Alberto Kenya Fujimori Fujimori (Spanish: [alˈβerto
fuxiˈmoɾi, fuʝi-]; Japanese: [ɸɯʑiꜜmoɾi]; born 26 July
1938 or 4 August 1938) served as the
President of Peru
President of Peru from 28 July
1990 to 22 November 2000. His government is credited with the creation
of Fujimorism, defeating the
Shining Path insurgency, and restoring
Peru's macroeconomic stability. Fujimori ended his
presidency by fleeing
Peru for Japan amid a major scandal involving
corruption and human rights violations. Even amid his
prosecution in 2008 for crimes against humanity relating to his
presidency, two-thirds of Peruvians polled voiced approval for his
leadership in that period.
A Peruvian of Japanese descent, Fujimori took refuge in Japan when
faced with charges of corruption in 2000. On arriving in Japan he
attempted to resign his presidency via fax, but his resignation was
rejected by the Congress of the Republic, which preferred to remove
him from office by the process of impeachment. Wanted in
charges of corruption and human rights abuses, Fujimori maintained a
self-imposed exile until his arrest while visiting
Chile in November
2005. He was extradited to face criminal charges in
September 2007. In December 2007, Fujimori was convicted of
ordering an illegal search and seizure, and was sentenced to six years
in prison. The Supreme Court upheld the decision upon his
appeal. In April 2009 Fujimori was convicted of human rights
violations and sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in
killings and kidnappings by the
Grupo Colina death squad during his
government's battle against leftist guerrillas in the 1990s.
The verdict, delivered by a three-judge panel, marked the first time
that an elected head of state has been extradited to his home country,
tried, and convicted of human rights violations. Fujimori was
specifically found guilty of murder, bodily harm, and two cases of
kidnapping. In July 2009 Fujimori was sentenced to
seven and a half years in prison for embezzlement after he admitted to
giving $15 million from the Peruvian treasury to his intelligence
service chief, Vladimiro Montesinos. Two months later he pleaded
guilty in a fourth trial to bribery and received an additional
six-year term. Under Peruvian law all the sentences must run
concurrently; thus, the maximum length of imprisonment remained 25
years. In 2017 President
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted the
79-year-old Fujimori a humanitarian pardon. Transparency
International considered the money embezzled by Fujimori to be the
seventh most for a head of government active within 1984–2004.
2 Early years
3 First term
3.2 Constitutional crisis
3.3 Post-coup period
4 Second term
5 Third term
7 Accusations of human rights abuses
8 Resignation, arrest, and trial
8.1 Further trials
8.2 Pardon requests
9.1 Economic achievements
10 See also
13 External links
According to government records, Fujimori was born on 28 July 1938, in
Miraflores, a district of Lima. His parents, Naoichi Fujimori
(original surname Minami, adopted by a childless relative;
1897–1971) and Mutsue Inomoto Fujimori (1913–2009), were natives
of Kumamoto, Japan, who migrated to
Peru in 1934.
In July 1997, the news magazine
Caretas alleged that Fujimori had
actually been born in Japan, in his father's hometown of Kawachi,
Kumamoto Prefecture. Because Peru's constitution requires the
president to have been born in Peru, this would have made Fujimori
ineligible to be president. The magazine, which had been sued for
Vladimiro Montesinos seven years earlier, reported that
Fujimori's birth and baptismal certificates might have been
Caretas also alleged that Fujimori's mother declared
having two children when she entered Peru; Fujimori is the second
of four children. Caretas' contentions were hotly contested in the
Peruvian media; the magazine Sí, for instance, described the
allegations as "pathetic" and "a dark page for [Peruvian]
journalism". Latin American scholars
Cynthia McClintock and
Fabián Vallas note that the issue appeared to have died down among
Peruvians after the Japanese government announced in 2000 that
"Fujimori's parents had registered his birth in the Japanese consulate
Fujimori obtained his early education at the Colegio Nuestra Señora
de la Merced and La Rectora. Fujimori's parents were
Buddhists, but he was baptised and raised as a Roman Catholic. While
he spoke mainly Japanese at home, Fujimori also learned to become a
proficient Spanish speaker during his years at school. In 1956,
Fujimori graduated from La gran unidad escolar Alfonso Ugarte in
He went on to undergraduate studies at the Universidad Nacional
Agraria La Molina in 1957, graduating in 1961 first in his class as an
agricultural engineer. The following year he lectured on mathematics
at the university. In 1964 he went to study physics at the University
of Strasbourg in France. On a Ford scholarship, Fujimori also attended
the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in the United States,
where he obtained his master's degree in mathematics in 1969. In 1974,
he married Susana Higuchi, also Japanese-Peruvian. They had four
children, including a daughter, Keiko, who followed her father into
politics. In recognition of his academic achievements, the sciences
faculty of the Universidad Nacional Agraria offered Fujimori the
deanship and in 1984 appointed him to the rectorship of the
university, which he held until 1989. In 1987, Fujimori also became
president of the National Commission of Peruvian University Rectors
(Asamblea Nacional de Rectores), a position which he has held twice.
