‘Narco-pardons’ scandal shakes Peru elite

A parliamentary Mega-Commission investigating corruption in the former administration of Álan GarcĂ­a has shocked Peru with its findings that some 5,500 pardons and commutations were granted under his presidency—including to 3,207 convicted on drug trafficking charges, at least 400 in high-volume cases. More than 800 of these are said to have returned to crime and are now fugitives. Mega-Commission president Sergio Tejada has named Miguel Facundo Chinguel, head of GarcĂ­a’s Presidential Pardons Commission, as responsible in the fracas. But Mega-Commission member Carlos Tubino has called for GarcĂ­a himself to testify. Former special anti-corruption prosecutor JosĂ© Ugaz, who opened the first investigation into the “narco-pardons,” likewise says that the probe must reach “the highest levels” of the former administration. In March, a bomb was found under his car.  (La Republica, May 31; Andina, May 30; RPP, May 12; Correo, March 9)

In a case of bad timing, the scandal comes just as ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori has launched a high-pressure campaign from behind bars to press President Ollanta Humala for a pardon, releasing a steady stream of letters, photos and videos to the media emphasizing his depression and ill health. Congressman Omar Chehade of the ruling Gana PerĂș coalition accused the imprisoned despot of a “grotesque manipulation.”  (Peru21, Andina, June 1; La Primera, May 10)

Álan García entered into a Free Trade Agreement with the United States in 2009.