Fujimori on Trial :: Fujimori procesado

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-CONTEXT- Deciphering Montesinos’ testimony

July 4th, 2008 · No Comments

In one of the most highly anticipated moments of the human rights trial of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, imprisoned spymaster Vladimiro Montesinos took the witness stand and declared his ex-boss innocent of the charges he faces. Montesinos’ spirited defense of the former leader, as well as the constant exchange of smirks and winks between the two, has largely suggested that the once “Siamese twins” are still in cahoots.

In an interview with local newspaper La República, psychoanalyst Jorge Bruce claims that Fujimori and Montesinos are “more partners now than ever” (July 1, 2008). Director of Association Pro Human Rights, or Aprodeh, Francisco Soberón, asserts that Montesinos’ intention “was to use the trial for media publicity in order to remind Fujimori that they are still partners” (La República, July 1, 2008). Similarly, director of local daily Perú21, Augusto Álvarez Rodrich, claims that from the start of the trial session it was obvious Montesinos “went to ‘clear’ Fujimori.” Rodrich also insists that the former presidential advisor is “betting all his cards — which aren’t many — on making a good impression on the fujimoristas.” 

Indeed many analysts seem to think that an alliance with the fujimoristas could prove beneficial for Montesinos. Keiko Fujimori, the ex-president’s daughter, who has apparent plans to run in the 2011 presidential elections, has already promised to pardon her father — condemned to six years so far — if elected. Thus if Montesinos pays the favor of not incriminating Fujimori in a case that could land him up to 30 years in prison, perhaps the fujimoristas will repay the faithful henchman the favor later on if circumstances permit.

For her part, Keiko Fujimori assured the Peruvian press she had been unsure what position Montesinos would take in the trial and expressed disappointment at his decision not to continue his testimony. She was also unsure whether his short appearance actually helped her father. “For us the most important thing is to know the truth, for [Montesinos] to answer the questions. But that didn’t happen” (Perú21). Nearly three hours after announcing his decision to speak, he abruptly changed his mind and invoked his right to silence.

But Juan Paredes Castro, analyst and editor of local newspaper El Comercio, argues that Montesinos’ testimony does not help Fujimori at all:

“If there was a legal strategy coordinated to avoid incriminating Fujimori, the verbal structure and gestures that the former intelligence advisor conceived from his own personality ended up revealing the opposite. In other words, we were observing a witness-accomplice who remembered, with excruciating detail before a court, a complicit subordination.” (July 1, 2008)

Thus Paredes contends that Montesinos — often blamed by Fujimori supporters for the wrongdoings of Fujimori’s government — is strategically reminding everyone, especially the judges, of their closeness and indissoluble partnership.

What exactly did Montesinos intend with his testimony? Has he bet on the possible future power of fujimorismo to relieve him of his prison sentence or is he still puppeteering his former political advisee?