He also hosted a TV show called "Concertando" from 1988 to 1989, on
Peru's state-owned network, Channel 7.
Fujimori won the 1990 presidential election as a dark horse candidate
under the banner of
Cambio 90 ("cambio" means "change") beating
Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa in a surprising upset. He
capitalized on profound disenchantment with outgoing president Alan
García and the
American Popular Revolutionary Alliance
American Popular Revolutionary Alliance party (APRA).
He exploited popular distrust of Vargas Llosa's identification with
the existing Peruvian political establishment, and uncertainty about
his plans for neoliberal economic reforms.
During the campaign, Fujimori was nicknamed El Chino, which roughly
translates to "Chinaman"; it is common for people of any East Asian
descent to be called chino in Peru, as elsewhere in Latin America,
both derogatively and affectionately. Although he is of Japanese
heritage, Fujimori has suggested that he was always gladdened by the
term, which he perceived as a term of affection. With his election
victory, he became just the second person of East Asian descent to
become head of government of a Latin American nation, after Fulgencio
Batista of Cuba and the third of East Asian descent to govern a South
American state, after
Arthur Chung of
Henk Chin A Sen
Henk Chin A Sen of
Suriname (each of whom had served as head of state, rather than head
During his first term in office, Fujimori enacted wide-ranging
neoliberal reforms, known as Fujishock. During the presidency of Alan
García, the economy had entered a period of hyperinflation and the
political system was in crisis due to the country's internal conflict,
Peru in "economic and political chaos". It was Fujimori's
stated objective to pacify the nation and restore economic balance.
This program bore little resemblance to his campaign platform and was
in fact more drastic than anything Vargas Llosa had proposed.
Nonetheless, the Fujishock succeeded in restoring
Peru to the global
economy, though not without immediate social cost.
Fujimori's initiative relaxed private sector price controls,
drastically reduced government subsidies and government employment,
eliminated all exchange controls, and also reduced restrictions on
investment, imports, and capital. Tariffs were radically
simplified, the minimum wage was immediately quadrupled, and the
government established a $400 million poverty relief fund. The
latter seemed to anticipate the economic agony to come: the price of
electricity quintupled, water prices rose eightfold, and gasoline
However, many do not attribute the Fujishock to Fujimori. In the
1980s, the IMF created a plan for South American economies called the
Washington Consensus. The document, written by John Williamson in
1990, consists of ten measures that would lead to a healthy economic
policy. Under pressure from the
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund (IMF), the
Peruvian government was to follow the guidelines set by the
international finance community. The ten points were:
Reordering of public expenditure
Tax reform (Broadening)
Liberalization of interest rates
Competitive exchange rate
Liberalization of foreign direct investment
Deregulation of barrier entry and exit, safety regulations, and
Property rights for the informal sector
The IMF was content with Peru's measures, and guaranteed loan funding
for Peru. Inflation rapidly began to fall and foreign investment
capital flooded in. The privatization campaign involved selling
off of hundreds of state-owned enterprises, and replacing the
country's troubled currency, the inti, with the Nuevo Sol. The
Fujishock restored macroeconomic stability to the economy and
triggered a considerable long-term economic upturn in the
mid-1990s. In 1994, the Peruvian economy grew at a rate of 13%,
faster than any other economy in the world.
Main article: Peruvian Constitutional Crisis of 1992
During Fujimori's first term in office, APRA and Vargas Llosa's party,
the FREDEMO, remained in control of both chambers of Congress, the
Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, hampering the enactment of
economic reform. Fujimori also had difficulty combatting the Maoist
Shining Path (Spanish: Sendero Luminoso) guerrilla organization due
largely to what he perceived as intransigence and obstructionism in
Congress. By March 1992, Congress met with the approval of only 17% of
the electorate, according to one poll; the president's approval rate
stood at 42%, in the same poll.
In response to the political deadlock, Fujimori, with the support of
the military, on 5 April 1992, carried out a presidential coup.
also known as the autogolpe (auto-coup or self-coup) or Fujigolpe
(Fuji-coup) in Peru. He shut down Congress, suspended the
constitution, and purged the judiciary.
The coup was welcomed by the public, according to numerous polls.
Not only was the coup itself marked by favorable public opinion in
several independent polls, but also public approval of the Fujimori
administration jumped significantly in the wake of the coup.
Fujimori often cited this public support in defending the coup, which
he characterized as "not a negation of real democracy, but on the
contrary… a search for an authentic transformation to assure a
legitimate and effective democracy." Fujimori believed that
Peruvian democracy had been nothing more than "a deceptive formality
– a facade". He claimed the coup was necessary in order to break
with the deeply entrenched special interests that were hindering him
Peru from the chaotic state in which García had left
Fujimori's coup was immediately met with near-unanimous condemnation
from the international community. The Organization of American
States denounced the coup and demanded a return to "representative
democracy", despite Fujimori's claim that the coup represented a
"popular uprising". Foreign ministers of OAS member states
reiterated this condemnation of the autogolpe. They proposed an
urgent effort to promote the re-establishment of "the democratic
institutional order" in Peru. Negotiations between the OAS, the
government, and opposition groups led Albert Fujimori initially to
propose a referendum to ratify the auto-coup, but the OAS rejected
this. Fujimori then proposed scheduling elections for a Democratic
Constituent Congress (CCD), which would draft a new constitution to be
ratified by a national referendum. Despite a lack of consensus among
political forces in
Peru regarding this proposal, an ad hoc OAS
meeting of ministers nevertheless endorsed this scenario in mid-May.
