In 1992 he suspended congress and the courts and declared emergency rule to combat corruption and the Shining Path terrorism. Under strong international pressure, he announced elections to a new congress, but these were boycotted by the principal opposition parties. A break with his wife, Susana Higuchi, a civil engineer, led to her abortive attempt (1994) to contest his bid for reelection; they were divorced in 1995. In the presidential election (1995), he defeated Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.
Despite high popularity ratings from the Peruvian public, Fujimori was widely criticized for autocratic rule and suppression of opposition voices. He retained office in the 2000 presidential election after Alejandro Toledo Manrique withdrew from the May runoff because of the expectation of fraud; in April, the election commission had been accused by observers of trying to steal the election in the first round. After his chief adviser, Vladimiro Montesinos, was accused of bribing opposition lawmakers in September, Fujimori offered to hold new presidential elections in which he would not run, but he ultimately resigned in November while traveling in Japan. He remained in exile in Japan, and the Japanese government subsequently recognized him as a Japanese citizen.
Charged by the Peruvian congress with dereliction of duty for failing to return, he also had a variety of Peruvian criminal charges filed against him, and was banned from holding elected office until 2010. In 2005 he visited Chile as a prelude to launching a bid for the Peruvian presidency and was detained at the government of Peru's request; a subsequent attempt to register him as a Peruvian presidential candidate was denied. In Sept., 2007, following a prosecutor's recommendation, the Chilean courts approved his extradition to Peru. Despite being placed under house arrest during the court proceedings, he was an unsuccessful candidate for Japan's Diet in July, 2007. In Dec., 2007, he was convicted in Peru of ordering an illegal search in 2000; he was also convicted on human rights charges in Apr., 2009, and on bribery charges in July, 2009, and pleaded guilty to wiretapping and embezzlement charges arising from the 2000 election in Sept., 2009.
(born July 28, 1938, Lima, Peru) President of Peru (1990–2000). The son of Japanese immigrants, he graduated from Agrarian National University in 1961. He first entered politics in 1989 as the head of the new political party Cambio 90 (“Change 90”). He won a surprise victory in the 1990 presidential election and in 1992 he dissolved the National Congress and took other steps to concentrate power in the presidency. He claimed credit for the capture of the leader of the Shining Path rebel movement later that year and, in 1997, the successful storming of the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, where Tupac Amarú guerrillas had held dozens of hostages. He was reelected in 1995 and asserted victory, despite charges of fraud, in the 2000 election, but scandal involving his secret-police chief caused him to flee to Japan. In 2005 Fujimori traveled to Chile, where he was arrested at Peru's request. Two years later, while still imprisoned, he unsuccessfully ran for a seat in Japan's Diet (parliament). After a protracted legal battle, he was extradited to Peru in September 2007.
Learn more about Fujimori, Alberto (Kenyo) with a free trial on Britannica.com.
In late 2000, facing a corruption scandal, he fled to Japan, where he attempted to resign his presidency. His resignation was rejected by the Congress of the Republic, which preferred to remove him from office by force of vote. Congress proceeded to bar him from elective office for ten years. Wanted in Peru on charges of corruption and human rights abuses, Fujimori maintained a self-imposed exile abroad until his detainment during a visit to Chile in November 2005. He was finally extradited to face criminal charges in Peru in September 2007.
On December 11, 2007, in a court case separate from the pending human rights charges, Fujimori was convicted of ordering an illegal search and seizure of documents and videotapes in the possession of the wife of his former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos. He was sentenced to six years in prison. Fujimori appealed the verdict, but on April 15, 2008 the Supreme Court upheld the conviction and 6-year sentence.
In July 1997, the political magazine Caretas charged that Fujimori had actually been born in Japan. Because Peru's constitution requires the president to have been born in Peru, this would have made Fujimori ineligible to be president. The magazine, which had been sued for libel by Vladimiro Montesinos seven years earlier, reported that Fujimori's birth and baptismal certificates may have been altered. Caretas also alleged that Fujimori's mother declared having two children when she entered Peru; Fujimori is the second of four children. Caretas' contentions were hotly contested in the Peruvian media; the magazine Sí, for instance, described the allegations as "pathetic" and "a dark page for [Peruvian] journalism".
