Corruption in Peru
The current government of Peru has taken the issue of corruption very
seriously. They need to. Corruption in Peru has been a crippling
problem in recent years and -- not very long ago -- was actively and
brazenly protected by the government, courts, businesses, and all
other centers of power in the country. In the past few years, a
number of effective mechanisms have been put into place to wage war on
corruption. But war it is, and it is by no means clear yet which side
has the upper hand. Most observers agree there is a sincere effort
underway to tackle the problems of corruption and violence.
And yes, there is always a very real potential for things to turn violent.
The is no lack of information on the topic, but because corruption has
reached into the highest levels of Peruvian society -- toppling the
presidency of Alberto Fujimori, who fled to exile in Japan in 2000 --
most of the information focuses on the "big fish". There is not a
great deal of information about the more mundane, day-to-day types of
corruption and graft that appear to have infiltrated Peruvian systems
of government and business, nor is there much information on the
chances of physical harm a person takes by trying to expose such
corruption. It must be said, however, that your father is a brave man
for trying to do what is right in a difficult and potentially
I've summarized the key, recent information available on the situation
in Peru regarding corruption and violence. I hope this will provide
you with the full information you need. But if anything here is
unclear -- or if you need additional information -- please don't
hesitate to ask. Just post a Request for Clarification to let me know
how I can assist you further, and I'll certainly do my best.
Best of luck to you and your family.
[Below is a link to the U.S. State Department's "Country Report" for
Peru -- Not much on corruption/human rights, but it provides a good
overview of recent history and politics]
Background Note: Peru
[Here is the State Department's Human Rights report on Peru]
Peru: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
March 31, 2003
[I've excerpted some relevant material from this report, but suggest
you access the full report yourself, as it is a valuable overview of
the rapidly changing human rights landscape in Peru]
--Peru is a multiparty republic that recently emerged from a decade of
authoritarian government and is undergoing a process of democratic
transformation. In November 2000, President Valentin Paniagua took
power and led a transition government after then-President Alberto
Fujimori resigned and was dismissed from office. The Government held
elections in April and June 2001, which observers considered to be
generally free and fair. Alejandro Toledo of the Peru Posible party
won the presidential runoff election with approximately 53 percent of
the vote and was inaugurated in July 2001.
--The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, the
judiciary widely was considered corrupt and was subject to pressure
from the executive over controversial decisions favoring members of
the Fujimori government. The Government continued judicial reform
--The Peruvian National Police (PNP) and the military shared
responsibility for internal security; they were under effective
civilian control. Members of the security forces committed some
serious human rights abuses.
--The Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;
however, there were serious problems in some areas. There were
allegations of unlawful or unwarranted killings by police, and one
military recruit died as a result of abuse by superior officers.
Police tortured, beat, and otherwise abused detainees. Prison security
forces abused inmates.
--Torture and abuse of military recruits continued. Impunity remained
a problem, and security forces sometimes harassed victims or other
witnesses to keep them from filing charges.
[The current government appears to be taking corruption charges much
more seriously than in the past, although this is a two-edged sword --
the government may be using new anti-corruption laws to crack down on
--A 2000 law allows the authorities to detain suspects in
investigations for corruption for up to 15 days without arraignment.
The law also permits the authorities to prohibit suspects under
investigation for corruption from traveling abroad.
--Many individuals associated with the Fujimori administration were
the targets of criminal investigations. Anticorruption legislation
enacted in 2000 gave judicial authorities expanded powers to detain
witnesses and suspects. Many of those detained under these laws
complained that the cases against them were politically motivated.
--Several media executives remained jailed pending investigations of
corruption charges stemming from media manipulation during the
--In May the authorities placed Alex and Moises Wolfenson, the
publishers of pro-Fujimori tabloid El Chino and of opposition daily La
Razon, under house arrest on corruption charges. On June 22, a radio
station broadcast a tape in which Salomon Lerner Ghitis, the chairman
of the government-owned Financial Corporation for Development and a
government insider, threatened Alex and Moises Wolfenson with judicial
proceedings and jail time should they continue to criticize the
Government. In September a court ratified the house arrest.
