Four Peruvians named Personalities of the Year by Spanish daily El País

Four Peruvians — renowned tenor Juan Diego Flórez, celebrity chef Gaston Acurio and José Peláez and Avelino Guillén, the lead prosecutors in the trial of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori — have made the list of “Personalities of the Year 2008,” compiled by Spanish daily El País.

José Peláez and Avelino Guillén were added to El País’ list for their relentless work as prosecutors in Fujimori’s trial for human rights violations.

Fujimori has been on trial for more than a year for allegedly sanctioning the Grupo Colina death squad, believed to be responsible for atrocities committed during the early years of his 1990-2000 rule. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $3 million.

In December, Peruvian Times reported that Guillén had been the target of strange and menacing phone calls, just months away from the court tribunal handing down its sentence. Since the trial began, 28 incidents — including threatening calls to Guillén’s home phone, cell phone and numerous visits by suspicious individuals to his home — have been registered by police.

Gastón Acurio Jaramillo is a Peruvian chef, businessman, TV host, author, and ambassador of Peruvian cuisine. As one of Latin America’s most acclaimed chefs and a true culinary visionary, Acurio contributed to the development of “cocina novoandina,” a rediscovered and redesigned Peruvian cuisine, fusing traditional recipes with innovative new ingredients and presentations.

Finally, the last Peruvian on El País’ list is Juan Diego Flórez, an operatic tenor known for his roles in bel canto operas. Son of Rubén Flórez, a celebrated guitarist and singer of Peruvian criolla music, Juan Diego has performed on stages around the globe, including the Wigmore Hall in London, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Palau de la Música in Barcelona.

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