There’s a Dirty Tricks Campaign Underway in Peru to Deny the Left’s Presidential Victory
By José Carlos Llerena
Robles and Vijay Prashad (*) – Globetrotter.Independent Media Institute
The campaign to overturn Peru’s presidential
election results is one of “unconventional warfare.”
hour’s taxi ride from the House of Pizarro, the presidential palace in Lima,
Peru, is a high-security prison at the Callao naval base. The prison was
built to hold leaders of Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), particularly Abimael
Guzmán. Not far from Guzmán’s cell is that of Vladimiro Montesinos,
intelligence chief under former President Alberto Fujimori, who is also now
imprisoned. Montesinos was sentenced to a 20-year prison term in 2006 for
embezzlement, influence peddling, and abuse of power. Now, audio files
calls made by Montesinos from his prison indicate an attempt to
influence the results of Peru’s presidential election after Pedro Castillo, the
candidate of the left-wing Perú Libre party, won the
By the evening of June 6, 2021, Peru’s National Jury of Elections should
have declared Pedro Castillo the winner of the presidential election. But it
did not. A month later, matters remain in stasis as Peru does not yet have an
official winner of the election.
Castillo’s opponent, Fuerza Popular’s Keiko Fujimori—the
daughter of the former dictator Alberto Fujimori—has hired a range of Lima’s
top lawyers to obstruct any decision by the state’s electoral commission. In
addition, her team has cast aspersions against the campaign of Castillo and
Perú Libre, accusing them—without evidence—of being financed by disreputable
groups, including drug
cartels. The Peruvian media, largely controlled by the oligarchy, have gone
along with Fujimori’s allegations; their apparent goal is to paint Castillo as
an illegitimate winner and to set aside the verdict of the electorate.
Meanwhile, hard evidence continues to emerge of the dirty
tricks at the heart of Fujimori’s campaign to steal the election. Montesinos,
the right-hand man of Fujimori’s father, made 17 phone calls from
the prison between June 2 and June 24. Twelve of these calls resulted in a
there was no answer to five of them. The Peruvian naval authority in charge of
the prison said that Montesinos had applied to call his girlfriend. On June 26,
Peru’s Defense Minister Nuria Esparch indicated that
the navy will conduct an investigation.
Montesinos did not call his girlfriend. Instead, the old
spymaster—and former CIA agent—called Pedro
Rejas, a former commander in Peru’s army who is close to
the Fujimori campaign. Montesinos tells Rejas in one call on June 10 to bribe
the three members of the election commission $1 million each. “The only
solution is to work through Guillermo in order to transfer the payment in favor
of the three electoral jury members, who are supposed to be open to the bribe,
and therefore guarantee the result.” The “Guillermo” in the conversation is
Guillermo Sendón, who is on record affirming
his relationship with one of the members of the electoral commission, Luis
Arce Córdova. Sendón says that he helped Arce in his failed campaign to
become president of the Supreme Court and met Arce several times in this
period. Sendón’s last recorded visit to
Arce was on June 22.
The audios are damning. In Peru, the case is known as Vladiaudios.
This is a nod to a 20-year-old scandal called Vladivideos,
when Montesinos was caught on tape bribing congressman Alberto Kouri to support
Perú 2000, the party of Alberto Fujimori. In the months that followed, more
videos came out: Montesinos offering millions of dollars to Channel 2, Channel
4, Channel 5, and Channel 9 if they prevented the opposition from coming on
their television programs. The Vladiaudios are as damning as the Vladivideos,
both showing Montesinos attempting to use bribery to secure the electoral
victory of the Fujimoris.
Where will the money come from? Montesinos proposes that
Rejas approach Dionisio Romero (the CEO of Credicorp) and Rafael López Aliaga.
It seems he has thought about everything: what to do and how to do it. Sitting
in jail, this old intelligence agent could not do it himself. He required an
accomplice and phone calls that were recorded and leaked to the media.
Involve the CIA
In one of the calls, Montesinos tells Rejas
to involve the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). “Look, what they have to
do is to go to the U.S. Embassy and talk with the embassy intelligence officer.
Bring all the fraud documentation… Go to the embassy and talk with the person
in charge of intelligence at the embassy. That is in the Office of Regional
Affairs.” The Office of Regional Affairs in Lima is the CIA station.
Montesinos gives precise
instructions. Keiko Fujimori’s husband “can go [to the embassy], since he is an
American citizen.” Her husband is Mark Villanella, whom she met at Columbia
University in 2004. “Take the documents,” Montesinos advises. “Show them.
Deliver them to the embassy and ask them to bring them to their chief in
Washington… And in Washington, the chief can bring it to the notice of the
president, and the White House spokesperson can issue a statement to prevent
Cuba, Venezuela, or Nicaragua from imposing their will in Peru. With such a
statement, they have great leverage.”
Montesinos is not the only one in Fujimori’s circle with a
history of trying to involve the United States in Peru’s elections. Her close
adviser Fernando Rospigliosi has a long history of walking into
the U.S. Embassy and asking for assistance in preventing the left from
prevailing in elections. The current U.S. ambassador in Peru—only recently
appointed—is Lisa Kenna, a former CIA agent.
Montesinos is an expert in unconventional warfare. The
followers of Fujimori, he tells Rejas
in one of the conversations, want to use a conventional approach, but “this
will not work.”
“There is conventional warfare and unconventional warfare,”
he says. “In unconventional warfare, you have to use special procedures…
Conventional lawyers are not going to succeed because the procedure is
irregular.” Arguments before the courts, in other words, are not sufficient;
bribes are required.
Luis Arce, the man on the electoral commission, is now under
investigation by Peru’s public prosecutor.
Meanwhile, the National Jury of Elections has still not
closed the election in favor of the winner, Pedro Castillo. What we have
instead is unconventional warfare with the U.S. Embassy as a player in the
drama. Coups nowadays in Latin America do not need armies. Having good lawyers, bags of money, and a
handful of thugs in and out of jail is all that is needed. This article was produced by Globetrotter.