Alan Garcia puts on his “innocent” face, just as he has had to do time and time again since elected. It is well known that during his last government, after running the country into the ground on an apocalyptic scale, he fled the country with at least a few million dollars of public money… how else could he pay for a Parisian mansion and a top education for his children? This time around, he wised-up, realising that he and his APRA party could siphon off more money if they let the economy run itself successfully in the manner set up by corrupt president Fujimori.
Garcia made a big fuss about ending corruption in Peru when he was re-elected as the “least worst choice” for President. Like a drug addict denying he had a problem, he set up powerless anti-corruption ministries while reversing the editorial freedoms given to the state-funded media entities Agencia Andina and TV Peru. These are now both such biased government mouth-pieces that they refused to cover the news of the simultaneous brutal massacre of locals in Bagua and the violent deaths of police offers in the failed and poorly planned assault. As with his first government, somehow responsibility for bloody massacres doesn’t reach as high as the presidency and Garcia disappeared from public view while prime minister Yahude Simón took the fall.
Prime minister Jorge del Castillo, who Yahude Simón had succeeded, had also taken the fall. When it was revealed that the APRA party was running a network that received kick-backs for awarding oil and gas exploration contracts to foreign companies willing to pay huge bribes, someone had to take responsibility… at least until everything could be swept under the rug. One and a half years on, so much influence is being wielded and so much money is flowing into the corrupt hands of Peru’s judicial system that much of the evidence that implicates others has not been examined and no process made. As of now one of those involved had to spend a few months in jail then cushy house arrest, and others, some in elected positions were forced to resign here and there, such as del Castillo who is getting ready to run for government in the next elections!
At the height of the Fujimori government that saw democracy end temporally in Peru, Fujimori and his spy-chief Vladimiro Montesinos had built a network of control. Public opinion was shaped by media that towed the government line, they owned the ports from which cocaine was shipped, the courts ruled however they decided and congress was shut down.
With public funds becoming the personal property of Fujimori and Montesinos, buying friends was easy.
José Enrique Crousillat was the owner of Lima-based America Television, when he and his son went to meet with Montesinos. Thanks leaked video from the hidden cameras placed in the room, we saw Montesinos pile up stacks on $100 bills on the table in front of them. $1m was built into a huge pile that Montesinos explain was for January and February. America Television was now a government mouth-piece, paid to present the news as Montesinos saw fit.
The video tapes in 1999 exposed the level government corruption. Fujimori and Montesinos fled abroad, foreign bank accounts full to the brim. Crousillat also fled, but in 2001, as Peru moved back to a functioning democracy and he faced trail despite the power of his wealth. He and his son were extradited from Argentina in 2006 and convicted.
Last December 77-year-old Crousillat appeared to be on the brink of death. With serious heart disease and diabetes on a long list of medical ailments, it was explained by his doctors that he was in the final stages of his life. His lawyers appealed to President Alan Garcia to issue a pardon, for humanitarian reasons, so the man could spend his final days with his family.
Garcia issued the pardon in record time and in spite of many protests. It all seemed quite suspicious.
Within a couple of weeks of his pardon, Crousillat was seen up and about, eating out at Lima’s finest restaurants, and spending time on the beach in up-scale beach town Asia. He had made a remarkable recovery.
Last week, to add insult to injury, Crousillat filed a lawsuit against the current directors of America Television in a bid to regain control of the station.
Garcia posed as the naive victim of a scam, downplaying it as something that “they” – Justice Ministor Aurelio Pastor and a medical team – should “look in to”.
It seems in recent years Garcia has grown close to the Crousillat family. He had recently named Crousillat’s daughter, Marisol Crousillat, as head of the Instituto de Radio y Televisión Peruana, who control the state TV and radio stations. Not only was she handed the job, but the salary paid for the person in the position saw a large increase.
Marisol took the job at IRTP with the help of long-time family friend Ricardo Ghibellini who had the job before her. It just so happens he is also closest of friends with Alan Garcia, and was recently rewarded for his loyalty with a cushy ambassadors post in Brazil.
Let’s end with some rhetorical questions, because they probably don’t need to be answered.
- Who will be paying for APRA’s political campaign in the coming elections?
- Did Garcia release Crousillat in exchange for control of an additional media outlet to direct the results of the next election? (Garcia always said he can control who looses the next elections)
- Will Crousillat somehow regain ownership of his TV channel?
- Is Garcia rotten to the core?