Fujimori Urges Peruvians to Set Aside ‘Grudges’ After His Release

Fujimori Urges Peruvians to Set Aside ‘Grudges’ After His Release

“We’ll be a country in which security is regained and violence is eliminated. We can fulfill these goals by setting aside special interests and opportunism. UNITED WE CAN ACHIEVE THEM!”

The pardon has roiled Peru, with the Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa and 238 other writers signing an open letter saying the decision covered the nation “in infamy and shame.” The letter said the pardon was not an act of compassion, but “the most crude and cynical political calculus.”

It was unclear if Mr. Fujimori’s remarks were a hint that he planned to play a more active role in Peruvian politics, potentially supporting Mr. Kuczynski, whose center-right government has been rattled by a series of resignations. The president has yet to reveal a new cabinet since promising more than a week ago an announcement “very soon.”

Mr. Kuczynski, 79, a former Wall Street banker who took office in July 2016, has been hanging on to power, having narrowly survived a motion in Congress last month to impeach him. He had been accused of lying during an inquiry about possible ties to the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, which was engulfed in a graft scandal.

It was later revealed that a financial services company Mr. Kuczynski owned had received $782,000 from Odebrecht, a disclosure that contributed to the impeachment effort.

Mr. Kuczynski had called the claims against him “weak” and said the impeachment proceedings were being used for political gain. But he had also made a plea to lawmakers, saying: “Congress members, do not join this strategy, do not let yourselves become confused. Those who accuse me will not let their condemnation be subjected to corroboration, to a debate, to due process.”

Many had expected the vote to result in his removal, with the chamber dominated by the opposition Popular Force, a right-wing party whose leader ran against Mr. Kuczynski in the last election.

But a faction of the right-wing party, which was founded by the daughter of Mr. Fujimori, swung the vote in Mr. Kuczynski’s favor. Representatives for the president and Mr. Fujimori have denied that the pardon was part of a political pact, and have defended it on humanitarian grounds.

Peru, a country with an authoritarian past, returned to democracy 17 years ago. Critics of the president’s pardon denounced it as a blow to the fight against impunity and efforts to heal national wounds after Mr. Fujimori’s presidency, from 1990 to 2000, suspended civil liberties and unleashed a brutal crackdown against the Shining Path, a leftist insurgency.

Many Peruvians, however, admire the former leader as an advocate of the poor and say he was unfairly punished for his government’s heavy-handed counterinsurgency campaign against the rebels.

While Peru has had nearly two decades of commodities-fueled growth, street crime has been a top concern of voters throughout the presidencies of Mr. Fujimori’s four successors, including Mr. Kuczynski.

“Some might think that PKK was tweeting from the wrong account,” the Peruvian political analyst Diethell Columbus said on Twitter, referring to the possibility that Mr. Kuczynski could have written Mr. Fujimori’s post. “It’s clear that once a politician, always a politician.”


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