Human Rights WatchWorld Report ContentsDownloadPrintOrderHRW Homepage

World map Americas



Europe and Central Asia

Middle East and North Africa

Special Issues and Campaigns

United States


Children’s Rights

Women’s Human Rights


United States
Ending a silence that had been seen by human rights groups as tacit U.S. support for Peru’s abusive SIN, the head of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, publicly distanced U.S. anti-narcotics efforts from Vladimiro Montesinos, the SIN’s reputed de facto leader. Montesinos was widely believed to have had long-term links with the Central Intelligence Agency.McCaffrey took the initiative after the “Panorama” news program, aired on Peru’s Channel 5 television station, showed a video on May 10 depicting Montesinos and other senior Peruvian authorities in a meeting with U.S. officials, including McCaffrey. The footage included a speech by Montesinos and handshakes between him and U.S. officials before and after the meeting. McCaffrey subsequently called a press conference to say that Montesinos had caused him offense by manipulating his visit and doctoring the videotape to clean up his image. McCaffrey also said that he shared many of the concerns of human rights groups about Montesinos. This forceful intervention would make it more difficult in the future for Montesinos to gain status from his association with high-ranking U.S. anti-narcotics officials. However, McCaffrey’s statements did not clarify the extent of the United States’ dealings with the SIN.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador in Lima, Dennis Jett, continued to speak out in support of human rights. He made several public statements in support of freedom of expression, criticized the congressional decision on the Fujimori referendum, and expressed concern about human rights when questioned about the anti-crime measures. When the harassment of journalists was at its height, he made a well-publicized visit to the office of La República, a gesture of moral support. In October 1998, Jett told reporters that the work of nongovernmental human rights groups was necessary “when there are institutions that are losing credibility day by day.” It was announced on the same day that the Agency for International Development (AID) had pledged U.S.$750,000 to support the work of the People’s Defender (Defensor del Pueblo), a government human rights agency. AID also announced it would support nongovernmental human rights monitors, including the Coordinadora and the Institute for Legal Defense.

World Bank
In March the World Bank held up disbursement of its U.S.$22.5 million aid package to Peru’s program of judicial reform in protest over the law limiting the powers of the National Magistrates’ Council. In September, when Congress passed a new law restoring a small part of the CNM’s powers but failed to meet the requirements of the bank, the government rejected the loan altogether, apparently to avoid a rebuff by World Bank.













Copyright © 1999
Human RIghts Watch