After following the trial, there was an implication of guilt but the proof was weak. Personally think Fujimori should be free with time served.
Alan Garcia has to be shaking in his shoes.
Good to see some foreigner have the same opinion. Most tend to follow the popular trend.
International Affairs with Caleb Posner
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Share this article Published: Friday, April 10, 2009
Updated: Friday, April 10, 2009
This past Tuesday, Alberto Fujimori, the 70-year-old former President of Peru, was convicted of murder by a panel of three judges just outside of Lima and sentenced to a 25-year prison sentence. He was convicted not because he pulled a trigger but because during his decade in power, it is alleged that he ordered a branch of Army Intelligence to perform strategic executions. The degree to which he deserved conviction remains questionable, but aside from that, it is imperative that we consider the situation in Peru when Fujimori came to power, as compared to the shape he left it in.
Peru first returned to democratic elections in 1980, after a dozen years of military dictatorship. At this time, the student-driven, communist Maoist Shining Path group was offered the opportunity to participate and present their platform to the voting public. Instead, they began a ruthless campaign of guerilla warfare, which by 1992 had resulted in more than 20,000 deaths. In 1989 alone, the Shining Path murdered 100 politicians as part of a campaign to prevent voting throughout Peru, because they believed that voting enforced a capitalist system that they found despicable.
But the problems that President Fujimori inherited did not end with the security threat posed by the communist insurgency. In his term as president, predecessor Alan García drove businesses out of Peru through a series of anti-market actions, including his efforts toward the nationalization of private banks in 1987. By the time he left office, there had been 2.2 million percent national inflation, a decline in wages to a three-decade low, and a 20 percent loss of GDP. In addition to draining the national reserves, Garcia left Peru owing more than $14 billion to foreign nations.
Undoubtedly, then, Fujimori was burdened with the task of addressing two epic problems that, on their own, would have overwhelmed lesser men. Yet he rose to the dual challenge with remarkable ease. He suppressed the Shining Path terrorist organization and restored governmental authority to all of Peru. It is only in the years since he left office and power was turned over to less competent politicians that the splinter factions of the Shining Path organization have begun to function once again. Still, their resurgence has been greatly limited in scale thanks to the measures taken by Fujimori.
Moreover, the way Fujimori salvaged Peru’s economy is praiseworthy at the least. He cut price controls and government subsidies, opened the country up to investments and simplified taxation and tariff laws. His willingness to make drastic marketing reforms secured IMF loan guarantees, which he put to good use. In 1994—just four years after he took office—Peru was posting a 13 percent growth rate, the highest in the world. Total GDP growth during Fujimori’s time in office was an impressive 44.6 percent, and his administration built up a $10 billion foreign currency reserve.
In essence, Fujimori saved Peru from itself. He turned around one of the world’s most volatile economies and reintegrated it in the international order, thereby building a foundation for gradual improvement in the quality of life for his citizens. He also brought an end to the bloody violence and instability that threatened the social order and basic human rights of his people.
It is possible that, during his attempts to suppress the insurgency and revive the economy, Fujimori inadvertently violated the law. But in light of the questionable nature of the accusations brought against him, and the positive legacy of his rule, his imprisonment is inappropriate. Rather, pending proper alteration to the term limit laws, Fujimori should be free to run for office once more, as he has expressed an interest in doing so. This is especially reasonable, given the fact that his incompetent predecessor who caused so much more damage is once again serving as president.