Peru Police Chief says security given to TV host Jaime Bayly on reports of murder plot

Police intelligence: alleged murder plot against Jaime Bayly hangs on his ambiguous run for president of Peru

The director of Peru’s national police, Miguel Hidalgo, confirmed on Tuesday that the government is providing security for Peruvian TV host and award-winning novelist Jaime Bayly, daily El Comercio reported.

Hidalgo said the State Security Office formed a team to provide protection for Bayly on April 8. Bayly was warned during a recent trip to Bogota by Colombian secret service agency DAS about a plot to kill him while in that country or at home in Peru.

Bayly is the host of the TV interview program “Bayly” transmitted Monday though Friday via Miami’s Mega TV at 10 p.m. (EST). The program is very similar to his late Sunday night talk show in Peru, El Francotirador, or “The Sharpshooter.”

Known for an  irreverent wit, usually delivered with a glint in his eye and a wry smirk, Bayly — one of Peru’s few openly-bisexual celebrities — announced last year plans to run for president in 2011 on a progressive liberal platform. But few Peruvian believe his political ambitions are serious, because he rarely, if ever, acts seriously himself.

He professes no liking or allegiance to Latin America’s leftist leaders,  lobbing frequent barbs at Peruvian opposition leader Ollanta Humala, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez — the last of whom he contends is behind the alleged murder plot against him.

“We received information from DAS about a possible attempt against Bayly in Bogota or Lima,” Hidalgo was quoted as saying. “The information was evaluated and on Thursday, April 8, the State Security Office designated a security team for his personal protection.”

DAS confirmed in a press release that it received intelligence about a “plan to violate the personal security” of Bayly. The agency said its representatives met with the TV personality when he was in Bogota, told him about the information and provided security during his stay. They confirmed that they also shared the information with Peruvian authorities.

Bayly wrote about his encounter with the Colombian DAS agent in a column titled “They are coming to kill you,” published Monday by daily Peru.21. The TV host said the intelligence disclosed a plan to murder him by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

According to Bayly’s column, Caracas was originally planning to kill him in Bogota before Colombia’s national elections on May 30. However, because Bayly travels in the Colombian capital with armored cars and personal security, the plan was later changed to assassinate him in Lima where he did not previously have the same protections.

“They are going to kill you in Lima, the chief of Colombian police curtly told me,” Bayly wrote in his column. “The plan is in motion and the only thing missing is to hire hit men. They could be Colombians or Peruvians, he added.”

“The advantage of killing you in Lima is that the connection with Caracas won’t be as evident, my informant told me… The hit is going to occur, unless they see that you’ve taken all precautions. Perhaps in that case they will be discouraged. But if your candidacy for presidential campaign improves in the polls, the plan will be carried out in any case, only they will wait a little for it to seem like Peruvian terrorists killed you and that it wasn’t an order from Caracas.”

During an interview on his show in August 2008, Bayly — known in Peru as the “Terrible Kid” — asked Spanish journalist Federico Jiménez Losantos who he would prefer to see dead, Cuban President Fidel Castro or Chavez, and later asked Losantos to choose between the death of Chavez or Bolivian President Evo Morales. The two also discussed the hypothetical military overthrow of Chavez’s government by the United States.

Chavez’s envoy to the Organization of American States, Roy Chaderton Matos, accused Bayly of intentionally seeding the idea of Chavez’s murder in the public mind.

Chaderton alleged in a statement to the OAS that the assassination plot against Chavez was part of a “secret international operation” and that a polemic interview by Bayly aired on Miami’s Mega TV last month was part in parcel of the conspiracy.

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