--In June Congress voted to suspend Congresswoman Martha Chavez from
her congressional duties following allegations of corruption.
[a good example of the type of thing you asked about -- retaliation
for charges of corruption -- can be found in this excerpt]
--On February 4, Army specialist and Chepen military recruitment
officer Cristobal Cardenas-Lazaro and photographer Ramon Bazan-Quiroz
physically and verbally assaulted Hector Enrique Chavarry-Carahuatay,
producer of the news program "Democracia" on the Frequencia Popular
radio station in Chepen. Those involved in the attack said it was in
retaliation for Chavarry-Carahuatay's frequent news stories on
corruption involving the chief of the Chepen military recruitment
office, who had allegedly been soliciting bribes from citizens
applying for military identification cards.
[more about retaliation]
--On August 24, police officers in Callao arrested Omar de la Cruz for
alleged involvement in a robbery. After giving his statement, several
police tortured him using rubber batons. Family members reported to
COMISEDH that de la Cruz had injuries on his head and neck and a burn
on his waist. An investigation was underway at year's end. COMISEDH
reported that the victim's family refused legal assistance due to fear
The U.S. State Department has also released funds to Peru in
acknowledgment of Peru's increased diligence in fighting
corruption...some of the funds are to be earmarked for compensating
victims of corrupt activities:
January 12, 2004
Transfer to Peru of Assets Derived From Corruption
U.S. turnover to Peru of all of the net forfeited property in this
case recognizes the importance of close international law enforcement
cooperation. The transfer is to the Fondo Especial de Administración
del Dinero Obtenido Ilicitamente en Perjuicio del Estado (FEDADOI),
which Peru established in 2001 in order to administer returned assets
that had been misappropriated during the Fujimori years. Under the
agreement, Peru also agrees to ensure public notice and a public
comment period on the proposed use of the funds and to give priority
consideration to using the funds to compensate victims of the
underlying crimes and to support anticorruption initiatives and
institutions in Peru.
The well-known international rights organization, Amnesty
International, has an extensive online library of reports, press
releases and other documents pertaining to "Fear of safety" incidents
in Peru (or other countries of interest, for that matter). These are
reports of individuals who fear for their safety after having come
into the sights of the powers that be.
AI's reports pertaining to Peru (there are 96 in all) can be seen at:
Some of the ones that seem most pertinent to your question include:
28 August 2003
Peru: Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report -- an essential
step towards truth, justice and reconciliation
The latest figures from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission state
that over 40,000 people were killed and over 6,000 "disappeared"
between 1980 and 2000, the two decades the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission was mandated to investigate...
Death threats/Fear for safety 16
Amnesty International is concerned at an increasing trend of threats and
intimidation against those who oppose local government authorities in Canchis
Province, Cusco Department. There are concerns for the safety of those named
above, who have received death threats apparently as a result of their
involvement with local radio stations.
In February, Luis Mamani, a reporter at Radio Sicuani, a radio station in
Sicuani, the capital of Canchis Province was reportedly threatened, as well as
physically and verbally abused by the Mayor of the Municipality of Canchis, in
an apparent attempt to silence his criticism of the Mayor's administration...
29 January 2003
Fear for safety/beating and intimidation
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of members of the human
rights organization Asociación por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos...
According to reports, Gloria Cano [a human rights activist in Peru]
was surrounded by a group of about 20 unidentified individuals who
then started to beat and verbally abused her...
18 April 2002
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Margarita Patiño Rey
Sánchez. She has been receiving anonymous death threats after publicly naming
the military officers who allegedly killed her husband...
Transparency International is an organization that tracks the issue of
corruption in business and political systems around the world. Their
information pertianing to Peru can be seen here:
Some of their more salient reports are:
--On 10 February 2004, Proética, TI's national chapter in Peru,
published the results of its second national corruption survey. The
results of the survey of 5810 households found that the Judiciary
(74%) and the Police (71%) were perceived to be the most corrupt
institutions in Peru. Nearly every second Peruvian considered the
government of former president Alberto Fujimori to be the most corrupt
(49%), followed by that of Alan Garcia (21%) and serving president
Alejandro Toledo (20%).
