Chronology of Fujimori's Rapid Fall
Associated Press -- 20 November 2000
A chronology of recent events leading up to President Alberto Fujimori's announcement that he will resign:
Sept. 14: Peru cable news station Canal N broadcasts leaked videotape showing shadowy spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos apparently paying newly elected opposition Congressman Alberto Kouri $15,000 to abandon his party and join President Alberto Fujimori's ruling bloc.
Sept. 16: Breaking a two-day silence, Fujimori announces that he is deactivating the feared National Intelligence Service, run by Montesinos. He also says he will cut short his third five-year term, won in May amid fraud allegations, and convene new elections in which he will not be a candidate.
Sept. 21: Peru's armed forces, widely perceived as under Montesinos' control, breaks an ominous silence and publicly support Fujimori's call for new elections.
Sept. 23: Montesinos flees the country and heads to Panama, where he requests political asylum.
Sept. 26: Peru's judiciary, controlled by Montesinos, says it has shelved a criminal investigation into corruption charges against the former intelligence chief.
Sept. 30: Congress tentatively approves constitutional amendments to reduce Fujimori's mandate, clearing the way for new elections.
Oct. 20: Fujimori's government insists on sweeping amnesty for military and civilian officials accused of human rights abuses in the last five years as a condition for ratifying constitutional amendments necessary for new vote. Opposition leaders accuse Fujimori of trying to grant Montesinos and his military allies impunity.
Oct. 23: Montesinos returns to Peru from Panama after his asylum bid fails in Panama. First Vice President Francisco Tudela offers resignation to protest Montesinos continued influence in government.
Oct. 25: Government representatives and leaders of Peru's opposition and civic organizations agree to April 8 election date in a breakthrough negotiation session brokered by Cesar Gaviria, secretary general of the Organization of American States. Meanwhile, Fujimori launches a spectacular, albeit unsuccessful, search for Montesinos.
Oct. 28: Fujimori forces the resignation of the heads of the army, navy and air force, among other top military leaders widely viewed as loyal to Montesinos.
Nov. 2: Justice Minister Alberto Bustamante announces request from Switzerland for help investigating alleged money laundering by Montesinos involving Swiss bank accounts totaling more than $48 million.
Nov. 3: Attorney General Blanca Nelida Colan, a Montesinos loyalist who had always protected the ex-spy chief, quits.
Nov. 4: Special investigator Jose Ugaz, appointed by Fujimori, files criminal complaints against Montesinos for corruption of public officials, money laundering and illicit enrichment.
Nov. 6: Judge issues arrest warrant for Montesinos.
Nov. 7: Police raid luxury apartment of Montesinos' wife and two daughters, seizing 40 suitcases and 40 crates filled with documents, videos, as well as some $600,000 worth of watches, jewelry and clothing owned by Montesinos.
Nov. 9: Fujimori announces discovery of more foreign bank accounts linked to Montesinos in New York, Uruguay and the Cayman Islands totaling about $10 million.
Nov. 10: Fujimori convokes elections for April 8.
Nov. 13: Opposition lawmakers force out Martha Hildebrandt, a key Fujimori ally, from her post as Congress president. The move opens the way for a possible debate on whether to remove Fujimori on constitutional grounds of moral incapacity. Fujimori leaves the country to attend economic summit of Pacific Rim nations.
Nov. 15: Leader of small opposition party charges that Fujimori is seeking asylum in Malaysia. Fujimori's top aides and Malaysian government deny the allegation.
Nov. 16: Lawmakers elect Congressman Valentin Paniagua, a political moderate, to replace Hildebrandt as Congress president, giving the opposition legislative control of Peru for first time since 1992. Threat of Fujimori's ouster increases.
Nov. 17: Opposition-controlled Congress reinstates three Constitutional Tribunal judges who were sacked in 1997 after they tried to repeal a constitutionally questionable law allowing him to seek a third five-year term in the 2000 elections.
Ugaz says Fujimori has not been ruled out as suspect in Montesinos' alleged web of corruption, but warns against presuming president is guilty.
Fujimori heads to his ancestral homeland of Japan unexpectedly. His aides say he is there to obtain loans for Peru. Japanese Foreign Ministry official says the president is not conducting official business and is simply waiting to change planes.
Nov. 18: Japanese Foreign Ministry say Fujimori will remain in Tokyo a bit longer than planned because he has a cold. Peru Prime Minister Federico Salas says Fujimori will stay in Japan until Wednesday to continue negotiating loans. Speculation increases that Fujimori plans to resign and might not return to Peru.
Nov. 19: Salas and Second Vice President Ricardo Marquez announce that Fujimori will resign within two days. Fujimori issues written statement in Tokyo confirming he will resign within 48 hours.