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Vladimiro Montesinos

In early 2001, Vladimiro Montesinos was arrested in Caracas, Venzuela where he has been hiding since late 2000. The latest news links will be on my weblog. The former spymaster and deal-maker for former president Alberto Fujimori is currently on trial in Lima -- and trying to parlay a deal with prosecutors in exchange for implicating Fujimori and other henchmen. He still has significant sway in Peru because he could incriminate a lot of important people.

In November 2000, I did a search on Vladimiro Montesinos in Google and came up with 16,300 links. Most of them are repeats of news stories that are syndicated among several websites. I have decided to selected the best links for this listing.

Anyone wanting to understand the situation needs to look at Making and Unmaking Authoritarian Peru: Relection, Resistance, and Regime Transition (Adobe Acrobat file) by Catherine M. Conaghan if you want to understand what's happening in Peru today. She is a Professor of Political Science at Queen's College in Kingston, Ontario. She and Julio Carrión created Peru Election 2000 and Peru Post Election 2000 websites (Please note that these sites are starting to show degradation since they are not being maintained). The University of Miami's North-South Center publishes this fascinating reconstructs the last five-years of Alberto Fujimori, drawing on the Vladi-videos coming out on a weekly schedule. Also see the Special Section Excellent section of Post and wire agency coverage in the Washington Post.

Montesinos was the security advisory to Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for 10 years. He was villified by the opposition. Fujimori saw him as the chief architect in the defeat of Sendero and MRTA, and his handyman in manipulating the political scene. He is now being sought throughout the Americas -- and the rest of the world, for that matter. You can see his Wanted Poster on Peru's Ministry of Interior website. For a more intimate portrait of the man, check with the CIA; they seemed to know him best.

Montesinos put his signature on a broad swath of Peruvian society
Signature of Vladimiro Montesinso

What distinguishes Montesinos is that he had unlimited power in Peru, with no checks and balances. He had the army under his thumb. As a former officer (drummed out of the service in the 1970s for spying for the CIA), he promoted his classmates and cronies into command positions. When anyone needed a solution in Peru, the most effecient choice was to turn to Montesinos. He could cut through red tape and across bureaucratic barriers. He was also able to call on technological resources that no other government institution could obtain. He also had tremendous economic power, as showing by this Narco News special report.

The current Peruvian government accuses Montesinos of overseeing a mafia that permeated the entire power structure -- media, business, political parties, the government. He is facing charges of influence peddling, abuse of authority, fraud, coercion, corruption, illicit enrichment, money laundering, drug and arms trafficking, extorsion, bribery, forced disappearances, torture, murder, harboring a criminal, embezzlement, and illegal wiretapping, to name just the first round of potential endictments.

As the courts and Congress investigate Montesinos's activities, the most glaring source of information are 2,700 videotapes that he recorded in dealings with Peru's makers and breakers. In some cases, exchanges of money and favors were taped. In other tapings, Montesinos and associates spoke blatantly about manipulating the courts, the media and the political system to guarantee their control of the country.