There he lectured on mathematics the following year. In 1964 he went on to study physics at the University of Strasbourg in France. On a Ford scholarship, Fujimori also attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the United States, where he obtained his master's degree in mathematics in 1969. In 1974, he married Susana Higuchi, also a Peruvian of Japanese descent.
In recognition of his academic achievements, the sciences faculty of the Universidad Nacional Agraria offered Fujimori the deanship and in 1984 appointed him to the rectorship of the university, which he held until 1989. In 1987, Fujimori also became president of the National Commission of Peruvian University Rectors (Asamblea Nacional de Rectores), a position which he has held twice. He also hosted a TV show called "Concertando" from 1987 to 1989, on Peru's state-owned network, Channel 7.
A dark horse candidate, Fujimori won the 1990 presidential election under the banner of the new party Cambio 90 ("cambio" meaning "change"), beating world-renowned writer Mario Vargas Llosa in a surprising upset. He capitalized on profound disenchantment with previous president Alan García and his American Popular Revolutionary Alliance party (APRA). He exploited popular distrust of Vargas Llosa's identification with the existing Peruvian political establishment, and uncertainty about Vargas Llosa's plans for neoliberal economic reforms. Fujimori won much support from the poor, who had been frightened by Vargas Llosa's austerity proposals.
During the campaign, Fujimori was nicknamed El Chino, which translates literally to "The Chinese Guy"; it is common for people of any East Asian descent to be called chino in Latin America. Although he is of Japanese heritage, Fujimori has suggested that he was always gladdened by the term, which he perceived as a term of affection. With his election victory, he became the first person of East Asian descent to become head of government of a Latin American nation, and just the third of East Asian descent to govern a South American state, after Arthur Chung of Guyana and Henk Chin A Sen of Suriname (each of whom had served as head of state, rather than head of government).
Fujimori's initiative relaxed private sector price controls, drastically reduced government subsidies and federal employment, and eliminated all exchange controls, also reducing restrictions on investment, imports, and capital flow. Tariffs were radically simplified, the minimum wage was immediately quadrupled, and the government established a $400 million poverty relief fund. The latter measure seemed to anticipate the economic agony that was to come, as electricity costs quintupled, water prices rose eightfold, and gasoline prices rose 3000%.
The IMF was impressed by these measures, and guaranteed loan funding for Peru. Inflation began to fall rapidly and foreign investment capital flooded in. Fujimori's privatization campaign featured the selling off of hundreds of state-owned enterprises, and the replacing of the troubled Peruvian currency, the inti, with the Nuevo Sol. The Fujishock restored macroeconomic stability to the economy and triggered a considerable long-term economic upturn in the mid-1990s. In 1994, the Peruvian economy grew at a rate of 13%, faster than any other economy in the world.
During Fujimori's first term in office, APRA and Vargas Llosa's party, FREDEMO, remained in control of both chambers of Congress (the Chamber of Deputies and Senate), hampering his ability to enact his economic reforms. Fujimori also found it difficult to combat the threat posed by the Maoist guerrilla organization Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso), largely on account of what he perceived to be the intransigence and obstructionism of Congress. By March 1992, Congress met with the approval of only 17% of the electorate, according to one poll (the presidency stood at 42%, in the same poll).
In response to the political deadlock, on April 5, 1992 Fujimori, with the support of the military, carried out a presidential coup d'état, also known as the autogolpe (auto-coup or self-coup) or Fujigolpe (Fuji-coup) in Peru. He shut the Congress, suspended the constitution, and purged the judiciary. The coup was welcomed by the public, according to numerous polls. Not only was the coup itself marked by favorable public opinion in several independent polls, but also public approval of the Fujimori administration jumped significantly in the wake of the coup. Fujimori often cited this public support in defending the coup, which he characterized as "not a negation of real democracy, but on the contrary... a search for an authentic transformation to assure a legitimate and effective democracy." Fujimori believed that Peruvian democracy had been nothing more than "a deceptive formality--a facade"; he claimed the coup was necessary to break with the deeply-entrenched special interests that were hindering him from rescuing Peru from the chaotic state in which García had left it.
