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(May 25, 2006) President Michelle Bachelet requested that Chile’s Supreme Court keep ex-Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori quiet after a series of comments on Peru’s upcoming elections provoked an outcry from government officials in Lima. Since being released on bail, Fujimori has generated a whirlwind of controversy between the two countries as well as confrontations with a group of high school students in central Chile.

The ex-dictator, wanted in Peru on corruption and human rights charges, was detained in Chile after arriving in Santiago unexpectedly on Nov. 7, 2005. Fujimori’s arrival in Chile marked his first return to South America after he fled Peru in 2000 and resigned from the presidency by fax from a Japanese Hotel. (ST, Nov. 8).

Since being released from prison on May 18, Fujimori has given several interviews with national and foreign news agencies. In the interviews Fujimori spoke at length about Peru’s upcoming June 4 run-off elections between Alan García and Ollanta Humala as well as the possibility he would return to Japan where his Japanese citizenship grants him immunity from extradition.

Fujimori’s comments caused outrage in Peru and an official request from Peru’s government on Monday that Fujimori be prohibited from giving any more interviews.

“The Fujimori case is damaging our interests as a country,” said Jorge Tarud, the president of the international commission of Chile’s lower chamber of deputies.

When asked about the controversy, President Bachelet said, “there is one thing that is very clear, the fundamental task of the president of Chile is to protect the interests of Chile. It is clear that the actions of Sr. Fujimori in the last few days caused situations that are undesirable in our relationship with our neighboring country Peru.”

The President of Peru’s Supreme Court, Walter Vásquez announced that President Bachelet’s comments were, “healthy and positive.”

In Chile, Judge Orlando Alvarez, the judge presiding over the Fujimori case, claimed that the situation “has been taken care” because Fujimori has agreed to cancel all interviews with the press and refrain from discussing Peru’s political situation.



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