In the midst of some confusing turn of events, the Peruvian government reversed its decision to grant a pardon to former television businessman José Enrique Crousillat. This led to Crousillat to go into hiding, and some speculate that he may have fled the country. Crousillat, along with his son, were shareholders and on the board of directors of América TV television station in the 1990s.
However, during the scandal involving the videos that showed former head of Peru's intelligence service Vladmiro Montesinos giving bribes for favorable media coverage, Crousillat and his station were implicated for receiving payment for favorable coverage for the campaign of former President Alberto Fujimori. He fled the country, but was later captured and extradited back to Peru, where he was tried and sentenced to prison.
He was scheduled to have completed his sentence in 2014, but in November 2009, there were discussions that he would be pardoned for humanitarian reasons because he had complained of heart problems. On December 11, Crousillat was pardoned by President Alan García and was released the same day. This led to a wave of reactions, some in favor and others against the decision.
Following his release, Crousillat stated his intention to retake control of his former television station. However, what turned public opinion against him were the photographs that showed him first at an exclusive resort, and later at a café in the upscale neighborhood of Miraflores. This showed that Crousillat was not on the verge of death as had been alleged.
Due to the media pressure and citizen outrage, President García called for a review of the pardon. However, it was the role of Justice Minister Aurelio Pastor, who was fired by García, for allegedly providing unreliable evidence that led to Crousillat's pardon, which has now been revoked and which led to his going into hiding. He was the first political victim in this case was the Justice Minister Pastor, who before being fired or “resigned” as the government states, said that an economic group wanted to “crucify” him [es]. After his resignation, he left a message for his Facebook contacts.
These events bring back memories for some citizens, such as the blogger from Plan H [es], who comments sarcastically:
Esta historia me parece haberla escuchado antes. Un presidente que sale ante cámaras, proclama ante el país que el otro hombre es un peligro nacional y que ha dañado la imagen del país, además de ser un corrupto. El presidente lo declara enemigo numero 1 y posteriormente se lanza en su captura,.. esto se repite en las mismas circunstancias que hace 9 años, cuando Fujimori, aterrado por los reveladores vladivideos, salió a la “caza” de Montesinos en una patético demostración de la poca dignidad que le quedaba a ese gobierno. Ahora, reemplaza la palabra Fujimori por Alan y Montesinos por Crousillat y tenemos lo mismo.
However, not all the bloggers take the news with the same humor, and in the month of December 2009, Silvio Rendón of the blog Gran Combo Club [es] provides his opinion on the suspected and dangerous precedent that the pardon would mean:
El monto de reparacion civil que debe al estado quedo “sin efecto”. Después el estado se queja de que no hay dinero para pagar las reparaciones de derechos humanos. … A este paso sólo falta indultar a Fujimori. La puntada es con hilo: García prepara indulto a ex dictador Fujimori.
The amount of civil reparation that he owes the state now remains “void.” After the state complained that there is no money to pay human rights reparations … At this rate, all that is left is to pardon Fujimori. The stitching is with thread: García prepares to pardon former dictator Fujimori.
Victor Liza Jaramillo of the blog Metiendo la Pata [es] expresses similar opinions:
Todo esto transcurrió en una semana que acaso, en opinión del que suscribe, es la más vergonzosa que ha vivido este régimen. Incluso más que cuando ocurrieron hechos como los “petroaudios” y el “baguazo”. Porque estas idas y venidas reflejan algo más que sentirse “burlado”, además de una tremenda descoordinación. Reflejan, sin duda alguna, que el gobierno buscaba algo más, y que esta rectificación tardía es una vergüenza para el país. Es un pésimo precedente, tanto en materia jurídica como la política.
All this happened in a week where in a week perhaps, in my opinion, is the most embarrassing that this government has experienced. It is even more embarrassing than the “petroaudio” and “baguazo” scandals. All of these comings and goings reflect something more than feeling “tricked,” as well as a tremendous dis-coordination. It reflects, without a doubt, that the government loked for something more, and that this late correction is an embarrassment for the country. It is a terrible precedent, both legal and political.
