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1992 coup was organized by Fujimori, Montesinos and Hermoza

July 9th, 2008 · 1 Comment

(Gen. Nicolás de Bari Hermoza Ríos. Photo: Judicial Power)

July 6, 2008

Seventy-ninth session. Former Gen. Nicolás De Bari Hermoza Ríos testified during this session. Hermoza was the Army Commander General from Dec. 19, 1991 to Aug. 20, 1998 and President of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces from January 1992 until 1998.

The general, who should have retired in 1992, is currently being tried for human rights violations and corruption and is represented by the same lawyer as Alberto Fujimori. Hermoza contradicted the testimony given by Fujimori, who said that he had found out about the La Cantuta crime through the media. The witness also admitted having formed a triumvirate of power in Peru, along with former President Fujimori and Vladimiro Montesinos.


1. Hermoza’s testimony– The most relevant parts of the witness’ second examination session for the trial were:


Meeting between Fujimori, Montesinos and Hermoza to take “exceptional measures”


Regarding the coup d’état in 1992, the witness said that in “February or March 1992” in a meeting at the Government Palace, where Montesinos was also present, Alberto Fujimori revealed his willingness to take “exceptional measures,” including the dissolution of Congress. According to Hermoza, he was called by Fujimori since “he was going to take a historic and very significant decision.”

At this meeting, Fujimori put Montesinos in charge of the “political part” and Hermoza in charge of the “military part,” in order to carry out the actions necessary for the April 5, 1992 coup.

Shining Path did not achieve strategic equilibrium


One of the arguments Fujimori gave in defense of the 1992 coup is that the subversive group Shining Path had reached strategic equilibrium, which put the Peruvian Rule of Law at risk. However, according to Hermoza, though Shining Path had control over certain zones in the country’s interior, the armed group never reached strategic equilibrium.


Relationship between Hermoza and Montesinos


According to the witness, Montesinos is a conniving person who abused power without permission from authorities. Furthermore, Hermoza claimed that his removal from the army was the result of a conspiracy Montesinos had contrived: “he had the ability to win himself a political space and weight in the intelligence system […] Montesinos had a lot of weight, a lot of influence in the intelligence system. I don’t want to use the expression ‘de facto chief.’ He directed the intelligence activities. His power emerged from the ability he had to earn himself this space. He had gravitational weight in all the state institutions. Montesinos saw to intelligence.”


Hermoza also said that it was Montesinos’ scheming that caused his own removal from the Presidency of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces in 1998. Some of these schemes included leaking private matters to the press, such as: 1) the video of a meeting with Fujimori in Hermoza’s residence in Chorrillos after the 1992 coup, 2) conversations Hermoza had with Montesinos after the coup attempt by Gen. Jaime Salinas Sedó on Nov. 13, 1992, 3) the diffusion of a private meeting to celebrate his birthday in 1997.


However, despite these intrigues, Hermoza also testified: “What was bad was the exercise of power. The intelligence work [that Montesinos did] was efficient, useful; it wasn’t bad.”


Correction in testimony about Montesinos’ mismanagement

Despite having the same lawyer — César Nakazaki — since 2001, Hermoza said during this session that his testimony in 2001 were inaccurate, since these had been deductions resulting from an “emotional burden” that he was experiencing. For this reason, he “corrected” his declaration regarding Montesinos’ mismanagement in Fujimori. Nakazaki was not representing former President Fujimori at the time of Hermoza’s former testimony.


Hermoza asserted on Jan. 26, 2001 before a representative from the Public Prosecutor’s Office that Montesinos was the “valid spokesperson” between Alberto Fujimori and the Armed Forces. However, Hermoza now states that “Mr. Vladimiro Montesinos never gave me an order from the President […] It was an interpretation, a speculation on my part at a time when I was under a lot of pressure. Mr. Montesinos never gave me a presidential order.”


On Santiago Martín Rivas


Hermoza testified that he met Santiago Martín Rivas in a command meeting held in June 1991 in the Army General Command where Martín Rivas explained the Shining Path. Hermoza said the presentation was “very good” since it was “up-to-date and based on Shining Path internal documents, the organization, doctrine and command.”


On the La Cantuta crime: Contradiction with Fujimori


Regarding the La Cantuta crime, Hermoza said that as Commander General of the Armed Forces, he found out the day after the crime through information given to him by Montesinos. It was also Montesinos who told Alberto Fujimori since he had found out much earlier that morning. However, Fujimori testified during this same trial that he found out about the La Cantuta crime through the media.


Kidnappings in the SIE basements


Concerning the arrest order signed by Hermoza, presented in this hearing by another witnesses, the general admitted he signed a document blankly — without names — called “Order,” which was used to arrest various high-profile citizens during the 1992 coup: “I called Montesinos and I told him it wasn’t my job to sign this document, that the Minister of Internal Affairs or Defense should sign it; the President or the Defense Ministry. But he told me that no one wanted to sign […].”


Hermoza Ríos will continue his testimony on July 9 by answering the questions of Public Prosecutor Avelino Guillén.


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Hugo R. Zea Barriga // Jul 11, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Thank you for acknowledging my note. I must admit that in fact, at least in this case, you report the views of the Peruvian press which, as I said before, is totally biased against Fujimori. In the case of the analysts chosen by you, however, all of them are also against Fujimori, to be objective you should include opinions of analysts who are unbiased or are on Fujimori´s side. Moreover, often in your reports you interject biased observations. For instance regarding Hermozas´s testimony, you state that “…it was Montesinos who told Fujimori about la Cantuta” when in fact Montesinos says he had informed Fujimori, which is not the same as saying that Fujimori in fact knew. Of course the Peruvian press goes further, their headings were: Fujimori knew about la Cantuta (Caretas, Panorama among others). It is not a small detail, a fact is different from the assertion of a lying person like Montesinos.

    In this sense I also must admit that at least you show opposing views like mine, which the Peruvian press does not. For instance “Caretas” stated, through one of their writers, that Fujimori should respond for the crimes in Putis, which happened in 1984. When I wrote to them making the clarification, they ignored it.

    I will write you more extensively on the subject because I am convinced of the total innocence of the former president, who, as I show in my book “En defensa de Fujimori” –again ignored by most of the press- was by far the best president of Peru during the last century.

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