Peru ex-lawmakers to press charges against Morales-Bermúdez

A group of former Peruvian lawmakers say they plan to press charges against Peru’s former military ruler, Gen. Francisco Morales-Bermúdez, for their kidnapping and deportation to Argentina in 1978 as part of Peru’s participation in Operation Condor.

Javier Diez Canseco, Ricardo Letts, Hugo Blanco and Genaro Ledesma, who served as leftist opposition legislators, contend Peru became part the campaign to eliminate left-wing influence in South America’s Southern Cone in 1975. The four politicians, along with six union leaders, were arrested on May 25, 1978, and deported to an Argentine military barracks.

On Dec. 28, an Italian judge named Morales-Bermúdez and ex-Prime Minister Pedro Richter Prada in an arrest warrant along with 138 other former heads of state, politicians and intelligence officers from seven South American countries for the disappearance of 25 Italian citizens in the 1970s. Morales-Bermúdez denies Peru was involved in Operation Condor. Peruvian investigative journalist Ángel Páez reported for Inter Press Service News Agency that declassified U.S. State Department documents confirm Morales-Bermúdez sanctioned a joint Peruvian-Argentine army intelligence operation in Lima to capture four alleged members of the Montoneros, the armed wing of the Peronist movement in Argentina. Two of the four Montoneros seized in Lima held Italian citizenship.

President Alan García has backed Morales-Bermúdez, who is recognized for convoking democratic elections in 1980, ending 12 years of military rule.

“I think that we, as Peruvians, should support the person who returned democracy to Peru,” said García.

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