Pick a street light. Look at the taped signs.
“Fujimori innocent! He saved Peru from chaos and destruction. Freedom for Fujimori!”
“Fujimori, the grand Peacemaker! His government captured Abimael Guzman Reynoso and Victor Polay Campos, the leaders of the Shining Path and the Revolutionary Movement of Tupac Amaru. Both unhurt without a scratch. Putting an end to the terror. Bringing peace back to the country.”
Pockets of “fujimoristas,” or those loyal to former Peruvian President Alberto K. Fujimori, still exist.
Just two years into Fujimori´s 10-year stint as president (1990-2000), the leader of the Shining Path – Abimael Guzman Reynoso – was captured. Guzman´s capture essentially crippled the violent insurgent movement. According to the Journal of Politics, opinion polls ranked “the defeat of terrorism” as the second most important reason for Fujimori´s re-election in 1995. When he won again in 2000, the justification ranked first.
But in the months leading up to his election in 2000, Fujimori faced a growing chorus of dissenting voices decrying corruption within the highest ranks of his government. The controversy climaxed in September 2000, when videotapes surfaced showing one of his most closest advisors – Vladimiro Montesinos – bribing politicians from the opposition to support Fujimori. Montesinos fled to Venezuela. Fujimori fled to Japan.
Almost eight years later, Fujimori stands trial. He faces charges of corruption and human rights violations, including alleged command responsibility for the actions of the Colina death squad. Colina, formed during Fujimori´s era to eliminate the Shining Path, is responsible for two massacres – Barrios Altos in 1991 and La Cantuta in 1992. Fujimori claims to have known nothing about Colina, an independent group with connections to the Peruvian military. Former members of the military and Colina say otherwise. On Wednesday, Montesinos will give his much-awaited testimony before the Fujimori tribunal. Previous witnesses have claimed Montesinos informed Fujimori about Colina´s actions.
What does the Fujimori trial mean for human rights in Peru? If Fujimori is convicted, will this lead to further investigations into the actions of the military under former presidents Fernando Belaunde Terry (1980-1985) and Alan Garcia (1985-1990, 2006-present)? Is there political will in Peru to seek justice on behalf of those innocently killed? Have Peru´s political parties, like APRA under Garcia, taken responsibility for the excesses of the military? Starting today, I will examine these issues through interviews of professionals working within the human rights field in Peru. The following interview is the first of what I hope to be periodic interviews on the topic, placing EPAF´s work in a richer context.
Meet Jaime Urrutia Ceruti. Urrutia´s life was changed forever by the civil war, an experience that informed his later work with the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. His life in danger, Urrutia fled to France before returning to Peru. Part I examines the impact of the civil war on Urrutia´s life. Part II examines his opinions regarding the potential impact of the Fujimori trial.
Question: For my next interview, what should I ask? What would you like to know?[youtube]1DLtj3d8nbw[/youtube]
Posted By Ash Kosiewicz
Posted Jun 16th, 2008