«This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.»
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 LIMA 004861
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/14/2015
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KCRM, PE, CI
SUBJECT: FUJIMORI UPDATE: CONSPIRACY CONCERNS A SWIPE AT JAPAN BUILDING AN EXTRADITION CASE LABOR/HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS SUPPORT EXTRADITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES LARGELY MUM FUJIMORISTA PARTIES IN DISARRAY
REF: A. LIMA 4842
B. TOKYO 6181
Classified By: Political Counselor Alexander Margulies. Reason: 1.4(b/d).
1. (C) Former President Alberto Fujimori’s arrest in Chile, pursuant to a Peruvian request for his preventive detention pending submission of an extradition request, continues to be the major domestic political issue in the country. President Alejandro Toledo and Foreign Minister Oscar Maurtua suspect Chilean-Japanese collusion in Fujimori’s arrival in Santiago, but while care is being taken to keep relations with Chile on an even keel, the GOP has assumed a combative stance vis Japan. The GOP is scrambling to assemble its case for Fujimori’s extradition and is seeking outside legal advice in Lima and Santiago. Human rights groups are supporting the GOP’s efforts, both legally and politically, and, in conjunction with labor unions will hold a public demonstration against Fujimori on 11/15. The major political contenders are seeking to minimize their dealings with this issue, stressing the legal, rather than political nature of the extradition proceedings. The Fujimoristas are in disarray with their figurehead in a Chilean jail and their party’s leadership vacated by the National Electoral Board.
TOLEDO SEES CONSPIRACIES
2. (C) President Toledo, in an 11/9 meeting with the Ambassador, asked whether the USG had information on the Chile-Japan nexus,»» suggesting that those two countries connived to bring about Fujimori’s flight to Santiago. The President also complained that he was surprised President Vicente Fox of Mexico did not promptly inform him that Fujimori’s plane had transited via Tijuana. The Ambassador replied that it appeared the Chilean Government had been caught off guard, noting that the flight manifest faxed to Santiago did not have Fujimori’s name on it (though the manifest handed over by the flight crew on arrival did). The Ambassador added that he suspected the Japanese Government also was taken unawares. Toledo indicated that he still suspected collusion between Chile and Japan, while continuing to express bewilderment at «»my friend»» Fox’s failure to provide timely information during their attendance at the Summit of the Americas.
3. (C) Toledo’s concerns about anti-Peruvian conspiracies on the part of Chile and Japan seem to be shared at the highest levels of the GOP. His official political advisor, Juan de la Puente, in an 11/9 meeting with Polcouns, stated that the Presidency was concerned that the Chilean Government and/or judicial authorities would play a fast one on the Toledo Administration in the Fujimori case (Ref A). De la Puente noted that Chilean President Ricardo Lagos is angry over Peru’s unilateral declaration of maritime boundaries, gave Toledo the cold shoulder at the Summit of the Americas, and refused to accept calls from his Peruvian counterpart (Comment: A Chilean Embassy official here says the same. End Comment). De la Puente was also worried that Peruvian criminal proceedings against powerful Chilean businessman Andronico Luksic, for allegedly paying USD 2 million in bribes to Montesinos to intervene in obtaining municipal authorization to operate a pasta factory, could have a negative impact on Peru’s extradition request.
4. (C) Foreign Minister Oscar Maurtua has adopted a positive approach towards Chile in public, praising the GOC for arresting Fujimori agreeing with President Lagos that Fujimori should be extradited, rather than simply expelled, to Peru and saluting Chilean Foreign Minister Ignacio Walker’s declaration that Fujimori and his allies will not/not be permitted to use Chile as a base for political activity aimed at Peru. According to a Chilean diplomat, however, in a private meeting with Chilean Ambassador Juan Lira, Maurtua passed on a list of ten questions that were hostile and accusatory regarding the GOC’s supposed role in Fujimori’s flight. Amb. Lira reportedly answered that if the two governments were going to cooperate with one another, then neither side could start out assuming bad faith on the other’s part.