Fujimori's coup was immediately met with the near-unanimous condemnation by the international community. The Organization of American States denounced the coup and demanded a return to "representative democracy", despite Fujimori's claims that his coup represented a "popular uprising". Various foreign ministers of the OAS reiterated this condemnation of the autogolpe. They proposed an urgent effort to promote the re-establishment of "the democratic institutional order" in Peru. Following negotiations involving the OAS, the government, and opposition groups, Alberto Fujimori's initial response was to hold a referendum to ratify the auto-coup, which the OAS rejected. Fujimori then proposed scheduling elections for a Democratic Constituent Congress (CCD), which would be charged with drafting a new constitution, to be ratified by a national referendum. Despite the lack of consensus among political forces in Peru regarding this proposal, the ad hoc OAS meeting of ministers nevertheless approved Fujimori’s offer in mid-May, and elections for the CCD were held on November 22, 1992.
Various states acted to condemn the coup, individually. Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations, and Argentina withdrew its ambassador. Chile joined Argentina in requesting that Peru be suspended from the Organization of American States. International financiers delayed planned or projected loans, and the United States, Germany and Spain suspended all non-humanitarian aid to Peru. The coup appeared to threaten the economic recovery strategy of reinsertion, and complicated the process of clearing arrears with the International Monetary Fund.
Whereas Peruvian-U.S. relations early in Fujimori's presidency had been dominated by questions of coca eradication, Fujimori's autogolpe immediately became a major obstacle to international relations, as the United States immediately suspended all military and economic aid to Peru, with exceptions for counter-narcotic and humanitarian-related funds. Two weeks after the self-coup, the George H.W. Bush administration changed its position and officially recognized Fujimori as the legitimate leader of Peru.
Later in the year, on November 13, there was a failed military coup, led by General Jaime Salinas. Salinas asserted that his efforts were a matter of turning Fujimori over for trial, for violating the Peruvian constitution.
In 1994, Fujimori separated from his wife Susana Higuchi in a noisy, public divorce. He formally stripped her of the title First Lady in August 1994, appointing their elder daughter First Lady in her stead. Higuchi publicly denounced Fujimori as a "tyrant" and claimed that his administration was corrupt. They formally divorced in 1995.
The 1993 Constitution allowed Fujimori to run for a second term, and in April 1995, at the height of his popularity, Fujimori easily won reelection with almost two-thirds of the vote. His major opponent, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, won only 22 percent of the vote. His supporters won control of the legislature. One of the first acts of the new congress was to declare an amnesty for all members of the Peruvian military or police accused or convicted of human rights abuses between 1980 and 1995.
During his second term, Fujimori signed a peace agreement with Ecuador over a border dispute that had simmered for more than a century. The treaty allowed the two countries to obtain international funds for developing the border region. Fujimori also settled unresolved issues with Chile, Peru's southern neighbor, still outstanding since the Treaty of Lima of 1929.
The 1995 election was the turning point in Fujimori's career. Peruvians now began to be more concerned about freedom of speech and the press. However, before he was sworn in for a second term, Fujimori stripped two universities of their autonomy and reshuffled the national electoral board. According to a poll by the Peruvian Research and Marketing Company conducted in 1997, 40.6% of Lima residents considered President Fujimori an authoritarian.
In addition to the nature of democracy under Fujimori, Peruvians were becoming increasingly interested in the myriad criminal allegations involving Fujimori and his chief of the National Intelligence Service, Vladimiro Montesinos. A 2002 report by Health Minister Fernando Carbone would later suggest that Fujimori had played a role in pressuring 200,000 indigenous people in rural areas into being sterilized from 1996 to 2000, as part of a population control program. A 2004 World Bank publication would suggest that, in this period, Montesinos' abuse of the power accorded him by Fujimori "led to a steady and systematic undermining of the rule of law".