Elections for the CCD were held 22 November 1992.
Various states individually condemned the coup.
Venezuela broke off
diplomatic relations, and
Argentina withdrew its ambassador. Chile
Argentina in requesting Peru's suspension from the Organization
of American States. International lenders delayed planned or projected
loans, and the United States, Germany and Spain suspended all
non-humanitarian aid to Peru. The coup appeared to threaten the
reinsertion strategy for economic recovery, and complicated the
process of clearing Peru's arrears with the International Monetary
Peruvian–U.S. relations earlier in Fujimori's presidency had been
dominated by questions of coca eradication and Fujimori's initial
reluctance to sign an accord to increase his military's eradication
efforts in the lowlands. Fujimori's autogolpe became a major obstacle
to relations, as the United States immediately suspended all military
and economic aid, with exceptions for counter-narcotic and
humanitarian funds. Two weeks after the self-coup, however, the
George H.W. Bush administration changed its position and officially
recognized Fujimori as the legitimate leader of Peru, partly because
he was willing to implement economic austerity measures, but also
because of his adamant opposition to the Shining Path.
With FREDEMO dissolved and APRA leader
Alan García exiled to
Colombia, Fujimori sought to legitimize his position. He called
elections for a Democratic Constitutional Congress, to serve as a
legislature and a constituent assembly. The APRA and Popular Action
attempted a boycott of this election, but the Popular Christian Party
(PPC, not to be confused with PCP, Partido Comunista del Peru) and
many left-leaning parties participated in this election. Fujimori
supporters won a majority of the seats in this body, and drafted a new
constitution in 1993. In a referendum, the coup and the Constitution
of 1993 were approved by a narrow margin of less than five
Later in the year, on 13 November, General
Jaime Salinas led a failed
military coup. Salinas asserted that his intentions were to turn
Fujimori over to be tried for violating the Peruvian constitution.
In 1994, Fujimori separated from his wife
Susana Higuchi in a noisy,
public divorce. He formally stripped her of the title
First Lady in
August 1994, appointing their eldest daughter
First Lady in her stead.
Higuchi publicly denounced Fujimori as a "tyrant" and claimed that his
administration was corrupt. They formally divorced in 1995.
The 1993 Constitution allowed Fujimori to run for a second term, and
in April 1995, at the height of his popularity, Fujimori easily won
reelection with almost two-thirds of the vote. His major opponent,
Secretary-General of the United Nations
Secretary-General of the United Nations Javier Pérez de
Cuéllar, won only 22 percent of the vote. Fujimori's supporters won
comfortable majorities in the legislature. One of the first acts of
the new congress was to declare an amnesty for all members of the
Peruvian military or police accused or convicted of human rights
abuses between 1980 and 1995.
During his second term, Fujimori along with Ecuadorian President Sixto
Durán Ballén, signed a peace agreement with
Ecuador over a border
dispute that had simmered for more than a century. The treaty allowed
the two countries to obtain international funds for developing the
border region. Fujimori also settled some issues with Chile, Peru's
southern neighbor, which had been unresolved since the 1929 Treaty of
The 1995 election was the turning point in Fujimori's career.
Peruvians began to be more concerned about freedom of speech and the
press. However, before he was sworn in for a second term, Fujimori
stripped two universities of their autonomy and reshuffled the
national electoral board. This led his opponents to call him
"Chinochet," a reference to his previous nickname and to Chilean ruler
According to a poll by the Peruvian Research and Marketing Company
conducted in 1997, 40.6% of
Lima residents considered President
Fujimori an authoritarian.
In addition to the fate of democracy under Fujimori, Peruvians were
becoming increasingly interested in the myriad allegations of
criminality that involved Fujimori and his chief of the National
Intelligence Service, Vladimiro Montesinos. A 2002 report by Health
Minister Fernando Carbone (es) later suggested that Fujimori was
involved in the forced sterilizations of up to 300,000 indigenous
women between 1996 and 2000, as part of a population control
program. A 2004
World Bank publication said that in this period
Montesinos' abuse of the power Fujimori granted him "led to a steady
and systematic undermining of the rule of law".
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Main article: Peruvian national election, 2000
The 1993 constitution limited a presidency to two terms. Shortly after
Fujimori began his second term, his supporters in Congress passed a
law of "authentic interpretation" which effectively allowed him to run
for another term in 2000. A 1998 effort to repeal this law by
referendum failed. In late 1999, Fujimori announced that he would
run for a third term. Peruvian electoral bodies, which were
politically sympathetic to Fujimori, accepted his argument that the
two-term restriction did not apply to him, as it was enacted while he
was already in office.
