At the request of the Peruvian Congress, the United States embassy in Lima recently declassified 38 documents that cover the period of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori’s reign from 1990-2000. Specifically the documents detail the United States’ relationship with former head of Peru’s intelligence service, Vladimiro Montesinos.
Montesinos created a controversy that eventually forced both he and Fujimori to flee Peru when Montesinos was videotaped offering a congressman a $15,000 bribe. Montesinos fled to Venezuela but was extradited back to Peru in June 2001. Fujimori is currently in Japan which so far has refused to extradite him.
Montesinos was regularly plagued by accusations of human rights violations and of participating in the narcotics traffic himself (not surprisingly, Montesinos was an alumnus of United States’ School of Americas).
A 1996 message declassified by the United States calls Montesinos “a valued ally in the drug fight, but no choirboy,” adding that, “the question of whether our relationship with Montesinos will become a liability looms before us.”
Ironically, Montesinos allegedly skimmed off the anti-drug money the United States pumped into Peru to finance relatively large arms deals to provide weapons to left-wing guerillas in Colombia who the United States is now spending more than $1 billion to help that nation defeat.
Montesinos also used his position not to fight drugs, but rather to enrich himself. Montesinos received tens of millions of dollars in “protection money” from drug traffickers, and as part of that deal would direct the full force of Peruvian and United States military assets against traffickers who refused to cough up.
A drug cartel back by U.S. firepower and intelligence — thank goodness Barry McCaffrey was looking out for American interests.
US reveals ties with Montesinos. The BBC, January 8, 2002.
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