5. (C) The GOP and GOC appear to recognize that their relations need to be managed carefully at this delicate time. The Ambassador has spoken twice with Prime Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) on the need to ensure that the Peruvian navy does not take unilateral actions that would exacerbate tensions at this time, a sentiment with which the PM agreed. DAO sources report that relations between the Peruvian and Chilean Armed Forces remain good, with both sides determined to keep the Fujimori extradition process and the maritime boundary dispute from impairing military-to-military ties. On 11/10, the Defense Ministries of both countries announced agreement that, as a confidence building measure, each country’s previously scheduled military exercises and maneuvers in southern Peru and northern Chile would not/not be carried out. Both countries also said that they would not/not call reservists in these areas to active duty, and that professional exchanges and coordination between the Armed Forces would continue as planned.
HARSH WORDS FOR JAPAN AND AN AMBASSADOR COMING HOME
6. (U) While Peru has been largely careful to maintain proper ties with Chile, the gloves are off with respect to Japan. According to a Foreign Ministry communique, Foreign Minister Maurtua called in Japanese Ambassador Hitohiro Ishida on 11/8. Maurtua, the communique reported, took issue with Japan’s position that Fujimori is a Japanese citizen, pointing out that the ex-President entered Chile on his Peruvian passport and thereby, «»exercised by his own choice Peruvian nationality declared that Japan consequently lacked competence»» to insist on exercising consular visits to Fujimori in jail termed Japan’s actions in this regard unacceptable interference»» with Peru’s extradition request to Chile complained that Japan had been dilatory in responding to Peru’s extradition request to Tokyo and expressed Peru’s «»surprise»» that the GOJ had not informed Peruvian authorities of Fujimori’s departure from that country.
7. (U) Two days later, on 11/10, the Foreign Ministry issued another communique announcing that Peru’s Ambassador to Japan, Luis Macchiavello Amoros, had completed his tour of duty and would be returning to Peru. At first Maurtua stated that Macchiavello’s departure was simply because he had completed his cycle»» at post (the Ambassador has served in Tokyo since 2000), adding that «»he has had a good professional performance.»» In subsequent testimony before the Congressional Foreign Relations Committee and comments to the media, however, the Foreign Minister acknowledged that Macchiavello’s homecoming was connected to Peru’s dispute with Japan, calling it a «»political-diplomatic signal of the unhappiness of the Peruvian Government.»» Maurtua also criticized Japan for its «»lack of consideration»» towards Peru, questioned the GOJ’s political will to cooperate with respect to Fujimori, and declared that the GOP was «»fed up»» with its Japanese counterpart. When asked if Toledo would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the Foreign Minster was non-committal, noting that such a meeting was not on the President’s agenda.
8. (C) Maurtua appears to share Toledo’s conspiracy theories, at least with respect to Japan. In an 11/11 conversation with the Ambassador, the Foreign Minister asked what the USG had heard from Japan regarding the Fujimori case? The Ambassador replied that the GOJ had informed us that it had no/no advance knowledge of Fujimori’s departure (Ref B). Maurtua’s body language in response clearly indicated that he did not buy the Japanese line.
THE EXTRADITION CASE
9. (C) GOP insiders, as noted in Ref A, have informed us that the Peruvian authorities were caught off guard by Fujimori’s sudden arrival in Chile, and will have to scramble to assemble a well-founded extradition request by early January 2006, when Peru’s 60-day preventive detention request will lapse. A team of some 30 GOP officials, led by Ad Hoc Anti-Corruption State Attorney Antonio Maldonado, are working with the Justices of the Supreme Court’s Transitory Criminal Chamber to prepare the files on the 21 criminal charges filed against Fujimori to date. Once these files are complete, they are to be sent to the Cabinet for its review. The Cabinet and President Toledo will then determine which cases to include in the formal extradition request. According to our sources, the GOP recognizes that its current team does not/not have the capabilities required for the job and will hire private legal counsel. In Lima, the authorities reportedly are negotiating with respected attorney and former Lima Bar Association President Jorge Avendano to lead the GOP’s effort to assemble its extradition request. Minister of Justice Alejandro Tudela informed the Congressional Foreign Relations Committee that the GOP has hired a top Chilean extradition expert, Alfredo Etcheberry, to handle its legal case before the Chilean courts. Tudela added that Etcheberry will be paid a flat fee of USD 200,000, and, if successful in obtaining Fujimori’s extradition to Peru, will receive an equal amount as a «»bonus.»»