Exit polls showed Fujimori fell short of the 50% required to avoid an
electoral runoff, but the first official results showed him with 49.6%
of the vote, just short of outright victory. Eventually, Fujimori was
credited with 49.89%—20,000 votes short of avoiding a runoff.
Despite reports of numerous irregularities, the international
observers recognized an adjusted victory of Fujimori. His primary
opponent, Alejandro Toledo, called for his supporters to spoil their
ballots in the runoff by writing "No to fraud!" on them (voting is
mandatory in Peru). International observers pulled out of the country
after Fujimori refused to delay the runoff.
In the runoff, Fujimori won with 51.1% of the total votes. While votes
for Toledo declined from 37.0% of the total votes cast in the first
round to 17.7% of the votes in the second round, invalid votes jumped
from 8.1% of the total votes cast in the first round to 31.1% of total
votes in the second round. The large percentage of invalid votes
in this election suggests that many Peruvians took Toledo's advice and
spoiled their ballots.
2nd round valid votes
2nd round total votes
Although Fujimori won the runoff with only a bare majority, rumors of
irregularities led most of the international community to shun his
third swearing-in on 28 July. For the next seven weeks, there were
daily demonstrations in front of the presidential palace. As a
conciliatory gesture, Fujimori appointed former opposition candidate
Federico Salas as prime minister. However, opposition parties in
Parliament refused to support this move, and Toledo campaigned
vigorously to have the election annulled. At this point, a corruption
Vladimiro Montesinos broke out, and exploded into
full force on the evening of 14 September 2000, when the cable
Canal N broadcast footage of Montesinos apparently
bribing opposition congressman Alberto Kouri for defecting to
Fujimori's Perú 2000 party. The video was presented by Fernando
Olivera, leader of the FIM (Independent Moralizing Front), who
purchased it from one of Montesinos's closest allies[who?] (nicknamed
by the Peruvian press El Patriota).
Fujimori's support virtually collapsed, and a few days later he
announced in a nationwide address that he would shut down the SIN and
call new elections, in which he would not be a candidate. On 10
November, Fujimori won approval from Congress to hold elections on 8
April 2001. On 13 November, Fujimori left
Peru for a visit to Brunei
to attend the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. On 16 November,
Valentín Paniagua took over as president of Congress after the
pro-Fujimori leadership lost a vote of confidence. On 17 November,
Fujimori traveled from
Brunei to Tokyo, where he submitted his
presidential resignation via fax. Congress refused to accept his
resignation, instead voting 62–9 to remove Fujimori from office on
the grounds that he was "permanently morally disabled."
On 19 November, government ministers presented their resignations en
bloc. Because Fujimori's first vice president, Francisco Tudela, had
broken with Fujimori and resigned a few days earlier, his successor
Ricardo Márquez came to claim the presidency. Congress, however,
refused to recognize him, as he was an ardent Fujimori loyalist;
Márquez resigned two days later. Paniagua was next in line, and
became interim president to oversee the April elections.
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Main article: Internal conflict in Peru
Tarata bombing and Japanese embassy hostage crisis
When Fujimori came to power, much of
Peru was dominated by the Maoist
insurgent group Sendero Luminoso ("Shining Path"), and the
Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA).
In 1989, 25% of Peru's district and provincial councils opted not to
hold elections, owing to a persistent campaign of assassination, over
the course of which over 100 officials had been killed by the Shining
Path in that year alone. That same year, more than one-third of Peru's
courts lacked a justice of the peace, because of Shining Path
intimidation. Union leaders and military officials were also
assassinated throughout the 1980s.
Shining Path was active in Peru.
By the early 1990s, some parts of the country were under the control
of the insurgents, in territories known as "zonas liberadas"
("liberated zones"), where inhabitants lived under the rule of these
groups and paid them taxes. When the
Shining Path arrived in Lima,
it organized "paros armados" ("armed strikes"), which were enforced by
killings and other forms of violence. The leadership of the Shining
Path was largely university students and teachers. Two previous
governments, those of
Fernando Belaúnde Terry
Fernando Belaúnde Terry and Alan García, at
first neglected the threat posed by the Shining Path, then launched an
unsuccessful military campaign to eradicate it, undermining public
faith in the state and precipitating an exodus of elites.
Shining Path guerrilla attacks had claimed an estimated
20,000 lives over preceding 12 years. On 16 July 1992 the Tarata
Bombing, in which several car bombs exploded in Lima's wealthiest
district, killed over 40 people; the bombings were characterized by
one commentator as an "offensive to challenge President Albert
Fujimori." The bombing at Tarata was followed up with a "weeklong
wave of car bombings ... Bombs hit banks, hotels, schools,
restaurants, police stations and shops ... [G]uerrillas bombed two
rail bridges from the Andes, cutting off some of Peru's largest copper
mines from coastal ports."
