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Corruption as Power

Criminal Governance in Peru during the Fujimori Era (1990-2000)

Alfredo Schulte-Bockholt

This book deals with the political corruption which infested Peru during the Fujimori years (1990-2000). The work is not about petty corruption, the small bribe paid to the underpaid police officer to avoid being booked for a minor traffic violation, but addresses the corruption of the powerful. Elites rely on corruption, and particularly in repressive regimes the practice is the most important tool of ‘criminal governance’. The author utilizes the concept of the protection racket developed by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno from the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory to explain the links between political, economic, and societal elites in Fujimori’s Peru such as the military, political parties, multinational corporations, or conservative groups within the Catholic Church.


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Chapter 11: Conclusion - 255


Chapter 11 Conclusion The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching. (Assyrian Tablet) 1. Introduction At the end of a work that informs about a topic such as corruption the author is expected to provide uplifting thoughts. Indeed, it would not be difficult to point to some successful reform project or other and the advances made in the fight against corruption. It is my argument, however, that corruption is an expression of power and of power relations. And the corruption of the powerful cannot be defeated by introducing a few reforms. Lascoumes (2000) argues that this question harks back to US criminologist Edwin Sutherland (1949) who asked whether white-collar crime – including the delinquent economic and financial practices of those in charge of large corporations – re- presented criminal wrongdoing in the eyes of society? Unfortunately, despite the manifest consequences of corruption the weakness of the social response to the practice often amounts to systematic impunity. 256 2. Sentencing and Impunity in Post-Fujimori Peru While the main actors of the regime received stiff prison terms for their crimes, many middle and lower ranking officials were given relatively light sentences, despite the enormity of the offences they had committed. Vladimiro Illich Montesinos Torres, General Juan de Bari Hermoza Ríos as well as Major Santiago Martín Rivas were sen- tenced to twenty-five years in jail...

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