Juan Sheput, politician and blogger at Mate Pastor [es] points the blame directly at President Garciá for this debacle:
El doctor Alan García ¿habría procedido a revocar el indulto sin la presión e indignación ciudadana? No, por supuesto que no. A pesar de que sus compañeros de partido afirmen que ha sido “sorprendido” yo pienso que no es así. Si se indultó a José Enrique Crousillat fue porque había una decisión política en ese sentido, y el hasta ahora ministro Aurelio Pastor fue un eficiente operador…. los esfuerzos de dos gobiernos anteriores, el de Valentín Paniagua y de Alejandro Toledo, en materia de lucha contra la corrupción, han involucionado. Hoy se hace lo posible por deteriorar la institucionalidad y ser permisivo con la corrupción.
Would President Alan García have revoked the pardon without all of the pressure and public outrage? No, of course not. Even though his fellow party members claim that they were “surprised” I don't think that was the case. If José Enrique Crousillat was pardoned it was because it was a political decision in this regard, and until now Minister Aurelio Pastor was an efficient operator …the efforts of the two previous governments, that of (former Presidents) Valentín Paniagua and Alejandro Toledo, in the fight against corruption, have digressed. Today it is possible to damage the institutions and be tolerant of corruption.
The well-known and controversial ex-head of the National Directorate Against Terrorism (DINCOTE for its initials in Spanish), Colonel Benedicto Jimenez writes in his blog El Pacificador [es] about his perspective of the events, and its relationship with large media companies:
Cuando el Grupo Plural (El Comercio y La República) sintió que sus intereses eran amenazados, soltaron los “perros de presa” o “seudos” investigadores periodísticos para husmear, perseguir, ubicar, fotografiar, filmar o seguirle los pasos a José Enrique Crousillat , personaje que cometió el error de sentirse invencible, intocable, soberbio, tal vez, confiaba en que nunca iba a ser tocado porque el indulto es irrevocable o se sentía seguro y confiado porque cuenta con grabaciones sobre la negociación del indulto … porque existe la sospecha que el indulto no cayó por gracia del Espíritu Santo que se apiadó de un septuagenario próximo a morir y que debía pasar sus últimos días en compañía de sus seres queridos. Desde ese momento, dos grupos económicos se han declarado la guerra y los ciudadanos miran impávidos como se destrozan o atacan los dueños del país para hacerse dueño de América TV. Por un lado está el Grupo Plural, por otro lado, el grupo económico que representa José Enrique Crousillat
When the Plural Group (El Comercio and La Republica) felt that their interests were threatened, they released the “attack dogs” or “pseudo” journalistic investigators to snoop, pursue, locate, photograph, video, or follow the steps of Jose Enrique Crousillat, a person who made the mistake of feeling invincible, untouchable, arrogant, and perhaps, was confident that he would never be touched because the pardon is irrevocable or felt secure and confident because it had recordings of the negotiation of the pardon … because it is suspected that the pardon did not fall by the grace of the Holy Spirit which took pity on a septuagenarian near death and that he should spend his last days with loved ones. Since then, two economic groups have declared war and the citizens are watching impassively as they destroy or attack the owners of the country to become master of América TV. On one side is the Plural Group, on the other side, the economic group that represents José Enrique Crousillat
The case is still under development with the results being awaited of the lawsuit filed by Crousillat, even thought it was declared inadmissible [es] in an injunction filed in the northern city of Motupe, which was based on a irregular housing certificate. Crousillat's lawyer has been denounced for concealment of his client [es]. That while there is a warning that Crousillat could request via a habeas corpus to request the restitution of his pardon. There is also a Facebook group called “Wanted: Crousillat [es]” which already has more than 1,300 members.