Write a comment
Peruvians celebrate Alberto Fujimori after he won the presidential elections in 1990

President Alberto Fujimori from 1990 to 2000

A contraversial personality: loved for his economic achievements and hated for being a brutal and corrupt dictator

In the 1990 elections, voters concerned about the disastrous economic situation, inflation, the increasing threat from Peru's terror groups, drug trade and corruption, chose relatively unknown Alberto Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants and an agricultural-engineer-turned-politician, as president.

Fujimori's economic achievements

He immediately implemented drastic economic reforms and austerity measures - which he opposed before his election - to tackle the inflation (which dropped from 7,650% - yes, seven thousand six hundred and fifty percent - in 1990 to 139% in 1991 when a new currency the Nuevo Sol was introduced), but found opposition to further drastic measures.

In 1992 Fujimori stunned Peruvians and the outside world with a coup against his own government; he suspended the Congress, revised the constitution, exiled opponents such as former Peruvian President Alan García and called for new congressional elections. This unique move was welcomed by disillusioned voters. With a more flexible Congress, Fujimori proceeded to govern without hindrance. He promoted neoliberal economic policies privatizing state-owned companies, removing investment barriers and significantly improving public finances.

Fujimori's anti-terrorism measures

Having seized near-dictatorial powers, Fujimori as well carried out a number of successful antiterrorism campaigns. He granted the military the power to arbitrarily detain any suspicious person and disbanded Peru's congress and courts, which he said were limiting his ability to crack down on terrorism. Within a few years, Fujimori had captured most of the leaders of the rebel groups, including Abimael Guzmán, the leader of the Shining Path, and terrorism subsequently declined sharply.

Thousands of Peruvians were convicted of terrorism-related charges and sentenced to life imprisonment by military courts. Human rights activists accused the Peruvian military of committing widespread human rights abuses during the crackdown, including several massacres, where entire villages were wiped out and the jailing of thousands of innocent Peruvians, at times subjecting them to torture and rape.

In 1995, Fujimori won a second term. While his policies led to a rapid recovery of the Peruvian economy, his dictatorial regime seemed to worsen. After Fujimori's constitutionally questionable decision to seek a third term, he was declared the winner of the 2000 presidential elections.

Fujimori's resignation and convictions

A bribery scandal which first only included the bribery of a congressional representative by Vladimiro Montesinos, the head of the secret police and one of Fujimori's closest advisers, later also organized money laundering and widespread government corruption, arose just weeks after Fujimori began his third term and brought political and economic chaos to the country. Fujimori claimed his innocence, but still resigned from office in November 2000 while being on a state trip to Japan. Since his resignation, a number of human rights abuses and violations came to light. In spite of efforts to prosecute Fujimori and have him extradited, he emerged from his Japanese exile on his own supported by many Peruvians to run for the 2006 presidential elections, but on its way to Peru was taken into custody under outstanding warrants for corruption and human rights abuses in Santiago, Chile, and later placed under house arrest until his extradition in September 2007.

Even though Fujimori declared his innocence on countless occasions, dismissed the judicial proceedings against him as "politically motivated" and still had many supporters, in his first trial the court found him guilty of human rights abuses, stating that the charges against him have been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. The judges convicted Fujimori in 2009 to 25 years in prison for ordering the Grupo Colina, a military anti-communist right-wing death squad created during Fujimori's regime, to commit the Barrios Altos Massacre (November 1991) and the La Cantuta Massacre (July 1992) as well as for being involved in the kidnappings of Gustavo Gorriti, a Peruvian journalist, and businessman Samuel Dyer. Other trials followed where he was found guilty of bribery, corruption, illegal wiretapping, and embezzlement.

Read the next chapter of Peru's history

After Fujimori's resignation, a caretaker government under Valentin Paniagua oversaw democratic presidential and congressional elections in April 2...

Say something here...
characters left
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

Latest Content...

Latest Video

National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History - Lima, Peru.mp4

National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History - Lima, Peru.mp4

Founded in April 1826, the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru (MNAAHP) is Peru's oldest state museum. On display is a wide range of perfectly preserved pre-Hispanic ceramics, textiles, metals, organic materials and lithic's. Objects of historic-artistic value are exhibited. The documentary, photographic and bibliographic collections tell...
Submitted by: Tintin
3 weeks, 1 day ago

Long Reads...

  • Peruvian Personalities & Founders

    Francisco Pizarro González (1474-1541)

    Francisco Pizarro, a peasant from Spain, was one of the least well-equipped conquerors in history. However, in the name…
  • Peruvian Archaeology

    History of Peruvian Archaeology

    The story of the origins and development of Peruvian archaeology begins with the earliest Spanish contact in 1524, and…
  • Peruvian Archaeology

    The colorful Fabrics and Textiles of Peru

    Europe’s first knowledge of Peruvian textiles was acquired following the Spanish invasion of Peru in 1532, when the…
  • Peruvian Legends, Myths & Tales

    The Jeweled Frog and the Condor

    By a quiet pond, at the side of a cloud-topped mountain in Peru, lived a small green frog and his large green family.…
  • Peruvian Legends, Myths & Tales

    Huatya Curi and the Five Condors

    A long time ago, at the jagged top of the world where the snow lives, there was a poor young man named Huatya Curi. His…