The 1993 constitution limits a presidency to two terms. Shortly after Fujimori began his second term, his supporters in Congress passed a law of "authentic interpretation" which effectively allowed him to run for another term in 2000. A 1998 effort to repeal this law by referendum failed. In late 1999, Fujimori announced that he would run for a third term. Peruvian electoral bodies, which were politically sympathetic to Fujimori, accepted his argument that the two-term restriction did not apply to him, as it was enacted while he was already in office.
Exit polls showed Fujimori well short of the 50% required to avoid an electoral runoff, but the first official results showed him with 49.6% of the vote, just short of outright victory. Eventually, Fujimori was credited with 49.89%--20,000 votes short of avoiding a runoff. Despite reports of numerous irregularities, the international observers recognized an adjusted victory of Fujimori. His primary opponent, Alejandro Toledo, called for his supporters to spoil their ballots in the runoff by writing "No to fraud!" on them (voting is mandatory in Peru). International observers pulled out of the country after Fujimori refused to delay the runoff.
In the runoff, Fujimori won with just over 51% of the vote. While votes for Toledo declined from 40.24% of the valid votes cast in the first round to 25.67% of the valid votes in the second round, invalid votes jumped from 2.25% of the total votes cast in the first round to 29.93% of total votes in the second round. The large percentage of votes cast as invalid suggested that many Peruvians took Toledo's advice to spoil deliberately their ballots.
Although Fujimori had won the runoff with only a bare majority, rumors of irregularities led to daily demonstrations in front of the presidential palace. As a conciliatory measure, Fujimori appointed former opposition candidate Federico Salas as the new prime minister. However, opposition parties in Parliament refused to support this move while Toledo campaigned vigorously to have the election annulled. At this point, a corruption scandal involving Vladimiro Montesinos, de-facto chief of Peru's National Intelligence Service (SIN), broke out.
The scandal exploded into full force on the evening of September 14, 2000, when the cable television station Canal N broadcasted footage of Montesinos apparently bribing opposition congressman Alberto Kouri for his defection to Fujimori's Perú 2000 party. This video was presented by Fernando Olivera, leader of the FIM (Independent Moralizing Front), who purchased it from one of Montesinos's closest allies (nicknamed by the Peruvian press El Patriota).
Fujimori's support virtually collapsed, and on November 10, Fujimori won approval from Congress to hold elections on April 8, 2001--in which he would not be a candidate. On November 13, Fujimori left Peru for a visit to Brunei to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. On November 16, Valentín Paniagua took over as president of Congress after the pro-Fujimori leadership lost a vote of confidence. On November 17, Fujimori traveled from Brunei to Tokyo, where he submitted his presidential resignation via fax. Congress refused to accept his resignation, instead voting 62-9 to remove Fujimori from office on the grounds that he was "morally disabled."
On November 19, government ministers presented their resignations en bloc. Because Fujimori's first vice president, Francisco Tudela, had broken with Fujimori and resigned a few days earlier, his successor Ricardo Márquez came to claim the presidency. Congress, however, refused to recognize him, as he was an ardent Fujimori loyalist; Márquez resigned two days later. Paniagua was next in line, and became interim president to oversee the April elections.
By the early 1990s, some parts of the country were under the control of the insurgents, in territories known as "zonas liberadas" ("liberated zones"), where inhabitants lived under the rule of these groups and paid them taxes. When Shining Path arrived in Lima, it organized "paros armados" ("work stoppages"), which were enforced by killings and other forms of violence. The leadership of Shining Path was largely university students and teachers. Two previous governments, those of Fernando Belaúnde Terry and Alan García, at first neglected the threat posed by Shining Path, then launched an unsuccessful military campaign to eradicate it, undermining public faith in the state and precipitating an exodus of elites.
By 1992, Shining Path guerrilla attacks had claimed an estimated 20,000 lives over the course of 12 years. The July 16, 1992 Tarata Bombing, in which several car bombs exploded in Lima's wealthiest district, killed over 40 people; the bombings were characterized by one commentator as an "offensive to challenge President Alberto Fujimori. The bombing at Tarata was followed up with a "weeklong wave of car bombings... Bombs hit banks, hotels, schools, restaurants, police stations and shops... [G]uerrillas bombed two rail bridges from the Andes, cutting off some of Peru's largest copper mines from coastal ports.
