Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fuji Watch - Day 2

Chile Returns Fujimori to Face Rights Charges - From this day forward, Peru's former President Alberto K. Fujimori will be known to As Good As News as Fuji. This is a man who, on occasion, erupts like Mount Fuji, a symbol of his native Japan (whereby hangs a tale told below) and pretends that he fled Peru as a refugee (thank you Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill and Children of Man). Not to mention the fact that we will be typing his name a lot and need to cut down on those keystrokes.

The linked Time's story has no news, just background. As Good As News will offer some background on the background.

Gustavo Gorriti is the Time's go to guy for the mandatory quote from a "respected local journalist." Gorriti cut his teeth covering the guerrilla group Shining Path for the Peruvian magazine Caretas. Fuji made his reputation by shutting down Shining Path and a second group, Tupac Amaru, in a popular and successful "any means necessary" campaign that cemented Fuji's unholy alliance with Vladimir Montesinos, the minister of SIN -the Peruvian intelligence agency. Tupac Amaru held the Japanese Embassy hostage just down the street from my hotel during my first visit to Lima. Gorriti spent time in Montesino's jail - held for questioning on Shining Path.

Montesinos reportedly blackmailed Fuji with a page from the birth records of Miraflores (a district of Lima), a page that showed Fuji was not born in Peru. So what? Peru's constitution requires that the President be native born. Montesinos, the intelligence chief, may have been controlling Fuji, his own President, with his knowledge of the altered birth records. Caretas eventually ran a story on the disputed birth record, noting an apparent alteration.

Caretas is a story unto itself. This magazine has survived printing independent, investigative journalism in a country that was a near police state at one point in the Fuji-Montesinos era. Maybe it's the pictures of the topless ladies that keep Caretas out of trouble. Maybe it's good karma from the Caretas story involving your favorite blogger - (scroll to Engelhard after you click). Maybe publisher Enrique Zileri just knows when discretion is the better part of valor. Somehow Caretas just rolls along.

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