Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s 75-year-old former president, has taken to Twitter from his prison quarters, sending out a couple of dozen tweets since mid-September to criticize Peru’s current government and defend his corruption-riddled administration.
Fujimori’s first tweet came on September 19, when he published a short recording saying that he will be publishing his “memoirs” on Twitter and Facebook. He said the accounts will be managed by his supporters.
As of October 2, Fujimori has sent out 25 tweets from his account, @albertofujimori, and collected almost 9,000 followers, including several well-known Peruvian journalists and political analysts.
Serving a 25-year sentence for crimes against humanity, the former President’s request for a presidential pardon was turned down when a medical team reported that neither his depression nor a tumour in his mouth were life-threatening.
“After so much time, I’m charging my batteries. I’m getting up-to-date. It takes me time to understand something that I don’t see. I’ll start with this slowly,” Fujimori said in a September 19 tweet.
Other messages have mainly been aimed at criticizing President Ollanta Humala, who when he was still a military officer in 2000 led a short-lived coup against the Fujimori administration when revelations of widespread corruption were made public.
“Strikes, blocking highways, protests for absurd measures. The Ollanta-Nadine government is deaf? Or is it incapable of governing?” the Twitter account said.
He’s recently charged the government with mishandling a public program that provides meals to underprivileged children at school. The Qali Warma program has come under criticism after more than 100 children in the Andean city of Huancayo became sick after eating cheese, milk and quinoa from the program.
Qali Warma, which has replaced the much-beleaguered Pronaa program created in the Fujimori administration, provides school meals for about 2.6 million children in Peru.
President Humala has championed social programs such as Qali Warma as a key way to alleviate poverty and improve “social inclusion” for those who haven’t benefited from Peru’s red-hot economic growth.
“It seems like Qali Warma wasn’t a program for inclusion but rather intoxication,” Fujimori said by twitter.
The Ministry of Social Development and Inclusion attributes the food poisoning to poor storage practices in the Huancayo facilities. Similar practices have caused food poisoning, and deaths, of school children in previous administrations and social programs, including the Pronaa programs during President Fujimori’s own administration —despite initial instructions, program staff or helpers in outlying villages and towns frequently store the foodstuffs in the same room or even next to insecticides.
Fujimori is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence after being found guilty in 2009 of several corruption charges and human rights violation during his administration in 1990 to 2000.
Congressman Yehude Simon, who was imprisoned during Fujimori’s administration, called the government “weak” for allowing Fujimori to use Twitter from prison.
“[The fact] that he has Facebook and Twitter, that he is making political opinions, as if nothing happened, in truth this leaves a lot to be desired from the government,” Simon said.