Fujimori has been credited by most Peruvians with ending the fifteen-year reign of terror of Shining Path. As part of his anti-insurgency efforts, Fujimori granted the military broad powers to arrest suspected insurgents and try them in secret military courts with few legal rights. This measure has often been criticized for having compromised the fundamental democratic and human right of an open trial wherein the accused faces the accuser. Fujimori contended that these measures were justified, that this compromise of open trials was necessary because the judiciary was too afraid to charge alleged insurgents, and that judges and prosecutors had legitimate fears of insurgent reprisals against them or their families. At the same time, Fujimori's government armed rural Peruvians, organizing them into groups known as "rondas campesinas" ("peasant patrols").
Insurgent activity was in decline by the end of 1992, and Fujimori took credit for this development, claiming that his campaign had largely eliminated the insurgent threat. After the 1992 auto-coup, the intelligence work of the DINCOTE (National Counter-Terrorism Directorate) led to the capture of the leaders from Shining Path and MRTA, including notorious Shining Path leader Abimael Guzmán. Guzmán's capture was a political coup for Fujimori, who used it to great effect in the press; in an interview with documentarian Ellen Perry, Fujimori even notes that he specially ordered Guzmán's prison jumpsuit to be white with black stripes, to enhance the image of his capture in the media.
Critics charge that to achieve the defeat of Shining Path, the Peruvian military engaged in widespread human rights abuses, and that the majority of the victims were poor highland campesinos caught in the crossfire between the military and insurgents. The final report of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, published on 28 August 2003, revealed that while the majority of the atrocities committed between 1980 and 1995 were the work of Shining Path, the Peruvian armed forces were also guilty of having destroyed villages and murdered campesinos whom they suspected of supporting insurgents.
The Japanese embassy hostage crisis began on December 17, 1996, when fourteen MRTA militants seized the residence of the Japanese ambassador in Lima during a party, taking hostage some four hundred diplomats, government officials, and other dignitaries. The action was partly in protest of prison conditions in Peru. During the four-month standoff, the Emerretistas gradually freed all but 72 of their hostages. The government rejected the militants' demand to release imprisoned MRTA members and secretly prepared an elaborate plan to storm the residence, while stalling by negotiating with the hostage-takers.
On April 22, 1997, a team of military commandos, codenamed "Chavín de Huantar", raided the building. One hostage, two military commandos, and all 14 MRTA insurgents were killed in the operation. Images of President Fujimori at the ambassador's residence during and after the military operation, surrounded by soldiers and liberated dignitaries, and walking among the corpses of the insurgents, were widely televised. The conclusion of the four-month long standoff was used by Fujimori and his supporters to bolster his image as tough on terrorism.
The 1991 Barrios Altos massacre by members of the death squad Grupo Colina, made up of members of the Peruvian Armed Forces, was one of the crimes cited in the request for his extradition submitted by the Peruvian government to Japan in 2003.
From 1996-2000, the Fujimori government oversaw a massive family planning campaign known as Voluntary Surgical Contraception. The United Nations, USAID and other international aid agencies supported this campaign. The Nippon Foundation, headed by Ayako Sono, a Japanese novelist and personal friend of Fujimori, supported as well. Nearly 300,000 women were coerced or forced to get sterilisation during these years. The success of the operation in the Japanese embassy hostage crisis was tainted by subsequent allegations that at least three and possibly eight of the insurgents had been summarily executed by the commandos after surrendering. In 2002, the case was taken up by public prosecutors, but the Peruvian Supreme Court ruled that the military tribunals had jurisdiction. A military court later absolved them of guilt, and the "Chavín de Huantar" soldiers led the 2004 military parade. In response, in 2003 MRTA family members lodged a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) accusing the Peruvian state of human rights violations, namely that the MRTA insurgents had been denied the "right to life, the right to judicial guarantees and the right to judicial protection". The IACHR accepted the case and is currently studying it.
