Latin America

Why the (non-)release of Alberto Fujimori has become Peru’s new soap opera

The imprisoned former dictator continues to strongly divide Peru, with attempts to see him prematurely released from jail the subject of continuing political conflict

fujimori peru
A woman holds a Peruvian flag that reads “No pardon, murderer serve your sentence” after Peru’s top court reinstated a controversial pardon for Peru’s former President Alberto Fujimori who had been sentenced for human rights violations. Photo: Sebastian Castaneda/Shutterstock

Your typical Latin American dictatorship would normally come to power through a coup and install a group of military officers at the head of a repressive regime with opposition banned and political opponents persecuted. The case of Peru’s Alberto Fujimori almost fits the bill – except that ‘El Chino,’ Peru’s ruler during the 1990s, was democratically elected. His authoritarian takeover came after. 

Mr. Fujimori’s era of terror saw extrajudicial exterminations, an attempt at ethnic cleansing, widespread corruption, and the dissolution of the country’s legislature in a so-called ‘self-coup.’ 

But, despite a 25-year sentence for crimes against humanity and corruption charges,...

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