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Peru: How the Media Handled the Allegations Against Toledo

News about Peruvian presidents seem to dominate the front pages of the media. The way that they are treated in the press varies. Some say that current Alan Garcia is treated well by the large media. Former president Alberto Fujimori also is said to have certain outlets that support or lean in his favor. Another ex-president has had his share of troubles with the press, Alejandro Toledo. Bloggers are beginning to notice how the press reacts to certain events involving these current and former heads of state, especially in light of recent allegations facing Toledo.

The blog Gran Combo Club [ES] provides the opinion that ex-president Toledo was treated differently by the national press.

Lo he escuchado mucho. La prensa se metía con el ex-presidente Toledo en una forma inusual. No lo hizo así con presidentes anteriores, ni lo está haciendo con su sucesor. ¿Por qué? Una hipótesis es el racismo. Toledo, un mestizo, habría creado muchos anticuerpos por razón de su origen y su raza. Incluso cierto sector de la prensa informaba de los entretelones que ocurrían en palacio, en Punta Sal, en reuniones sociales. Sí, metió la pata en muchas cosas, él al igual que Karp, pero las críticas y la forma cómo se hicieron no se han visto antes ni después con otros presidentes peruanos. El caso de Federico Dantón, por ejemplo, fue abordado de manera muy diferente por la prensa limeña y peruana…

I've heard it a lot. The press gave ex-President Toledo an unusual treatment. It didn't do the same with previous presidents, nor is it doing the same with his successor. Why? One hypothesis is racism. Toledo, a mestizo, created a lot of defense mechanisms because of this origin and his race. A certain sector of the press provided reports of what happened in the palace, in Punta Sal, and in social gatherings. Yes, he has said the wrong things on many occasions, as well as Karp (his wife), but the criticisms and the way that they criticized him had never been seen with other Peruvian presidents.

A new example of the press treatment recently emerged, in which allegations towards Toledo and a supposed “smoke screen” became part of the public conversation. The blog Manito de Cuy [ES] summarizes these charges:

En sorpresiva conferencia el Congresista Gustavo Espinoza de UPP denunció, muy alegremente, el dia de hoy a mediodia, a Alejandro Toledo por el delito de violación contra una agraciada señorita de nombre Diana Arévalo Sagastegui de 22 años. El supuesto hecho, habría ocurrido el mes de setiembre pasado y denunciado ante la comisaria de Orrantia. Segun lo señalado por Espinoza el hecho habria ocurrido en casa de Adam Pollack el mismo que habría invitado a la citada señorita a “una reunión de orgía y licor” (sic) donde habría sido sometida a las bajas pasiones del ex-mandatario

Resulta realmente sorprendente y sospechosa esta denuncia a pocas horas de debatirse la moción de censura al ministro Alva Castro. No queremos creer que denuncias como estas deban ser entendidas como parte de un manejo político digno. Parece mas una cortina de humo diseñada a opacar las repercusiones de la censura al Ministro del Interior.

In a suprise press conference, Congressman Gustavo Espinoza of UPP joyfully accused Alejando Toledo of the crime of rape of a 22-year-old young woman named Diana Arévalo Sagastegui. The alleged act was said to have occurred last September and reported to the COMISARIA of Orrantia. According to the statement made by Congressmen Espinoza, the act took place in Adam Pollack's house, who had invited the young woman to a “an orgy and liquor gathering” where she was faced with the advancements by the ex-president. It was very surprising and suspicious that the allegations took place a few hours before the motion to censure the minister Alva Castro was to have taken place. We do not want to believe that the allegations to be part of a political ploy. It appears to be a smokescreen designed to hide the repercussions of the censure of the Interior Minister.

After going back and forth, the blogger Marco Sifuentes of El Útero de Marita [ES] and journalist with the television program La Ventana Indiscreta provides some additional details:

Hoy fui al sitio donde ocurrió la supuesta violación. Resultó ser el local de una empresa de Pollack. También fui al lugar que Diana Arévalo dio como su domicilio. Resultó ser, según los vecinos, el local de un servicio de call-girls (chaza la elegancia). El incidente ocurrió hace dos semanas. La chica en cuestión nunca hizo la denuncia -se chupó apenas pisó la comisaría- y, por tanto, no se sometió al médico legista, así que a estas alturas no hay ninguna forma de probar qué ocurrió. Y esa “ocurrencia” policial sospechosamente mal hecha (¿”una persona llamada Toledo”?) no ayuda mucho. En fin, todo indica que aquella fue una típica noche loca más de nuestro ex presidente favorito, pero gone wrong. Lo cual no quiere decir necesariamente que sea culpable. Ni inocente.