The actual report, in Spanish, can be seen here:
Another in-depth report, known as the "Country Report on the National
Integrity System in Peru" (also in Spanish), can be found here:
Transparency International also has a page on "Daily Corruption News"
at which you can search for news on Peru.
Entering "Peru" in the search box will return a long list of articles
with many that should be of interest to you, including:
Peru attorney general to open government scandal inquiry
Associated Press 27 Jan 2004
State anti-corruption investigators asked Peru's attorney general to
investigate allegations that a former presidential adviser secretly
met two years ago with a retired army general wanted on corruption
Peru's central bank Governor, VP face fraud charges
The New York Times 03 Dec 2003
LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - A Peruvian congressional commission recommended
on Tuesday that Congress pursue fraud charges against Vice President
Raul Diez Canseco and central bank governor Javier Silva Ruete over a
decree they sponsored favoring the father of Diez Canseco's alleged
"Hay que involucrar a la sociedad en la lucha anticorrupción" (Civil
society needs to be involved in the fight against corruption)
La Nacion 17 Nov 2003
[text in Spanish]
[An article that should be of interest because it deals with
corruption in Peru on a smaller scale than national scandals at the
Denuncian irregularidades en compra de camionetas para el serenazgo de
Puente Piedra (Irregularities in the purchase of trucks in the
Municipality of Puente Piedra)
Elcomercio Peru 06 Oct 2003
You should also be aware of the Peruvian non-governmental
organization, SinCorrupcion, whose purpose it to fight corrupt
practices in the country, and who may be able to assist you in your
current situation involving your father. Their website (in Spanish)
Human Rights Watch is one of the most well-respected international
organizations with a focus on human rights concerns. Their summary
page on the situation in Peru -- from their World Report 2002 -- can
be seen here:
--In a series of dramatic developments in late 2000, the repressive
and discredited government of President Alberto Fujimori
disintegrated, generating new hope for democracy and human rights.
Although Peru was faced with the legacy of a decade of authoritarian
rule, both the interim administration of Valentín Paniagua and the new
government of President Alejandro Toledo took important steps in 2001
to strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law, while
starting to address long neglected human rights problems.
--seventy-four former government officials, judges, legislators and
businessmen were being held on a wide range of corruption charges, and
that U.S. $153 million held in foreign bank accounts by Montesinos and
his cronies had been frozen. By November, more than 1,000 people were
under investigation for corruption, according to a senior judicial
A January 2004 update on Peru is here:
although it focuses mostly on major human rights violations (death
squads and torture, for example).
Human Rights Watch's updates page on Peru includes the latest news
report on relevant issues:
although, again, most of the focus in on large-scale human rights violations.
The news about corruption in Peru continues to make international
headlines, such as these excerpts from a recent article from the NY
Peru Leader Voices 'Disappointment' in Corruption Scandal
February 2, 2004
--President Alejandro Toledo of Peru has distanced himself from a
corruption scandal that has shaken his government, saying that he knew
nothing about it and that "anyone who is corrupt is my enemy."
--Mr. Toledo said Mr. Montesinos's corruption network "refuses to
disappear" and was using the Almeyda affair as a smoke screen to
deflect attention and threaten democracy.
Lastly, there is a U.S reporter who appears to be based in Lima, who
writes frequently about corruption and violence, and who, herself, has
been a victim of an attack. You can read a recent story about her
You may want to consider contacting her about the circumstances of
your father's situation.
Once again, just let me know if you need any additional information.
And all the best.
search strategy -- I conducted Google searches on:
corruption Peru (2000 OR 2001 OR 2002 OR 2003 OR 2004)
"human rights" Peru (2000 OR 2001 OR 2002 OR 2003 OR 2004)