Fujimori has been credited by many Peruvians with ending the
fifteen-year reign of terror of the Shining Path. As part of his
anti-insurgency efforts, Fujimori granted the military broad powers to
arrest suspected insurgents and try them in secret military courts
with few legal rights. This measure has often been criticized for
compromising the fundamental democratic and human right to an open
trial wherein the accused faces the accuser. Fujimori contended that
these measures were both justified and also necessary. Members of the
judiciary were too afraid to charge the alleged insurgents, and judges
and prosecutors had very legitimate fears of reprisals against them or
their families. At the same time, Fujimori's government armed
rural Peruvians, organizing them into groups known as "rondas
campesinas" ("peasant patrols").
Insurgent activity was in decline by the end of 1992, and Fujimori
took credit for this abatement, claiming that his campaign had largely
eliminated the insurgent threat. After the 1992 auto-coup, the
intelligence work of the DINCOTE (National Counter-Terrorism
Directorate) led to the capture of the leaders from MRTA and the
Shining Path, including notorious
Shining Path leader Abimael Guzmán.
Guzmán's capture was a political coup for Fujimori, who used it to
great effect in the press; in an interview with documentarian Ellen
Perry, Fujimori even notes that he specially ordered Guzmán's prison
jumpsuit to be white with black stripes, to enhance the image of his
capture in the media.
Critics charge that to achieve the defeat of the Shining Path, the
Peruvian military engaged in widespread human rights abuses, and that
the majority of the victims were poor highland countryside inhabitants
caught in a crossfire between the military and insurgents. The final
report of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, published
on 28 August 2003, brought out that Peruvian armed forces were also
guilty of destroying villages and murdering countryside inhabitants
whom they suspected of supporting insurgents. The majority of the
atrocities committed between 1980 and 1995, however, were indeed the
work of the Shining Path.
Japanese embassy hostage crisis began on 17 December 1996, when
fourteen MRTA militants seized the residence of the Japanese
Lima during a party, taking hostage some four hundred
diplomats, government officials, and other dignitaries. The action was
partly in protest of prison conditions in Peru. During the four-month
standoff, the Emerretistas gradually freed all but 72 of their
hostages. The government rejected the militants' demand to release
imprisoned MRTA members and secretly prepared an elaborate plan to
storm the residence, while stalling by negotiating with the
On 22 April 1997, a team of military commandos, codenamed "Chavín de
Huantar", raided the building. One hostage, two military commandos,
and all 14 MRTA insurgents were killed in the operation. Images of
President Fujimori at the ambassador's residence during and after the
military operation, surrounded by soldiers and liberated dignitaries,
and walking among the corpses of the insurgents, were widely
televised. The conclusion of the four-month-long standoff was used by
Fujimori and his supporters to bolster his image as tough on
Accusations of human rights abuses
See also: Barrios Altos massacre, La Cantuta massacre, and Operation
Chavín de Huántar
Several organizations criticized Fujimori's methods against the
Shining Path and the MRTA.
Amnesty International said "the widespread
and systematic nature of human rights violations committed during the
government of former head of state Albert Fujimori (1990–2000) in
Peru constitute crimes against humanity under international law."
Fujimori's alleged association with death squads is currently being
studied by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, after the court
accepted the case of "Cantuta vs Perú".
Barrios Altos massacre
Barrios Altos massacre by members of the death squad Grupo
Colina, made up solely of members of the Peruvian armed forces, was
one of the crimes that
Peru cited in its request to Japan for his
extradition in 2003.
From 1996 to 2000, the Fujimori government oversaw a massive forced
sterilization (sometimes called "family planning") campaign known as
Voluntary Surgical Contraception. The
United Nations and other
international aid agencies supported this campaign. USAID provided
funding and training until it was exposed by objections by churches
and human rights groups. The Nippon Foundation, headed by Ayako
Sono, a Japanese novelist and personal friend of Fujimori, supported
as well. Over 215,000 people, mostly women, entirely
indigenous, were forced or threatened into sterilization during these
years, most of them without anesthesia. This fits the definition of
not just abuse, but an act of genocide.
The success of the military operation in the Japanese embassy hostage
crisis was tainted by subsequent allegations that at least three and
possibly eight of the insurgents were summarily executed by the
commandos after surrendering. In 2002, the case was taken up by public
prosecutors, but the
Peruvian Supreme Court
Peruvian Supreme Court ruled that the military
tribunals had jurisdiction. A military court later absolved them of
guilt, and the "Chavín de Huantar" soldiers led the 2004 military
parade. In response, in 2003 MRTA family members lodged a complaint
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) accusing
the Peruvian state of human rights violations, namely that the MRTA
insurgents had been denied the "right to life, the right to judicial
guarantees and the right to judicial protection". The IACHR accepted
the case and is currently[when?] studying it. Peruvian Minister of
Justice Maria Zavala has stated that this verdict[clarification
needed] by the IACHR supports the Peruvian government's extradition of
Fujimori from Chile. Though the IACHR verdict does not directly
implicate Fujimori, it does fault the Peruvian government for its
complicity in the 1992 Cantuta University killings.
