Vladimiro Montesinos, in an archive image from 2016.Europa Press/Contacto/El Comercio (Europa Press/Contacto/El Comerci)
On the morning of December 18, 1992, Pedro Huilca, general secretary of the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP), was murdered by several shots in his car, when he was preparing to take a walk with his family. The traumatic scene was witnessed by his wife and his four children. Huilca was a staunch opponent of the regime of then-president Alberto Fujimori. A couple of weeks before being killed, Huilca criticized the work restrictions imposed by the Executive at the Annual Conference of Executives (CADE), in addition to raising other demands. Incident that generated a short circuit with the head of state, who gave him an energetic response during the event: “This is no longer the country where the leadership of the CGTP or the SUTEP, or the forces of the Shining Path and the MRTA, rule. , or the chiefs of the traditional parties.”
During these three decades, the case went through various instances, in the middle of two narratives that collided: while the Government attributed Huilca’s death to the terrorist organization Sendero Luminoso, the family of the Cusco leader never stopped blaming the regime. On Tuesday night, on the eve of All Saints’ Day, the Judiciary handed down a sentence, but the ruling has been a new misfortune for the mourners: it acquits Vladimiro Montesinos, presidential advisor to Fujimori and considered the intellectual author of the crime. , as well as Santiago Martin Rivas and other members of the Colina Group, accused of having carried out the attack.
The controversial ruling was not unanimous. A judge did determine his guilt while two other members of the court claimed not to have found sufficient evidence despite the fact that some former intelligence agents directly accused Santiago Martin Rivas of having ordered Huilca’s murder and that the family itself was a witness. “There are no elements of evidence (…) they are not sources of information for a conviction,” they justified themselves. The defendants’ lawyers agreed with the ruling.
Former congresswoman Indira Huilca, youngest daughter of Pedro Huilca, who witnessed her father’s death when she was only four years old, has shown her disappointment and anger at the ruling. “After 31 years, two judges of the Fourth Superior Criminal Chamber decided to acquit Montesinos and the Colina Group with biased and irrational arguments. They point out absurd things, such as that there is no real motive for the Fujimori dictatorship to order the murder. That Pedro Huilca proposed a national agreement with the Government. However, Judge Percy Ruiz’s arguments against it are clear: there was a motive for the murder of Huilca by the Fujimori regime. He was an opponent,” he explained. Previously, the sociologist had criticized the fact that Fujimori was not included in the accusation.
Flor Huilca, journalist and Indira’s older sister, said before the ruling: “Our father’s absence is going to hurt us forever. Thirty-one years later we are still at it, seeking the conviction of the guilty. Remembering him, always so firm, inspires us to continue fighting. But we need this to end to move on with our lives. We need to be able to leave the grief behind,” he assured the weekly Hildebrandt in his Trece. Flor was fifteen years old when she lost her father and after 190 hearings her pain has not been compensated. Finally, Indira Huilca has stressed that “they will continue to insist that the higher authorities decide, considering the evidence.”
The reading of the sentence has marked the public reappearance of Vladimiro Montesinos, who last June was sentenced to 23 years in prison for the murder in 1997 of Mariela Barreto Riofano, an intelligence agent for the Colina Group, accused of having leaked information to the press.
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