The brief era of PPK (imprisoned) and his successor Martín Vizcarra
The engineer and ex-governor of the province of San Martin gained the Presidency per sheer chance:
„In Peru, you are stupid when you are honest”
When the neoliberal advocacy lobby was looking for a candidate for the 2016 presidential election, the choice fell on Pedro Pablo Kusczynski, a US-trained banker and millionaire and because nobody can pronounce his name is known as "PPK". But because he was so elitist, they put Martín Vizcarra at his side, a down-to-earth engineer who had done a good job in his home province of San Martín. In the run-off, Kuscynski narrowly defeated the daughter of former president Fujimori, Keiko, but survived for only one and a half years. The "Fujimoristas" have a majority in Congress, thus made it impossible for him to govern. In addition, the judiciary uncovered during an investigation that PPK's company had collected consulting fees from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht when he was minister under Toledo. Subsequently, the company was awarded lucrative contracts such as the construction of highways and energy infrastructure. The Fujimoristas used this moment and at the end of 2018 they passed a vote of no confidence, after which PPK resigned. When PPK was arrested when a few months have passed, the celebration of the Fujimoristas lasted only a short time: a little later, Keiko also ended up in prison in connection with the corruption investigations. Vizcarra promised tough measures against corruption and went on a confrontation course with Congress. How the power struggle will end is still unclear.
Ex-President Ollanta Humala (imprisoned)
Elected in 2011, President Humala is a former member of the military who was stationed among others in the coca stronghold Tingo Maria. His party "Gana Peru" has been in the headlines because of connections to the drug mafia more than once.
The Congressional delegates Nancy Obregón and Elsa Malpartida have been expelled from the party because of their involvement in drug trade. Both are still subject to an investigation. According to drug researcher Jaime Antezana, the most important liaison between the government and the mafia was Walter Acha, an influential Congress member and former leader of the coca growers in the VRAEM valley, together with three other members of parliament from "Gana Peru". But according to Antezana, the other parties also have between two and three Narco deputies in their ranks.
The background for Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine's misconduct was also their relationship with the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. The Brazilian company is said to have financed their campaign with three million US dollars. The public prosecutor's office investigates money laundering and issued an arrest warrant against Humala and his wife Nadine in 2017.
The infiltration is even stronger at the local and regional level. During Humalas therm of presidency the federal prosecutors investigated against 19 of the 25 regional presidents and 90 percent of all mayors. The charges reach from corruption to money laundering, drug trafficking, pimping and murder. some of whom were convicted. The rising star among new parties was the "Alliance for Progress". Their leader, Cesar Acuña, has become a millionaire within few years, by owning a football club and private universities, -even though his own ex-wife accused him of money laundering. At this point he planned to move into the presidential palace. But the electoral council convicted him of buying votes and giving false statements when registering as a candidate and excluded him from the election. His party, however, continues to control the La Libertad region.The capital of the region is the port city of Trujillo, one of the main drug trafficking hubs in the country. "Peru is in danger of becoming a narco-state," warns Antezana.
Ex-President Alan García (committed suicide in 2019 to avoid being arrested)
„In Peru, you are stupid when you are honest”, ex-president Alan García once told a staff member.
The leader of the Social Democratic "Apra" party has been president twice, the first time during the hot phase of the civil war from 1985 to 1990, when the drug mafia and the self-defense groups forged their alliance.The second time from 2006 to 2011. Both campaigns were, according to press reports, co-financed by the drug mafia.
In In the 90s, García fled into exile among other nations to Colombia, where he made contact with members of the Cali cartel. The "Apra" is considered a pioneer of meddling drugs and politics. In 1980, in one of the first large-scale operations against drug trafficking, a truck with 475 kg of coca paste was seized. It turned out that it belonged to an influential businessman and financier of the "Apra", Carlos Langberg. In 1985, during the presidential campaign, there was a huge explosion in Lima. What turned out to have been a cocaine laboratory, was owned by a business partner of Langberg. The attorney of the accused was a certain Vladimiro Montesinos, a dark figure who should appear again in connection with drugs later. The charges against Langberg were dropped. In Germany in 1988, the "Apra" MP Manuel Angel del Pomar was arrested when he tried to withdraw money from a drug dealer’s account at the "Kommerzbank" in Berlin. García has been under investigation for money laundering and corruption for years. When the public prosecutor's office gathered enough evidence to arrest him in mid-2019, García committed suicide. According to the investigation, he had also accepted bribes from Odebrecht.
Ex-President Alejandro Toledo (evades prosecution in exile)
After a short transitional government following the overthrow of Alberto Fujimori, Alejandro Toledo from "Peru Posible" was elected president in 2001 for a five-year-term.
In a trial shortly after Toledo’s election, members of the drug cartel "Los Norteños" declared that in 1992 they had paid a million dollars to the businessman Fernando Zevallos and in order to haul their drugs, instructed him to launch an airline.
At that time, the airline had had already been under investigation in Chile and the USA, but the Peruvian judges considered the evidence insufficient and cleared Zevallos name.
In the years that followed Peruvian media found more embarrassing evidence linked to the case - including a vast network of favors (including free flights) granted by Zevallos to judges, prosecutors, police chiefs and members of the Congress. According to a former employee of Toledo and an informant of the US anti-drug agency DEA, Zevallos had also funded Toledo's election campaign. The accusations finally lead to Zevallos conviction to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering, in 2005. There was no investigation of those who had protected him for years.
Another clan who rose under Toledo, was the family Sánchez Paredes, owners of a mining and real estate empire from the coastal province of La Libertad. Already in 2002, there were investigations of money laundering. But they were quickly dropped. Later photos were published where members of the family were posing with the Secretary of Agriculture from „Peru Posible“,José León. The investigation began only after the end of Toledo's presidency in 2007 and have progressed slowly. Again and again judges were being replaced and hearings postponed. Toledo was investigated in connection with the Odebrecht scandal of 2017. He evaded arrest by setting off for the USA. Peru has requested his extradition. The former World Bank employee has influential friends there.
Ex-President Alberto Fujimori (detained)
Fujimori (1990-2000) opened the circle of imprisoned ex-presidents. Like them, he was convicted of corruption. But there are also serious human rights violations,- but not for drug trafficking. That is despite his government’s close connections with the mafia, especially with the Medellin cartel of Pablo Escobar. Already the first campaign in 1990 was financed, according to a congressional committee, by Colombian cartels.
The key figure of the business was Fujimori's intelligence adviser, Vladimiro Montesinos. He had forged an alliance with the Peruvian governor of the Medellin cartel, Demetrio Chávez Peñaherrera alias "El Vaticano". In a 2011 interview with Spanish newspaper ABC he said that he "paid $ 15,000 to the commander of the military base for each flight. That’s how I supported his fight against the guerrillas, so we were allies. The military provided me with an excavator and bulldozers which enabled me to transform a jungle road into an airstrip. All the airplanes I used for drug transport were government-owned. If you wanted to do business in the jungle, you could only operate with the approval of the military,". Peñaherrera was arrested arrest in 1993 and later condemned to 23 years in prison.
During his trial, he testified that he had paid $ 50,000 a month to Montesinos. The business relationship folded, when Montesinos suddenly demanded twice that amount. But the arrest of the drug lord was not the end of the business, just a question of finding a new partner. One of the founders of Fujimori's party was arrested in 2000, because he used his fishing fleet to smuggle drugs. "After the fall of Fujimori in 2000, all investigations for drug trafficking were put on hold. The entire leadership of the drug mafia in the country remained unchecked, " anti-drug prosecutor Sonia Medina recently critized.