Resignation, arrest, and trial
Main article: Alberto Fujimori's arrest and trial
Alberto Fujimori left
Peru in November 2000 to attend a regional
summit in Brunei. He later travelled to Japan. Once there, he
announced plans to remain in the country and faxed his resignation
letter to Congress.
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After Congress rejected Fujimori's faxed resignation, they relieved
Fujimori of his duties as president and banned him from Peruvian
politics for a decade. He remained in self-imposed exile in Japan,
where he resided with his friend, the famous Catholic novelist Ayako
Sono. Several senior Japanese politicians have supported
Fujimori, partly because of his decisive action in ending the 1997
Japanese embassy crisis.
Alejandro Toledo, who assumed the presidency in 2001, spearheaded the
criminal case against Fujimori. He arranged meetings with the Supreme
Court, tax authorities, and other powers in
Peru to "coordinate the
joint efforts to bring the criminal Fujimori from Japan." His
vehemence in this matter at times compromised Peruvian law: forcing
the judiciary and legislative system to keep guilty sentences without
hearing Fujimori's defense; not providing Fujimori with representation
when Fujimori was tried in absentia; and expelling pro-Fujimori
congressmen from the parliament without proof of the accusations
against those congressmen. These expulsions were later reversed by the
The Peruvian Congress authorized charges against Fujimori in August
2001. Fujimori was alleged to be a co-author, along with Vladimiro
Montesinos, of the death-squad killings at Barrios Altos in 1991 and
La Cantuta in 1992. At the behest of Peruvian authorities,
Interpol issued an arrest order for Fujimori on charges that included
murder, kidnapping, and crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, the
Peruvian government found that Japan was not amenable to the
extradition of Fujimori; a protracted diplomatic debate ensued, when
Japan showed itself unwilling to accede to the extradition request.
In September 2003, Congressman Dora Dávila, joined by Minister of
Health Luis Soari, denounced Fujimori and several of his ministers for
crimes against humanity, for allegedly having overseen forced
sterilizations during his regime. In November, Congress approved an
investigation of Fujimori's involvement in the airdrop of Kalashnikov
rifles into the Colombian jungle in 1999 and 2000 for guerrillas of
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC). Fujimori maintains
he had no knowledge of the arms-trading, and blames Montesinos. By
approving the charges, Congress lifted the immunity granted to
Fujimori as a former president, so that he could be criminally charged
Congress also voted to support charges against Fujimori for the
detention and disappearance of 67 students from the central Andean
Huancayo and the disappearance of several residents from the
northern coastal town of
Chimbote during the 1990s. It also approved
charges that Fujimori mismanaged millions of dollars from Japanese
charities, suggesting that the millions of dollars in his bank account
were far too much to have been accumulated legally. By March 2005,
it appeared that
Peru had all but abandoned its efforts to extradite
Fujimori from Japan.
In September of that year, Fujimori obtained a new Peruvian passport
in Tokyo and announced his intention to run in the Peruvian national
election, 2006. He arrived in
Chile in November 2005, but hours after
his arrival in the country he was arrested.
Peru then requested his
extradition, which it got in September 2007.
Special Prosecutor established to investigate Fujimori released a
report alleging that the Fujimori administration had obtained US$2
billion though graft. Most of this money came from Vladimiro
Montesinos' web of corruption. The
Special Prosecutor's figure of
two billion dollars is considerably higher than the one arrived at by
Transparency International, an NGO that studies corruption.
Transparency International listed Fujimori as having embezzled an
estimated USD $600 million, which would rank seventh in the list of
money embezzled by heads of government active within
He dismissed the judicial proceedings underway against him as
"politically motivated", citing Toledo's involvement. Fujimori
established a new political party in Peru, Sí Cumple, working from
Japan. He hoped to participate in the 2006 presidential elections, but
in February 2004, the
Constitutional Court dismissed this possibility,
because the ex-president was specifically barred by Congress from
holding any office for ten years. Fujimori saw the decision as
unconstitutional, as did his supporters such as ex-congressmembers Luz
Salgado, Marta Chávez and Fernán Altuve, who argued it was a
"political" maneuver and that the only body with the authority to
determine the matter was the Jurado Nacional de Elecciones (JNE).
Valentín Paniagua disagreed, suggesting that the Constitutional Court
finding was binding and that "no further debate is possible".
Sí Cumple (roughly translated, "He Keeps His Word")
received more than 10% in many country-level polls, contending with
APRA for the second place slot, but did not participate in the
2006 elections after its participation in the Alliance for the Future
(initially thought as Alliance Sí Cumple) had not been allowed.
On 7 April 2009 a three-judge panel convicted Fujimori on charges of
human rights abuses, declaring that the "charges against him have been
proven beyond all reasonable doubt". The panel found him guilty
of ordering the
Grupo Colina death squad to commit the November 1991
Barrios Altos massacre
Barrios Altos massacre and the July 1992 La Cantuta Massacre, which
resulted in the deaths of 25 people, as well as for taking part
in the kidnappings of Peruvian opposition journalist Gustavo Gorriti
and businessman Samuel Dyer. Fujimori's conviction is the
only instance of a democratically elected head of state being tried
and convicted of human rights abuses in his own country. Later on
7 April, the court sentenced Fujimori to 25 years in prison.
Fujimori in September 2008.
