, during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori, some residents organized a party on the first floor of a building in Barrios Altos, one of the poorer districts of Lima. At 11.30pm six armed men entered the building and shot 15 people suspected of having relationships with the Shining Path terrorist group. There was a four-year-old boy among the victims. Four people were wounded. The attackers were identified as members of the Grupo Colina, a paramilitary division of Peruvian army. It turned out that they planned to attack the terrorists, but they mistook the floor.
On July 18, 1992, two days after the bomb explosion in Lima, members of the Grupo Colina broke into the territory of the National University of Education Enrique Guzman y Valle (also known as La Cantuta). Based on denunciations, they selected eight students and a professor suspected of bombing. They were kidnapped, tortured and murdered. The military were following orders of Vladimiro Montesinos, the head of the Peru’s intelligence service Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional, under the President Fujimori. The Supreme Council of Military Justice sentenced ten people from Grupo Colina to imprisonment from one to twenty years. However, the convicts were granted amnesty in 1995 and left the prison. When Alberto Fujimori’s trial started in Peru, it was proved that he had known about the plans of Grupo Civil and ordered the military to kidnap his critics – a journalist Gustavo Gorriti and a businessman Samuel Dyer Ampudia. Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment.
The lawyers proved in other court cases against the former President, that Fujimori embezzled $15 million from the public treasury, bribed journalists and politicians and wiretapped phones. He financed the newspapers supporting his candidacy for the money allocated to army and intelligence. He also ordered one of the soldiers to impersonate the prosecutor and break into theTrinidad Beccery’s house, the wife of the former President’s adviser Vladimir Montesinos, to get rid of the so-called ‘vladvideos’.
Kenji Fujimoro, the son of the convicted President, got the largest number of votes in the last Congressional election. He was not able to arrange with his sister the way to free their father from prison. He thought that getting along with President Kuczynski is the right option. Keiko Fujimoro, on the other hand, tried to put pressure on the government. As the leader of the most influential party in 130-members Congress, she led to the dismissal of several ministers and two Prime Ministers appointed by the President within a year. Kenji wrote on Twitter that he disagreed with his sister, who only thought about destroying the ministers of Kuczynski’s government. When a vote of no confidence for a Prime Minister Fernando Zavala was organized, Kenji showed him his support by taking a photo together. Keiko did not forget that and in July her brother was suspended as a party member for 60 days. In return he met the current President in September.
The betrayal of Kenji in the vote on Kuczynski’s dismissal from the office of the President was a humiliation for Keiko Fujimori. She lost the presidential election in Peru twice, in 2011 and 2016. She then claimed that she was also running in the elections so that her father would leave prison, because he became a victim of a fight for political influence in Peru. Meanwhile, the Peruvians began to wonder if she really wanted it. She would have lost the position of the leader instead.
Kuczynski saved his office probably for the promise of pardoning Albert Fujimori. On December 24, the former President was moved from prison to a hospital. President Kuczynski explained that Fujimori was in poor condition. However, after the announcement of the act of grace, hundreds of people started to protest on the streets and several ministers resigned.
Now Kuczynski and Mercedes Aráoz, the Prime Minister of Peru, are working on a creation of the new Council of Ministers. They will inform about planned changes soon.
– I think that the political fight took away a chance to recover fromus – Aráoz said. – We need forgiveness. I think there are people in Peru who are seeking reconciliation.