Peru’s former spy chief said Friday that presidential candidate
Ollanta Humala helped him escape from the country six years ago by
staging a fake military rebellion.
Vladimiro Montesinos, the intelligence chief for former President
Alberto Fujimori, made the statement in court during one of his myriad
corruption trials. An audio of the statement was replayed on nightly
television and radio newscasts.
Humala, a retired army lieutenant colonel, burst onto the political
scene when he led a short-lived military uprising in Oct. 29, 2000,
against Fujimori, whose government collapsed a month later amid
corruption scandals centered around Montesinos.
Humala has repeatedly denied suggestions his bloodless rebellion was
a diversion to cover Montesinos’ simultaneous escape from Peru on a
private yacht. Montesinos, who controlled the military during much of
his decade as Fujimori’s spy chief, was captured eight months later in
Montesinos on Friday called Humala’s uprising a "farce, an operation
of deception and manipulation" designed to "facilitate my exit from the
country on the sailboat Karisma. That is the reality of those events."
Humala, a populist in the mold of Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo
Chavez, trails former President Alan Garcia in the polls ahead of a
June 4 runoff vote.
He angrily accused Montesinos late Friday of making a deal with
Garcia’s center-left Aprista party to undermine his candidacy. The
candidates are scheduled to face off in a nationally televised debate
"I want to declare my indignation at the statements (by Montesinos)," Humala told reporters. "Who benefits from the declarations that stain the honor of Ollanta
Humala? Evidently they benefit Alan Garcia," Humala added. "I ask Mr.
Alan Garcia, what’s the deal? What is this about? Everyone knows
Montesinos wants and is fighting for his liberty. I won’t give it to
Jorge del Castillo, Aprista’s secretary general, called Humala’s
suggestion that Garcia was behind Montesinos’ statement "nonsense."
Already serving a 15-year sentence on various corruption
convictions, Montesinos still faces dozens of charges ranging from
extortion to arms smuggling to directing a paramilitary death squad. Humala’s uprising began when he and more than 50 followers took over
a mine in the southern Peruvian town of Toquepala, commandeered food
and fuel, and then disappeared into the mountains with an army general
as a hostage. That same day, Montesinos, who had been in hiding for weeks, boarded
the yacht Karisma in Lima’s port of Callao and sailed to Ecuador’s
Before Montesinos left, investigators have said, he made several
calls with his satellite telephone to the Locumba army base, where
Humala was stationed, raising suspicions that the spy chief
orchestrated the mutiny.