He faced a third trial in July 2009 over allegations that he illegally
gave $15 million in state funds to Vladimiro Montesinos, former head
of the National Intelligence Service, during the two months prior to
his fall from power. Fujimori admitted paying the money to Montesinos
but claimed that he had later paid back the money to the state.
On 20 July, the court found him guilty of embezzlement and sentenced
him to a further seven and a half years in prison.
A fourth, and apparently final, trial took place in September 2009 in
Lima. Fujimori was accused of using Montesinos to bribe and tap
the phones of journalists, businessmen and opposition politicians –
evidence of which led to the collapse of his government in
2000. Fujimori admitted the charges but claimed that the
charges were made to damage his daughter's presidential election
campaign. The prosecution asked the court to sentence Fujimori to
eight years imprisonment with a fine of $1.6 million plus $1 million
in compensation to ten people whose phones were bugged. Fujimori
pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment on 30
Main article: Pardon of Alberto Fujimori
Press reports in late 2012 indicated that Fujimori was suffering from
tongue cancer and other medical problems. His family asked President
Ollanta Humala for a pardon. President Humala rejected a pardon
in 2013, saying that Fujimori's condition was not serious enough to
warrant it. In July 2016, with three days left in his term,
President Humala said that there was insufficient time to evaluate a
second request to pardon Fujimori, leaving the decision to his
successor Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. On 24 December 2017,
President Kuczynski pardoned him on health grounds. Kuczynski's
office stated that the hospitalized 79-year-old Fujimori had a
"progressive, degenerative and incurable disease". The pardon kicked
off at least two days of protests and led at least three congressmen
to resign from Kucyznski's party. A spokesman for Popular Force
alleged there was a pact that, in exchange for the pardon, Popular
Force members helped Kuczynski fight ongoing impeachment
Fujimori is credited by many Peruvians for bringing stability to the
country after the violence and hyperinflation of the García years.
While it is generally agreed that the "Fujishock" brought
short/middle-term macroeconomic stability, the long-term social impact
of Fujimori's free market economic policies is still hotly debated.
Neoliberal reforms under Fujimori took place in three distinct phases:
an initial "orthodox" phase (1990–92) in which technocrats dominated
the reform agenda; a "pragmatic" phase (1993–98) that saw the
growing influence of business elites over government priorities; and a
final "watered-down" phase (1999–2000) dominated by a clique of
personal loyalists and their clientelist policies that aimed to secure
Fujimori a third term as president. Business was a big winner of the
reforms, with its influence increasing significantly within both the
state and society.
High growth during Fujimori's first term petered out during his second
term. "El Niño" phenomena had a tremendous impact on the Peruvian
economy during the late 1990s. Nevertheless, total GDP growth
between 1992 and 2001, inclusive, was 44.60%, that is, 3.76% per
annum; total GDP per capita growth between 1991 and 2001, inclusive,
was 30.78%, that is, 2.47% per annum. Also, studies by INEI, the
national statistics bureau show that the number of Peruvians
living in poverty increased dramatically (from 41.6% to more than 70%)
during Alan García's term, but they actually decreased (from more
than 70% to 54%) during Fujimori's term. Furthermore, FAO reported
Peru reduced undernourishment by about 29% from 1990–92 to
Peru was reintegrated into the global economic system, and began to
attract foreign investment. The sell-off of state-owned enterprises
led to improvements in some service industries, notably local
telephony, mobile telephony and Internet. For example, before
privatization, a consumer or business had to wait up to 10 years to
get a local telephone line installed by the state-run telephone
company, at a cost of $607 for a residential line. A couple
of years after privatization, the wait was reduced to just a few days.
Peru's Physical land based telephone network had a dramatic increase
in telephone penetration from 2.9% in 1993 to 5.9% in 1996 and 6.2% in
2000, and a dramatic decrease in the wait for a telephone line.
Average wait went from 70 months in 1993 (before privatization) to two
months in 1996 (after privatization).
generated foreign investment in export-oriented activities such as
mining and energy extraction, notably the Camisea gas project and the
copper and zinc extraction projects at Antamina.
By the end of the decade, Peru's international currency reserves were
built up from nearly zero at the end of García's term to almost US$10
billion. Fujimori also left a smaller state bureaucracy and reduced
government expenses (in contrast to the historical pattern of
bureaucratic expansion), a technically minded (but widely perceived as
politicized) administration of public entities like
SUNAT (the tax
collection agency), a large number of new schools, not only in Lima
but in Peru's small towns, more roads and highways, and new and
upgraded communications infrastructure. These
improvements led to a revival in tourism, agroexport, industries and
Detractors have observed that Fujimori was able to encourage
large-scale mining projects with foreign corporations and push through
mining-friendly legislation laws because the post auto-coup political
picture greatly facilitated the process.