ACTUALIZACIÓN (06/10): Lo dicho: una noche loca más. Anoche habló la chica en La Ventana Indiscreta y ahora cuenta que Toledo no la violó. A lo más se le fue encima, pero eso queda, creo, en el terreno de negociaciones entre dos adultos. Ahora que Toledo le meta el juicio del año a Espinoza y que la próxima vez, digamos, cuide mejor sus pasos.

Today I went to the site where the supposed rape took place. It turned out to be place of one of Pollack's companies. It was also the place that Diana Arévalo provided as her residence. It turned out to be, according to neighbors, a call-girl service. The incident took place two weeks ago. The girl never made the report and did not submit to a medical check-up, so now there is no way of proving what happened. This suspicious police” act” poorly carried out (“a person named Toledo”?) does not help much. In the end, all indications are that it was another typical crazy night for our favorite ex-president which had gone wrong. Which does not necessarily mean that he is neither guilty, nor innocent.
UPDATE: (10/6): I told you: it was another crazy night. Last night the woman spoke on the programa La Ventana Indiscreta and says that Toledo did not rape her. At the most, he took things too far, but it ended there, I think, negotiations between two adults. Now Toledo is bringing the lawsuit of the year against Espinoza and that next time, hopefully, he watches his steps.

The way that the press informed about the allegations caught the attention of bloggers. Pepitas.com [ES] provides the headlines of some of the major newspapers and writes:

“Dime que portada tienes y te diré quién eres”. Es una frase perfecta para describir la actual línea editorial de la prensa peruana y su posición frente al poder de turno.

“Show me your front page, and I'll tell you who you are.” It is the perfect phrase to describe the current editiorial line of the Peruvian press and its position towards the current administration.

Gran Combo Club [ES] makes a few points regarding the curious differentiating details that one can see of the treatment by RPP, a Lima radio chain that reaches nationwide towards the two ex-presidents, Toledjo and Fujimori:

Fijémonos en estos dos titulares de RPP:

Congresista Espinoza denuncia que Toledo violó a una joven en “orgía”

Justicia reprogramará instructiva en proceso contra ex presidente Fujimori

Mientras Alejandro Toledo es “Toledo”, Alberto Fujimori es “ex presidente Fujimori”. Además, el congresista Espinoza sí merece que se resalte que es congresista. (Y a todo esto, Fujimori también tuvo una denuncia de violación en EEUU. Alguien podría escudriñar en el tema.)

Let's take a look at two headlines of RPP:

Congressperson Espinoza accuses Toledo of raping a young woman in an “orgy”

The Justice system reprograms instructive in process against ex-president Fujimori

While Alejandro Toledo is “Toledo”, Alberto Fujimori is “ex-president Fujimori.” In addition, the congressperson Espinoza receives the recognition that he is a member of Congress (and on top it all, Fujimori also was accused of rape in the United States. Someone could scrutinize that subject).

On television, the treatment is still noteworthy. The blog Lo Justo, Varón [ES] writes about the treatment that the accusation against Toledo received:

La depredadora de Agencia.Perú ataca de nuevo, esta vez contra otra de sus presas favoritas: Alejandro Toledo, a quien también atacó y ridiculizó sin misericordia durante su gobierno. Y hoy, con la burda y torpe denuncia de un bípedo bautizado como Gustavo Espinoza, a la sazón congresista de la República, la “Chichi” no desaprovechó la oportunidad y desenvainó la chaira contra Toledo Manrique, dedicándole DOS programas a la ‘denuncia’ ésta, a la vez que trataba con guante de seda al tal Espinoza.

The predator Agencia.Peru attacks once again, this time against one of its favorite targets: Alejandro Toledo, who was also attacked and ridiculed without any mercy during this term. And today, with clumsy charges from the savage Gustavo Espinoza, Cecilia Valenzuela (of the television program La Ventana Indiscreta) took advantage of the opportunity and gave it to Toledo Manrique, dedicating TWO programs to the “allegations”, and at the same time handled Espinoza with silk gloves.

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