The current Peruvian Minister of Justice, Maria Zavala, has recently stated that the latest verdict by the IACHR supports the Peruvian governments most wanted of the Fujimori regime are said to be "on the run" and can be going by different aliases and could be harboring or residing in the lower Westchester County New York area or New York City. These men are also said to be Fujimori's personal ex-police officers.These men are wanted for such gruesome murders of families to those who opposed Fujimori's laws.
After his faxed resignation was rejected by the Congress, Fujimori was relieved of his duties as president and banned from Peruvian politics for a decade. He remained in self-imposed exile in Japan, where he resided with his friend, the famous Catholic novelist Ayako Sono. Several senior Japanese politicians have supported Fujimori, partly for his decisive action in ending the 1997 Japanese embassy crisis.
Alejandro Toledo, who assumed the presidency in 2001, spearheaded the criminal case against Fujimori. He arranged meetings with the Supreme Court, tax authorities, and other powers in Peru in order to "coordinate the joint efforts to bring the criminal Fujimori from Japan." His vehemence in this matter at times compromised Peruvian law: forcing the judiciary and legislative system to keep guilty sentences without hearing Fujimori's defense; not providing Fujimori with a lawyer in absence of representation; and expelling pro-Fujimori congressmen from the parliament without proof of the accusations against them. The latter action was later reversed by the judiciary.
The Toledo administration's review of the Fujimori administration led to the Peruvian Congress authorizing charges against Fujimori, in August 2001. Fujimori was alleged to be a co-author, alongside Vladimiro Montesinos, in the death-squad killings at Barrios Altos in 1991 and La Cantuta in 1992. At the behest of Peruvian authorities, Interpol issued an arrest order for Fujimori on charges that included murder, kidnapping, and crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, the Peruvian government found that Japan was not amenable to the extradition of Fujimori; a protracted diplomatic debate ensued, when Japan showed itself unwilling to accede to the extradition request.
In September 2003, Congresswoman Dora Núñez Dávila, joined by Minister of Health Luis Soari, denounced Fujimori and several of his ministers for crimes against humanity, for allegedly having overseen forced sterilizations during his regime. In November, Congress approved charges against Fujimori, to investigate how much he had been involved in the airdrop of Kalashnikov rifles into the Colombian jungle in 1999 and 2000 for guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Fujimori maintains he had no knowledge of the arms-trading, and blames Montesinos. By approving the charges, Congress lifted the immunity granted to Fujimori as a former president, so that he can be criminally charged and prosecuted.
Congress also voted to support charges against Fujimori for the detention and disappearance of 67 students from Peru's central Andean city of Huancayo, and the disappearance of several residents from the northern coastal town of Chimbote during the 1990s. It also approved charges that Fujimori mismanaged millions of dollars from Japanese charities, suggesting that the millions of dollars in his bank account were far too much to have been accumulated legally.
By March 2005, it appeared that Peru had all but abandoned its efforts to extradite Fujimori from Japan. In September of that year, Fujimori obtained a new Peruvian passport in Tokyo, and announced his intention to run in the Peruvian national election, 2006.
The Special Prosecutor established to investigate Fujimori released a report alleging that the Fujimori administration had grafted US$2 billion. Most of this money is related to Vladimiro Montesinos' web of corruption. The Special Prosecutor's figure of two billion dollars is considerably higher than that arrived at by Transparency International, an NGO that studies corruption. In its "Global Corruption Report 2004", Transparency International listed Fujimori as leading the seventh most corrupt government of the past two decades, estimating that the corruption may have embezzled USD $600 million in funds.
Undaunted by the judicial proceedings underway against him, which, citing Toledo's involvement, he dismissed as "politically motivated", Fujimori, working from Japan, established a new political party in Peru, Sí Cumple, in hopes of participating in the 2006 presidential elections. In February 2004 the Constitutional Court dismissed the possibility of Fujimori participating in those elections, noting that the ex-president was barred by Congress from holding office for ten years. The decision was regarded as unconstitutional by Fujimori supporters such as ex-congress members Luz Salgado, Marta Chávez, and Fernán Altuve, who argued it was a "political" maneuver, and that the only body with authority to determine the matter is the Jurado Nacional de Elecciones (JNE). Valentín Paniagua disagreed, suggesting that the Constitutional Court finding is binding, and that "no further debate is possible".
