Peru's top writer battles son over 'corrupt' TV
Mario Vargas Llosa, a prolific intellectual and commentator whose books
"Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter," said this weekend that the licenses of America
Television and Panamericana Television should be transferred from owners linked
to corruption under former President Alberto Fujimori.
The demand from Vargas Llosa, who made an unsuccessful presidential bid
1990, sparked a public spat with his son Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a critic of President
Alejandro Toledo, who took office in July vowing to rebuild Peru's democracy.
"I am against squelching freedom of expression. It would be a real catastrophe
Peru," Alvaro Vargas Llosa said.
His father had proposed "transferring the licenses to civil society or
companies in a transparent process in which neither the government nor the state
Fujimori, who ruled Peru with an iron fist from 1990 to 2000, fled to Japan
November, two months after his top aide, Vladimiro Montesinos, triggered the
country's worst political crisis when a video showed him paying an apparent bribe.
Montesinos is now on jail awaiting trial on a slew of corruption charges.
Among the avalanche of "Vladivideos" since made public were tapes showing
Panamericana chief stakeholder Ernesto Schutz and America Television's former
Director Jose Francisco Crousillat receiving cash in exchange for pledges of
Both Schutz and Crousillat have since fled the country. Schutz was arrested
Argentina in October -- Peru has begun extradition proceedings -- while Crousillat
is still missing.
'Delicate moment' for democracy
"At this extremely delicate moment in the construction of (Peru's) democracy,
those who have fled shouldn't be able to still own these stations through henchmen
or family members," said Mario Vargas Llosa, who was given Peru's highest honor,
the Order of the Sun, by Toledo last week.
Toledo has recently said people still linked to Montesinos were cooking
up a plot to
Peru is pushing to extradite Fujimori on human rights and corruption charges,
Tokyo considers him a Japanese citizen and has said it will not ship him to Lima.
Alvaro Vargas Llosa, also a writer, had been a campaign adviser to Toledo
in April, saying Toledo had disappointed him and risked becoming another Fujimori.
The younger Vargas Llosa then led a campaign urging voters to leave their
blank, a drive condemned by his father.
Although Mario Vargas Llosa mostly lives abroad, he remains a respected
intellectual whose opinions are taken seriously.
After the call for network changes, Alvaro Vargas Llosa accused his father
manipulated by Toledo's government, which he said hoped to control the channels
The elder Vargas Llosa told RPP radio that he had not meant to imply the
should lose their licenses. "There should be sanctions against the two most
powerful TV channels that for 10 years served Fujimori and Montesinos' mafia ...
(by) lying, justifying electoral fraud, hushing criticism, and completely
misrepresenting and demonizing opponents," the writer said.
Copyright 2001 Reuters.