First there were the videos. Now there's even a computer game
focusing on the scandal surrounding Latin America's most-wanted
fugitive - Peru's former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.
Accused of multimillion dollar corruption and human rights
violations, Mr. Montesinos is believed to have spent most of his
six months on the lam here in Venezuela, where he has military
In Peru, where "Vladigame" went on the market last week,
Montesinos represents a decade of decay. As Peruvians prepare to
vote in an expected June presidential runoff, the new computer
amusement lets them blast the preceding corrupt administration and
send Montesinos, formerly head of SIN, the aptly named Peruvian
secret police organization, to prison.
"Even though there is a legal process under way to achieve
justice, people want to ease their frustrations," says Sebastian
Zileri, spokesman for Caretas, the Lima news magazine that produced
The most well-documented sighting of Montesinos was in December,
in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. The opposition press has
alleged that the government of President Hugo Chavez knows more
than it is letting on about the fugitive's whereabouts.
"I have little doubt," says Teodoro Petkoff, editor of the
Caracas evening newspaper TalCual and a minister in a previous
administration, "that the government has deliberately muddied the
waters over the Montesinos case."
Venezuelan government spokesmen reject such insinuations. "Chavez
does not even know Montesinos, and has the greatest interest in
seeing him punished," says Interior Minister Luis Miquilena. "He
has said that if he [Montesinos] falls into the hands of the
Venezuelan government, he will be returned to Peru."
However, links between ex-Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori,
close adviser Montesinos, and the current Venezuelan administration
go back at least to 1992. That February, Chavez, then a lieutenant
colonel, led an attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government,
headed by Carlos Andres Perez.
Mr. Fujimori had good reason to dislike Mr. Perez, who had broken
off diplomatic relations with Peru. So when 93 Venezuelan military
rebels fled to Peru in a C-130 after a second, November coup
attempt had failed, it was not surprising that they were treated
warmly after landing in Iquitos. (Chavez was not among them,
however, as he was already in jail by the time of the second coup.)
The 93 conspirators were given asylum and lived for two years in
comfortable exile at the expense of the Peruvian government. …