Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa has joined more than 230 other Peruvian writers in denouncing the pardon issued to former president Alberto Fujimori, who was serving 25 years in prison for rights abuses. The pardon, issued by current President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, triggered street protests by thousands and led to the resignations of Culture Minister Salvador del Solar and the manager of the country’s public broadcaster.
Kuczynski said he made the gesture on humanitarian grounds because of Fujimori’s ill health. Fujimori, 79, was transferred from prison to a Lima clinic one week ago after suffering low blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. But the writers who signed a manifesto said Fujimori “does not suffer from any degenerative or terminal illness.”
They called the pardon “illegal and irresponsible” and said Fujimori is “a criminal against humanity. “In addition to Vargas Llosa, the signatories included Alfredo Bryce Echenique and Alonso Cueto. “Fujimori’s pardon has been a moral and political cataclysm for our society,” Alfredo Pita, a journalist who also joined the appeal, said on Saturday.
The timing of the pardon for Fujimori was seen by many in Peru as suspicious. It came on Christmas Eve, three days after Kuczynski barely survived an impeachment motion in the opposition-controlled Congress when Fujimori’s son, Kenji, convinced some members of a party led by his sister Keiko not to support the move to oust the leader.
As president from 1990-2000, Fujimori earned respect from many Peruvians for his ruthless campaign to defeat leftist Shining Path guerrillas, but his brutal, illegal methods were also condemned by other parts of Peruvian society and foreign observers. A public opinion poll by the Ipso firm published Saturday indicated that 56 percent of Peruvians approve of the pardon.