Vladimiro Montesinos

Vladimiro Lenin Montesinos Torres, known as “El Doc”, was the Machiavellian right hand man of president and dictator Alberto Fujimori from 1990 to 2000. Found guilty of a wide range of offences based around bribery and corruption, he is serving the first of a series of sentences in Peru’s maximum security jail in the Callao naval base.

Montesinos started his career as an officer in the Peruvian military, but was indicted for selling secrets to the USA and imprisoned. While he was released shortly thereafter, supposedly to avoid a public relations fiasco, his military career was over and he retrained as a lawyer, specialising in the defence of those accused of drug trafficking, corruption and racketeering. It was in this capacity that he met presidential candidate Alberto Fujimori, when he was accused of irregularities in 1990. He quickly became an indispensable aide to the Fujimori regime, cementing his control over Peru through any means available.

Bribery was a favourite method of his, paying off media moguls and opposition politicians to ensure their adherence with bribes ranging into the millions of dollars – he would often videotape the bribery, so as to have evidence to use as blackmail. He put family members and trusted friends into positions of power in government, law enforcement and the military in order to further secure his grip on the state.

He also put together the paramilitary “Colina Group” with the aim of assassinating terrorist leaders, and even infiltrated members into the investigatory police in order to obtain intelligence on their whereabouts. An intelligence failure led to their perpetrating the Barrios Altos massacre in Lima, when they killed a number of people involved in a neighbourhood barbecue that took place near to a supposed Shining Path safe house.

During his time as a key government figure Montesinos has also been accused of instigating a spite campaign against police and judicial figures who had made decisions against him during his time as a lawyer, and of accepting monthly $50,000 protection payments from a drug trafficker, who later recanted his testimony, showing evidence of torture during the interim. It is thought that he also sold Kalashnikov assault rifles to the FARC narco-terrorist group in Colombia.

With the fall of the Fujimori government, Montesinos lost his “untouchable” status and fled to Venezuela. He was arrested and deported, and is currently jailed in the naval base in Callao.

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