‘Narco-pardons’ scandal shakes Peru elite

A parliamentary Mega-Commission investigating corruption in the former administration of Álan García 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 García’s Presidential Pardons Commission, as responsible in the fracas. But Mega-Commission member Carlos Tubino has called for García himself to testify. Former special anti-corruption prosecutor José 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 Perú 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.