Fujimori's Sí Cumple (roughly translated, "He Keeps His Word") received more than 10% in many country-level polls, contending with APRA for the second place slot.
High growth during Fujimori's first term petered out during his second term. "El Niño" phenomena had a tremendous impact on the Peruvian economy during the late 1990s. Nevertheless, total GDP growth between 1992 and 2001, inclusive, was 44.60%, that is, 3.76% per annum; total GDP per capita growth between 1991 and 2001, inclusive, was 30.78%, that is, 2.47% per annum. Also, studies by INEI, the national statistics bureau show that the number of Peruvians living in poverty increased dramatically (from 41.6% to 55%) during Alan García's term, but they actually decreased somewhat (from 55% to 54%) during Fujimori's term. Furthermore, FAO reported Peru reduced undernourishment by about 29% from 1990-92 to 1997-99.
Peru was reintegrated into the global economic system, and began to attract foreign investment. The sell-off of state-owned enterprises led to improvements in some service industries, notably local telephony, mobile telephony and Internet. For example, before privatization, a consumer or business would need to wait up to 10 years to get a local telephone line installed from the monopolistic state-run telephone company, at a cost of $607 for a residential line. A couple of years after privatization, the wait was reduced to just a few days. Peru's Physical land based telephone network had a dramatic increase in telephone penetration from 2.9% in 1993 to 5.9% in 1996 and 6.2% in 2000, and a dramatic decrease in the wait for a telephone line. Average wait went from 70 months in 1993 (before privatization) to 2 months in 1996 (after privatization). Privatization also generated foreign investment in export-oriented activities such as mining and energy extraction, notably the Camisea gas project and the copper and zinc extraction projects at Antamina.
By the end of the decade, Peru's international currency reserves were built up from nearly zero at the end of García's term to almost USD $10 billion. Fujimori also left a smaller state bureaucracy and reduced government expenses (in contrast to the historical pattern of bureaucratic expansion), a technically minded (but widely perceived as politicized) administration of public entities like SUNAT, a large number of new schools (not only in Lima but in Peru's small towns), more roads and highways, and new and upgraded communications infrastructure. These improvement led to the revival of tourism, agroexport, industries and fisheries.
Some analysts state that some of the GDP growth during the Fujimori years reflects a greater rate of extraction of non-renewable resources by transnational companies; these companies were attracted by Fujimori by means of near-zero royalties, and, by the same fact, little of the extracted wealth has stayed in the country. Peru's mining legislation, they claim, has served as a role model for other countries that wish to become more mining-friendly.
Fujimori's privatization program also remains shrouded in controversy. A congressional investigation in 2002, led by radical socialist opposition congressman Javier Diez Canseco, stated that of the USD $9 billion raised through the privatizations of hundreds of state-owned enterprises, only a small fraction of this income ever benefited the Peruvian people.
Some scholars claim that Fujimori's government became a "dictatorship" after the auto-coup, permeated by a network of corruption organized by his associate Montesinos, who now faces dozens of charges that range from embezzlement to drug trafficking to murder (Montesinos is currently on trial in Lima). Fujimori's style of government has also been described as "populist authoritarianism". Numerous governments and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, have welcomed the extradition of Fujimori to face human rights charges. As early as 1991, Fujimori had himself vocally denounced what he called "pseudo-human rights organizations" such as Amnesty International and Americas Watch, for allegedly failing to criticize the insurgencies targeting civilian populations throughout Peru against which his government was struggling.
The Lima-based newspaper Perú 21 ran an editorial noting that even though the Universidad de Lima poll results indicate that 4 out of every 5 interviewees believe that Fujimori is guilty of some of the charges against him, he still enjoys at least 30% of popular support and enough approval to restart a political career.
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