AMERICA/PERU - Peru's President pardons Alberto Fujimori. Heated protests in the country, even for the Bishops it is inappropriate

Thursday, 28 December 2017 human rights   politics   violence   democracy   bishops  


Lima (Agenzia Fides) – Disappointment, in addition to political confusion, is the climate that reigns in Peru after President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pardons ex-president Alberto Fujimori condemned and in prison for "crimes against humanity".
President Kuczynski had just managed to obtain support from Congress (78 votes in favor, 19 against and 21 abstentions) on December 21, to continue the presidential term after being accused of corruption and moral incapacity by the opposition, led by Fujimori’s children.
Faced with the threats of demonstrations and protests, the Episcopal Conference had called on December 20 to "think about the common good and democracy", avoiding violence but always condemning corruption (see Fides 20/12/2017).
The news of Fujimori’s pardon is causing many reactions in public opinion and among political leaders: the Minister of Culture submitted his resignation and many people took to the streets to demonstrate against the "freedom given to a genocide", according to different titles in the local press. "No to pardon" the demonstrators shouted on Christmas Day, during the protests that began on Christmas Eve. The crowd, on December 25, tried to reach the hospital where Fujimori has been hospitalized since December 23, but was blocked by the police. Fujimori, 79, was given pardon due to his precarious health conditions, after being sentenced to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity in 2009.
The Catholic Church has called for calm but has harshly criticized how the situation has been handled: the Bishop of the diocese of Chimbote, Mgr. Ángel Francisco Simón Piorno, argued that the pardon of former president Alberto Fujimori is an inappropriate decision that has destabilized the country. "It was not the right time to forgive Fujimori: Peru is destabilized and Pope Francis will arrive and see this situation, so I think his welcome will not be the same in the middle of a national crisis" said the Bishop.
The Bishop also explained that Fujimori's apologies must be more detailed and stronger than those that former president has already presented in a video broadcast on social networks: he must apologize to the families of the victims of Barrios Altos, La Cantuta and El Santa, among others.
Even the Bishop of the diocese of Chiclayo, Mgr. Robert Prevost, spoke of the pardon of former President Fujimori and said he should apologize to each of his government's victims. "Former President Alberto Fujimori has asked forgiveness in a generic way, recognizing in general terms his guilt and some have felt offended. Perhaps it would be more effective to personally ask forgiveness for some great injustices committed and for which he was prosecuted", said Mgr. Prevost to the local press.
The Bishop also asked the demonstrators who refuse forgiveness to express themselves peacefully in the streets, without insults or violence, so as not to generate further divisions. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 28/12/2017)