Peru's President-elect Alejandro Toledo yesterday appealed for U.S. help in building a corruption case against former President Alberto Fujimori, now living in exile in Japan.
In his first trip abroad since winning a hard-fought presidential campaign June 3, the 55-year-old former World Bank economist said the weekend arrest of former Peruvian intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos in Venezuela - an arrest that relied heavily on FBI help - could bolster the case for extraditing Mr. Fujimori.
Mr. Toledo met with President Bush, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell during his Washington trip, appealing to administration officials to release classified U.S. documents that he said could expose corruption under Mr. Fujimori.
"I'm going to ask President Bush to declassify certain documents that will help investigations into corruption in Peru," Mr. Toledo told reporters prior to his round of meetings. "They would help understand the magnitude of Fujimori's involvement in corruption."
After his meeting with Mr. Powell yesterday morning, Mr. Toledo told reporters that "the capture of Montesinos should be understood as one step forward in working on getting the extradition of Mr. Fujimori." He said Mr. Powell offered to help in declassifying documents that could aid the investigation into Mr. Fujimori's reign.
The Japanese government so far has refused to extradite Mr. Fujimori, who fled to the country of his parents in November after abruptly resigning the post he had held for a decade. U.S. officials said the president-elect did not press yesterday for direct U.S. help in securing Mr. Fujimori's return to Peru, which Mr. Toledo said was a bilateral issue between Lima and Tokyo.
Peru has seen almost constant turmoil since the resignation of Mr. Fujimori and the international manhunt for Mr. Montesinos, a longtime Fujimori ally who many charged controlled a political empire built on bribery, blackmail and corruption. Mr. Toledo, a populist reformer who lost a disputed election to Mr. Fujimori last year, staged a remarkable comeback. He will take …