Peru’s prime minister Jorge del Castillo is currently addressing the Parliament in regard to his ill-fated appointment of Alberto Pandolfi, ex-minister under the Alberto Fujimori regime, as executive director for the National ‘El Niño’ Prevention Program. Del Castillo acknowledged that the designation was “a political mistake”.
“I humbly admit this was a mistake (…) I didn’t know the criteria that disqualified this person from taking the job”, he declared during his speech before the plenary session of Congress.
“I have come here with the truth and I tell you from my heart that I wasn’t acting in bad faith”, he remarked. Del Castillo said he was sorry that Pandolfi had not warned him that the state apparatus had issued a 10-year ban against him a few years ago which disqualified him from assuming any public position.
The head of the ministerial cabinet sharply denied any accusations that the Executive is infested with corruption and follows the footpaths of the Fujimori regime, saying that the Apra party has fought against “all forms of corruption at all times, decade after decade”, as well as defending democracy on the streets.
“Today many people display the Fujimori regime as a democracy, but when it was a dictatorship they shut their mouths, no matter the language”, he emphasized. Del Castillo expressed that some members of the opposition were once “collaborators of the fujimorismo” and now they are using the democracy to “come clean” and insult the Apra party that has always “defended democracy in the first trenches”.
“I have neither a political relation with corruption nor with undemocratic groups”, he clarified. “I am a little irritated. They were hiding for years, they never said anything, they never raised their voice in defending democracy. Where were they during the Fujimori regime?” he asked.
Later, Fujimorista legislator Rolando Souza criticized some people, including the prime minister, tie the Fujimori regime with corruption and added that his political group deserves more respect because it represents an important part of the electorate. He said that “Fujimorismo is different from Montesinismo”, and remembered that a judicial resolution that condemns Pandolfi doesn’t exist.
Vladimiro Montesinos was the long-time, powerful head of Peru’s intelligence service (SIN) under President Alberto Fujimori. In 2000, secret videos were televised revealing him bribing a politician and the ensuing scandal caused Montesinos to flee the country, later contributing to the resignation of the administration of Alberto Fujimori. Subsequent investigations revealed Montesinos was at the centre of a vast web of illegal activities, including embezzlement, graft, and drug trafficking. He is currently serving multiple prison terms on corruption, bribery, abuse of power and embezzlemet charges at the top-security naval prison in the port of Callao.
The debate in Congress is still ongoing.
Article by Wolfy Becker