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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Peruvian press hail 'stupendous' arrest
Peruvian newspaper shows pictures of former President Alberto Fujimori and ex-Intelligence chief Vladimir Montesinos
Mr Montesinos is accused of corruption
Peruvian newspapers have celebrated the arrest of former intelligence chief Vladimir Montesinos in Venezuela, some even describing it as "the news story of the year".

"Off to jail!" cried the headline in Correo, while the newspaper Ojo showed a mocked-up Wanted poster featuring a photo of the country's former power-broker.

Peruvian plane carrying Mr Montesinos
Mr Montesinos was flown in from Venezuela

Ojo also turned its attention to former President Alberto Fujimori, currently avoiding Peruvian justice in Japan.

"Now we need El Chino," it declared, using Mr Fujimori's common nickname.

La Republica, ever a strong critic of Mr Fujimori's administration, pushed the earthquake in the south of the country off its editorial page in order to react to Mr Montesinos' capture.

"Montesinos headed a mafia which ill-gottenly enriched itself with money belonging to every Peruvian," the paper said.

The return of Montesinos must be making many people tremble with fear

La Republica

"He must reveal what he knows and bear the serious consequences of his incriminating actions."

But it suggested that not everyone in Peru would be happy at him coming back.

"The return of Montesinos must be making many people tremble with fear," it said, suggesting that a lot more of the corruption carried out under Mr Fujimori might come to light if the former power behind the throne gave evidence.

"We have no doubt this man knows too much and his life is at risk."


It was a theme picked up by the business newspaper Sintesis, which described the news of Mr Montesinos' capture as "stupendous".

"It will be necessary to protect him because for many he would be better off dead than alive," it said in an editorial.

This may be the beginning of the end of a period which most of us will wish to forget

Sintesis newspaper

The threat, it said, arose particularly from the discovery of the so-called 'Vladivideos', Mr Montesinos' stash of videotapes of meetings where he allegedly gave bribes to officials.

"And if many are already known to have been implicated by the 'Vladivideos', there are still many others who have not been implicated and are interested in remaining so."

But the paper was optimistic that the news marked an important step in Peru's history.

"This may be the beginning of the end of a period which most of us will wish to forget."


El Comercio agreed the news was "highly positive" for the country and called for the full weight of the law to brought to bear against Mr Montesinos.

"We cannot reconstruct the country on a basis of impunity and half-truths," the paper's editorial insisted.

The authorities had to pass judgement impartially but firmly on the "delinquent" Mr Montesinos.

"The process must be exemplary in order to avoid repeats in the future of such despicable abuses of power."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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25 Jun 01 | Americas
Fugitive spy chief back in Peru
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