Some analysts state that some of the GDP growth during the Fujimori
years reflects a greater rate of extraction of non-renewable resources
by transnational companies; these companies were attracted by Fujimori
by means of near-zero royalties, and, by the same fact, little of the
extracted wealth has stayed in the country. Peru's
mining legislation, they claim, has served as a role model for other
countries that wish to become more mining-friendly.
Fujimori's privatization program also remains shrouded in controversy.
A congressional investigation in 2002, led by socialist opposition
congressman Javier Diez Canseco, stated that of the USD $9 billion
raised through the privatizations of hundreds of state-owned
enterprises, only a small fraction of this income ever benefited the
The one instance of organised labour's success in impeding reforms,
namely the teacher's union resistance to education reform, was based
on traditional methods of organisation and resistance: strikes and
Some scholars claim that Fujimori's government became a "dictatorship"
after the auto-coup, permeated by a network of corruption
organized by his associate Montesinos, who now faces dozens of charges
that range from embezzlement to drug trafficking to murder (Montesinos
is currently[when?] on trial in Lima). Fujimori's style
of government has also been described as "populist authoritarianism".
Numerous governments and human rights organizations such as
Amnesty International, have welcomed the extradition of Fujimori to
face human rights charges. As early as 1991, Fujimori had himself
vocally denounced what he called "pseudo-human rights organizations"
Amnesty International and Americas Watch, for allegedly
failing to criticize the insurgencies targeting civilian populations
Peru against which his government was struggling.
In the 2004 Global Transparency Report, Fujimori made into the list of
the World's Most Corrupt Leaders. He was listed seventh and he was
said to have amassed $600 million, but despite years of incarceration
and investigation, none of these supposed stolen funds have ever been
located in any bank account anywhere in the world.
Fujimori did have support within Peru. The Universidad de
2003 poll, taken while he was in Japan, found a 41% approval rating
for his administration. A poll conducted in March 2005 by the
Instituto de Desarrollo e Investigación de Ciencias Económicas
(IDICE) indicated that 12.1% of the respondents intended to vote for
Fujimori in the 2006 presidential election. A poll conducted on
25 November 2005, by the Universidad de
Lima indicated a high approval
(45.6%) rating of the Fujimori period between 1990 and 2000,
attributed to his counterinsurgency efforts (53%). An article
from La Razon, a Peruvian newspaper, stated in 2003 that: "Fujimori is
only guilty of one big crime and it is that of having been successful
in a country of failed politicians, creators of debt, builders of
mirages, and downright opportunistic."
According to a more recent Universidad de
Lima survey, Fujimori still
retains public support, ranking fifth in personal popularity among
other political figures. Popular approval for his decade-long
presidency (1990–2000) has reportedly grown (from 31.5% in 2002 to
49.5% in May 2007). Despite accusations of corruption
and human rights violations, nearly half of the individuals
interviewed in the survey approved of Fujimori's presidential
regime. In a 2007 Universidad de
Lima survey of 600
Lima and the port of Callao, 82.6% agreed that the former
president should be extradited from
Chile to stand trial in Peru.
The Lima-based newspaper Perú 21 ran an editorial noting that even
though the Universidad de
Lima poll results indicate that four out of
every five interviewees believe that Fujimori is guilty of some of the
charges against him, he still enjoys at least 30% of popular support
and enough approval to restart a political career.
In the 2006 congressional elections, his daughter Keiko was elected to
the congress with the highest vote count. She came in second place in
the 2011 Peruvian presidential election with 23.2% of the vote,
and lost the June run-off against Ollanta Humala. She again ran
for President in the 2016 election.
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site of Carrefour Amérique Latine (CAL). Retrieved 27 September 2006.
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Electoral Authoritarianism in Peru. Pennsylvania State University
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^ Catherine M. Conaghan 2005 Fujimori's Peru: Deception In The Public
Sphere (Pitt Latin American Series) University of Pittsburgh Press
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corrupción y violaciones de los derechos humanos, Centro de Derechos
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H.W. Wilson Company, Current Biography Yearbook, Volume 57, H.W.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alberto Fujimori.
Biography and tenure by CIDOB Foundation (in Spanish)
Appearances on C-SPAN
Alberto Fujimori on Charlie Rose
Alberto Fujimori on IMDb
Works by or about
Alberto Fujimori in libraries (
Alberto Fujimori collected news and commentary". The New York
The Fall of Fujimori on POV at PBS, 2006
State of Fear a documentary of Peru's war on terror based on the
findings of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission
President of Peru
July 1990 – April 1992
President of the Emergency
and National Reconstruction Government
April 1992 – July 1995
President of Peru
July 1995 – November 2000
Presidents of Peru
Bernardo de Tagle
Bernardo de Tagle
Salazar y Baquíjano
Gutiérrez de la Fuente
P. Diez Canseco
P. Diez Canseco
P. Diez Canseco
F. Diez Canseco
Pardo y Barreda
Pardo y Barreda
Bustamante y Rivero
ISNI: 0000 0000 5866 1873
BNF: cb12446658c (data)