Spy Chief Search Becomes Soap Opera

First he said he was not out to detain Montesinos, only locate him. Then, he said that once the spy chief was found, police would turn him “over to judicial authorities.”

Before his return, Montesinos’ allies had pushed for Congress to pass a sweeping amnesty law that opposition leaders contend was meant to shield him and his allies in the military from prosecution for ties to drug and arms trafficking.

His return to Peru was seen as an attempt to force the amnesty law through and may also have been a product of Panama’s hesitancy to grant his political asylum. As head of intelligence, Montesinos is rumored to have built up a large collection of videotapes compromising many people in power in Peru.

Though the operation failed to net the shadowy Montesinos, who has been an integral part of the Fujimori regime since 1990 but was first seen in public just a few years ago, some say Fujimori’s stand against his former right-hand-man may prove to be a wise decision.

Former First Vice President Francisco Tudela, who resigned in disgust on Monday saying he didn’t think Fujimori’s government would survive Montesinos’ return to Peru, urged the nation to “support with full hearts,” Fujimori’s attempts to capture Montesinos.

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