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7 August 1999

Peru's New Army Chief is Close to Controversial Advisor

Fujimori's appointment of Gen. Jose Villanueva as Peru's new army chief reinforces the political and military power of controversial presidential security adviser Vladimiro Montesinos Torres, analysts warned on July 25. The move is also designed to serve Fujimori's reelection efforts, say observers. In addition to being the army chief, Villanueva will soon take on the key post of president of the Armed Forces Joint Command; he was previously in charge of the Interior Ministry, and is viewed as being very close to Montesinos [see Update #466]. [El Nuevo Herald 7/26/99 from AFP]

[Montesinos is considered to be the de facto chief of the National Intelligence Service (SIN) and the power behind Fujimori's presidency. US National Drug Control Policy Director Gen. Barry McCaffrey publicly distanced himself from Montesinos following an April 1998 visit to Peru, despite having implied US support for the intelligence adviser during an October 1996 visit, and having called to wish Montesinos a happy birthday in May 1997]

Weekly News Update on the Americas * Nicaragua Solidarity Network of NY