Del Castillo: Military unit tried to eliminate García during Fujimori’s ’self-coup’

Cabinet Chief Jorge Del Castillo testified today at the human rights trial of jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori that an elite military unit tried to kill President Alan García during Fujimori’s 1992 “self-coup.” Del Castillo said the unit was likely the Colina group, the paramilitary death squad that Fujimori is accused of authorizing to carry out its campaign of extrajudicial killings in the early 1990s.

Fujimori, 69, dissolved Congress on April 5, 1992, amid a faltering economy and raging guerrilla insurgency, which he inherited from García’s first administration. Fujimori justified the self-coup arguing Congress was obstructing efforts to stabilize the economy and quell the decade-long battle with Maoist Shining Path and Tupac Amaru rebel movements.

Del Castillo said he was in García’s house when Fujimori announced the self-coup on television. During the announcement a military unit surrounded and fired on the house, calling for García to come out with his hands up.

“I was violently beaten, hooded, struck. They were ‘disappearing’ me,” Del Castillo said, adding that he was held without charge for five days. “My kidnapping marked the beginning of a process of hostility that occurred during the entirety of Fujimori’s government,” Del Castillo testified. “Death threats, surveillance, control of communications media, etc.”

García escaped, climbing over his back yard fence and hiding in a neighbor’s empty water tank overnight. He later slipped out of the country and received political asylum in Colombia.

Fujimori testified in his own defense, telling the court tribunal: “At no time did I issue a directive or have knowledge of any directive to make an attempt against the life of Alan Garcia or hurt any member of his family.”

When questioned why the unit attacked García’s house, Del Castillo testified they wanted to “eliminate García physically.” He added that later investigations suggested the unit was the Colina group.

“When Alan García was in Colombia, Martin Rivas, the head of the Colina group, was placed in Bogota, evidently to follow him,” Del Castillo said. “That is why García had to flee to France … because you know that in Colombia it is very easy to hire hit men.”

Fujimori is accused of, among other things, authorizing the Colina group to kill 15 people in Lima’s Barrios Altos district in 1991 and nine students and one professor at La Cantuta University in 1992. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Sharing is caring!

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.