Peru. The criticism of breach of legal principles and
human rights directed at President Alberto Fujimori since he
came to power in 1990 concentrated on two themes during the
year: his possible re-election in 2000 and the head of the
military intelligence service, Vladimiro Montesinos.
Supreme Court's decision on February 10 that Fujimori's
candidacy is legal was, according to the opposition, a
result of the president's power over the judiciary and
something that undermines the legal community. Montesinos
was accused by anonymous leavers of imperial power and
illegal telephone interception by Fujimori's political
opponents. As a gesture to the opposition, a new Prime
Minister, Javier Valle Riestra, one of Fujimori's opponents,
was appointed in June. However, he resigned shortly
thereafter and was replaced by former Prime Minister Alberto
During the year, a peace agreement was reached with
Ecuador on the jungle area that the two countries fought in
1995. The conflict, which has caused eight wars since
independence, is based largely on Ecuador's demand for
access to the Amazon River system, which is believed to be
stipulated in the so-called Rio Protocol of 1942. However,
this would mean Peruvian land withdrawals, which Peru
completely rejected. In October, after many rounds, an
agreement was signed that largely gave Peru the right, but
which also meant some concessions to Ecuador, among other
things. sailed freely on Peruvian waterways to the Amazon
1989 Fujimori President
Up until the 1989 elections, three political sectors were
active in the legal political scene: Former Trotskyist,
author and now rabid rightist, Mario Vargas Llosa had led
the oligarchy crusade against Alan Garcia's "socialism" and
formed FREDEMO (Frente Democrático, the Democratic Front).
The left wing that had been united in the early 1980's was
now divided - between the "united" led by Henry
Pease and the "socialist" led by Lima's former mayor Alfonso
Barrantes. Finally, a few months before the election,
unknown agronomist Alberto Fujimori had entered the
political scene and had formed Cambio 90. The voters were
apparently tired of the traditional political parties on
both the right and left. Fujimori was elected with 56.4% of
Fujimori was deployed in July 1990 and immediately
implemented a very tight anti-inflationary plan to curb the
country's towering inflation. This "fuji shock" worsened the
living conditions of most Peruvians, throwing half the
population into extreme poverty. The country's 4 trade
unions organized "marches against hunger". In parliament,
Fujimori did not have a majority, and instead he began to
govern through decrees. On April 5, 92, he conducted a coup
d'etat and dissolved parliament with the allegation that it
was ineffective, corrupt and hindered the country's
reconstruction. The United States immediately interrupted
its financial and military assistance to the country, but
soon began new negotiations. In late April, the IMF approved
the government's economic and structural reform program.
In September, the military succeeded in capturing Abimael
Guzmán - founder and leader of Sendero Luminoso. It was a
severe blow to the guerrilla that was further split when
Guzmán declared himself ready to enter into peace talks with
the government. But the guerrillas had been heavily squeezed
before then. Despite the (thin) democratic facade, the
military was the real ruler in most of Peru's provinces.
There was a military state of emergency, the military forced
the peasants into rondas campesinas (so-called
self-defense groups), which were used both for self-defense
against Sendero's assaults and for attacks on the
civilian population in the areas where the guerrillas had
influence. Meanwhile, the military made its own systematic
violations of human rights.
The terror had already in the late 1980's forced
Sendero to revise its original Maoist strategy of
concentrating the struggle in rural areas to surround and
crush the cities. The guerrillas tried to recruit students
and people - especially rural refugees - into urban slums.
In the process, the organization clashed with traditional
left-wing organizations and did not refrain from executing
left-wing leaders when they did not move to Sendero's side.
In the November 92 elections, Fujimori succeeded in
obtaining his own party majority in the Constitutional
Assembly, but the election was also boycotted in protest of
the traditional parties.
In early 1995, Peru and Ecuador waged an unexplained war
along their common border in the Condor Mountains. The war
was partly about control over an area of oil reserves and
partly to secure the ailing popularity of both presidents.
Peace negotiations were subsequently conducted with
Argentina, Brazil, Chile and the United States as
At the April presidential election, Fujimori won over his
counterpart, former UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de
Cuéllar. That same year, the president granted amnesty to
all military and police officials convicted since 1980 for
human rights violations in the fight against the guerrillas.
Meanwhile, the "neglected" judges continued their work. In
1992-95, 2000 people were convicted by judges who were
behind a screen to prevent identification.
In December 96, a commando group from the MRTA occupied
the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima while hosting a
major reception. 450 guests were taken hostage and released
little by little. The guerrilla demands were the release of
imprisoned comrades, but the action failed. On April 22, 97
- 126 days after the start of the action - the Peruvian
military stormed the embassy and liquidated the 14
partisans. One hostage out of the remaining 72 was killed
and two police officers. Fujimori received support for the
action from 65% of the population in subsequent polls.
Peru's constitution prohibits re-election of the
president for a third term, but in 96 Fujimori took the
preliminary steps to clear this obstacle of the road. In May
97, he removed those members of the Constitutional Court who
had declared in December that the Constitution banned the
re-election of him.
Amnesty International condemned that in the previous 5
years, 5,000 Peruvians had been arrested and jailed under
anti-terrorist law. Of these, 1400 had been unfairly
imprisoned, and by the end of 97 600 political prisoners
were still imprisoned.