“I ask the Peruvian justice system not to kill me in jail”.
Peru’s former president Alejandro Toledo has demanded that his country’s justice system to. not to allow his “death in prison” during an exclusive interview granted to EFE hours before handing himself over to U.S. authorities as a step prior to extradition.
“I ask the Peruvian justice system not to kill me in jail, let me fight with arguments,” said the former Peruvian chief executive between 2001 and 2006 after breaking the media silence he has maintained for the last seven years.
Toledo, who has been wanted by his country’s justice system since the end of 2017, is charged for allegedly committing the crimes of money launderingcollusion and influence peddling in relation to contracts granted to Odebrecht for the construction of the Interoceanic Highway between Brazil and Peru.
From his apartment in the town of Menlo Park (San Francisco Bay Area, USA), the former president settled any doubts about his surrenderscheduled for this Friday morning in a courtroom in San Jose, California: “I will, I am respectful of the judge’s (Thomas S. Hixson) decision, even if I don’t share it.”
These are Toledo’s last hours under house arrest.a condition he has enjoyed since 2020, after a year in a Californian prison, because of the dangers that the covid-19 health crisis could pose to his state of health.
Precisely that, his state of health, was the argument he repeatedly used to stall the judicial process for which he he is accused of having pocketed up to 35 million dollars. in kickbacks that he later invested in real estate in Peru.
“My health is very bad. I take 14 pills a dayI have hypertension and I suffer from the remnants of cancer (…) Just respect that, they haven’t proved anything and they already want to put me in jail”, said Toledo under the watchful eye of the former first lady of Peru, Eliane Karp.
The achievement of having been the first indigenous president of South America remains a source of pride for the popularly known as ‘El Cholo’who assured that “that” is not forgiven because it meant “the liberation from the dictatorship” of Fujimori (1990-2000) in Peru and because “it set the precedent” for Pedro Castillo to arrive later.
“Although I have nothing to do with him,” stressed the former president in reference to Castillo, former president also deprived of liberty since December last year after declaring a state of emergency in a maneuver considered by many as a “self-coup”.
“I have never received a single ill-gotten dollar.”
Despite the succession of accusations in which he finds himself immersed, Toledo has said he detests corruption and that he has “never” received “not a single ill-gotten dollar” and has compared himself to that of Brazilian President Lula da Silva, who spent 580 days in jail for a conviction that was later overturned.
“Me, who has worked to earn it since I was five years old?”, the founder of the defunct Perú Posible party has slipped in with derision about his links to Odebrecht.
The case that bears the name of this Brazilian construction company is included within the plot known as Lava Jato and has been the biggest corruption scandal in Latin American history.
Odebrecht also splashed other former Peruvian presidents.Alan García (1985-1990 and 2006-2011), Ollanta Humala (2011-2016), Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018), as well as three-time presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former president Alberto Fuhimori (1990-2000).
In this regard, Toledo showed his anger about the so-called “Effective Collaboration Agreement”. by which a team of Peruvian prosecutors specialized in Lava Jato agreed with Odebrecht a series of reparations for having benefited from public money in the Andean country.
“Why don’t they tell us the terms of that agreement? Odebrecht continues to work the same in Peru, although it has another name; it avoided paying a billion dollars and another six hundred million dollars in taxes,” Toledo has said aloud.
Peru has returned to dictatorship
The question was answered by himself claiming that Peru has returned to “dictatorship”, since. the country is controlled by people akin to Alberto Fujimori himself. and who hold the real power because “they have ties to big business and drug trafficking”.
“The drug traffickers have never been as free as they are now.. Life in Peru today is not worth anything,” Toledo said, emphasizing that in this context, he feels “fear” of the prison system in the Latin American country.
For the former president, the situation of prisons there is “worse than that of regimes like China, Iran or Sudan”. because inmates suffer significant violations of their human rights.
In his attempt to avoid a Peruvian prison, the Andean politician urged the authorities of his country to reconsider, because it does not cross his mind at any time to escape by taking advantage of his situation of house arrest.
“I am not a fugitive like Fujimori. I moved to the place (San Francisco Bay) where I was trained (…). I wouldn’t run away now either, that would be acknowledging my guilt.”Toledo concluded hours before the start of “a match that does not start from zero to zero” but which, he said, he will fight “until the end”.