Montesinos, Vladimiro (1945–)

views updated

Montesinos, Vladimiro (1945–)

Vladimiro Montesinos was the de facto head of Peru's National Intelligence Service during the government of Alberto Fujimori (1990–2000). Over those ten years, Montesinos amassed millions of dollars and thousands of videotapes compromising a significant swath of Peru's elites, and was often considered more powerful than Fujimori himself.

Born in Arequipa on May 20, 1945, by the early 1970s Montesinos was an army captain and aide to one of the highest-ranking officials in the leftist military government of Juan Velasco. Suspected of spying for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), he was cashiered. In 1978 he became a lawyer, primarily for drug traffickers. During the 1990 presidential campaign, Montesinos arranged for the dropping of legal charges against Fujimori and soon became one of the president's chief advisers. Peru was facing a major insurgency and increased coca production; reestablishing his relationship with the CIA, Montesinos became Peru's most powerful policy maker on counterinsurgency and antinarcotics issues.

After Fujimori decided to seek an unconstitutional third term, Montesinos masterminded the avalanche of bribes and abuses for this purpose. Although Fujimori's third inauguration was achieved in July 2000, in August Montesinos was implicated in illegal arms sales to Colombian guerrillas, and in September a video showing Montesinos bribing a congressman was broadcast on Peruvian television. Montesinos fled Peru but was captured in Venezuela in June 2001. Imprisoned as of 2007, he has been found guilty of several charges, including embezzlement, and continues to face additional charges, including his responsibility in human-rights violations committed by a death squad during the early 1990s.

See alsoFujimori, Alberto Keinya; Peru: Peru Since Independence.


Bowen, Sally, and Jane Holligan. The Imperfect Spy: The Many Lives of Vladimiro Montesinos. Lima, Peru: PEISA, 2003.

Conaghan, Catherine M. Fujimori's Peru: Deception in the Public Sphere. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005.

McClintock, Cynthia, and Fabián Vallas. The United States and Peru: Cooperation at a Cost. New York: Rout-ledge, 2003.

                                       Cynthia McClintock

About this article

Montesinos, Vladimiro (1945–)

Updated About content Print Article