LABOR/HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS SUPPORT EXTRADITION
10. (C) Local human rights organizations are actively supporting the GOP’s efforts to extradite Fujimori. According to one Presidential Advisor, the Government has facilitated contacts between the families of the victims of the La Cantuta and Barrios Altos massacres with organizations in Chile representing the family members of those killed during the Pinochet regime (Ref A). Ernesto de la Jara, head of the Legal Defense Institute (IDL: a Peruvian NGO that provided legal services to opponents of the Fujimori regime), told us that an IDL group of experts is cooperating with the GOP legal team and has traveled to Chile to consult with legal and human rights experts there. Finally, human rights NGOs and labor union centrals have organized a march against Fujimori in downtown Lima on the afternoon of 11/15, at which they hope to assemble 15,000-20,000 demonstrators to illustrate public repudiation of the ex-President and support for his extradition. A poll carried out in Lima by the respected Apoyo consultancy on 11/10-11, found that 69 percent thought Fujimori was guilty of human rights violations, while 67 percent were in accord with his detention in Chile.
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES LARGELY MUM
11. (C) President Toledo, in his 11/9 meeting with the Ambassador, expressed concern that Fujimori’s presence in Chile could have a negative influence on the upcoming electoral campaign, noting that all of the major presidential candidates are, «»looking over their shoulder at Fujimori.»» Toledo’s observation seems valid, as the three top presidential contenders — Lourdes Flores, Alan Garcia and Valentin Paniagua — have been somewhat reserved in their comments, emphasizing that the extradition proceedings are a legal matter, not a political one. Flores, who has been accused of seeking to cultivate the pro-Fujimori vote, publicly declared on 11/13 at her Popular Christian Party’s (PPC) National Congress that the PPC and the Unidad Nacional alliance that it belongs to will not/not nominate Fujimoristas as congressional candidates, and that she will not/not make any deal with Fujimori in return for votes.
BUT FUJIMORISTAS IN DISARRAY
12. (U) Following an initial burst of euphoria at their leader’s return to the region, Fujimorista officials seem to be at a loss to respond coherently to the ex-President’s arrest and detention in Chile. Their cause was dealt an organizational blow on 11/8, when the National Electoral Board (JNE) affirmed a prior ruling that «»Si Cumple,»» the major Fujimorista party, had violated its own procedural rules in selecting its leadership and amending the Party Charter. As a result, the entire «»Si Cumple»» («»He Delivers»») leadership has been declared vacant, while Party Statute provisions that granted Fujimori the authority to revise party regulations have been nullified. Since the other two pro-Fujimori parties (Nueva Mayoria and Cambio 90) had agreed on 10/28 to unite for the 2006 elections with «»Si Cumple»» under the latter’s banner, there is no/no official Fujimori leadership until «»Si Cumple»» can hold an extraordinary national congress, which is being organized for late November.
13. (U) The JNE, on 11/9, also provided an indication that it will rule Fujimori ineligible to run for President in 2006. On that date it issued a communique to the legal representatives of registered parties cautioning them not to nominate as candidates for electoral office those political functionaries who have been found ineligible to hold public office under Article 100 of the Constitution. The Congress has found a total of 27 former officials to be ineligible under this provision, including Fujimori.
14. (C) Toledo, who views himself as the man who brought down the Fujimori regime, can be expected to maintain his fixation on effecting his predecessor’s extradition, an achievement that would cap off his own presidency. Consequently, the extradition process should continue to color Peru’s relations with Chile until it is finally resolved. Fujimori’s departure from Japan provided an opportunity for the GOP to restore strained bilateral relations, but the Toledo Administration’s frustrations over the ex-President’s extended exile in Tokyo boiled over into confrontation. Since Japan plays an important role here as a bilateral donor, and a moderate role as an investor and trading partner, it is to be hoped that the current hard feelings will subside. Toledo’s and Koizumi’s attendance at the APEC Summit could provide the opportunity for a rapprochement. END COMMENT.