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-CONTEXT- “Vladi-spot” sparks media frenzy

July 14th, 2008 · No Comments



Last week the incumbent political party APRA released a television ad, or “spot,” that highlights part of the recent testimony of Vladimiro Montesinos in former President Alberto Fujimori’s human rights trial — a publicity stunt that triggered widespread criticism among local media.

The ad responded to the call of the labor union General Workers Federation of Peru (CGTP) to hold a nation-wide strike on July 9 over the rising cost of living, among other socio-economic grievances. The ad starts out by saying “Silent during the dictatorship,” implying that the unions collaborated with Fujimori’s government. A clip from Montesinos’ testimony then appears, in which he says, “The SUTEP [Peruvian teachers union affiliated with the CGTP], in the decade from 1990 to 2000, never carried out a strike against President Fujimori’s government.” The screen then shows a mob of violent protestors and prints the words “‘Brave’ with democracy” and concludes with a man’s deep voice, that urges “‘No’ to strikes, ‘no’ to violence.”

Rather than encouraging the use of non-violent means or asking citizens to refrain from blocking roads (an increasingly more common recourse for demonstrators in Peru), the so-called “Vladi-spot” simply instructs citizens to reject their right to protest entirely.

Furthermore, though the APRA claimed that the ad was solicited and financed by the party, not the state, television channel Canal N (Channel N) revealed a document indicating that the Presidential Cabinet had requested the ad, which was not paid by the APRA, but instead by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). In light of this evidence, the APRA responded that the publicity agency had merely confused the Presidential Cabinet with the APRA party.

The UNDP in Peru has denied any ties to the television spot and the APRA has also opposed a Congressional investigation into the matter.

Political analysts, on the other hand, were especially concerned with the election of Vladimiro Montesinos as the ad’s centerpiece. Francisco Eguiguren from local newspaper Perú21 asserted that “whether it was paid by the government or the APRA, it’s legitimate to reproach the use of a declaration made by someone who is tried and condemned for serious crimes, who is a symbol of corruption and the unscrupulous use of political power, as an example of a credit-worthy opinion.” He also clarified that while it is true the union’s activity was cut back during Fujimori’s government, Montesinos’ statement that there were zero strikes is blatantly false.

Meanwhile, Juan Carlos Valdivia from Lima daily Correo argued that the ad shows “how weak the moral barriers among national actors are.” He then reminds readers that during Fujimori’s government, Montesinos successfully bribed two of the APRA’s current, prominent leaders and posed the question: “If the APRA government believes Montesinos in the case of [labor unions], does it also believe him regarding their leaders?”

For his part, Alan García reiterated that the “Vladi-spot” was paid for with APRA party funds and insisted that what the ad says is true:

“I don’t know what there is to investigate. In any case, the papers, invoices, orders for airing the ad are all there. The thing is, the ad says something that’s true and I only found out through the ad. It turns out there are people who are rebellious during a democracy, but totally silent during a dictatorship. Between the years 1992 and 1999 or 2000, there wasn’t much mobilization or strike …”

Should the government give credibility to someone who has been tried and condemned and who is considered by many to a symbol of corruption in the country? Is it contradictory that the APRA’s TV spot discourages protest — the very thing that happened during what they labeled a “dictatorship?” 


For further reading:

 Correo – “El APRA no aceptará que Congreso investigue ‘spot’

RPP – “Una jornada teñida de vandalismo y destrucción en el interior del país

Press release from the National Human Rights Coordinator

Comment from pro-Fujimori Congressman Carlos Raffo

RPP – “Presidente García reconoce insatisfacción social


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