Sunday, 23 November 2008

El Comercio has an article on the military headquarters where part of the APEC summit is taking place. It's interesting although rather too optimistic at the end, to my mind. Here's my translation:
The Pentagonito, the military bunker in Lima in which the APEC summit is taking place, has a history of terror behind it. According to witnesses, various people were murdered there during the Fujimori regime (1990-2000).

The Ecuadorian sergeant Enrique Duchicela was one of them. As a worker at the embassy of his country in Lima, he was a spy. The Peruvian military discovered him and, with the help of torture carried out in the Pentagonito, obtained his confession. In the same location, he was incinerated, without complaints from Quito, for obvious reasons.

This story was told by Intelligence agent Jesús Sosa, one of the participants in the execution, and it, among other cases, is related in detail in the book "Death in the Pentagonito", by renowned investigative journalist Ricardo Uceda.

The Pentagonito is, in fact, the headquarters of the Peruvian Army. It got its popular name because of its pentagon-shaped perimeter. In its place for the summit has appeared the euphemistically named Convention Centre of the Ministry of Defense, because it was the location which could offer the most security for the important visitors.

During the government of Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), which was so closely allied to the armed forced, it was a strategic centre. Even the head of state had an apartment there, in the tower from which there is a panorama over much of the city.

According to the testimony of Sosa, who is now in jail, there were Army Intelligence Service cells in the basement of the Pentagonito, where the baker Justiniano Najarro and students Keneth Azualdo and Javier Roca, who were suspected of being to the extremist armed group Sendero Luminoso, were held, tortured and murdered.

Their bodies were never found because, according to Sosa, they were cremated there too. In fact, this was the speciality of Sosa, an ex-member of military organisation the Colina Group, who was known in military circles by his alias "Kerosene".

After Fujimori's "self-coup" in 1992, prestigious opposition journalist Gustavo Gorriti and Samuel Dyer, a businessman who had clashed swords with presidential aide Vladimiro Montesinos, were taken there. Some say that their captors intended them to disappear, but they did not succeed as the case was made public and their location was leaked.

In any case, the illegal detention of Gorriti and Dyer has been classed as abduction and is part of Fujimori's trial on human rights charges.

But times have changed. Peru, with all its limitations, is now a democratic country, and the Pentagonito and its occupants are no longer feared [Ed. I wouldn't be so sure about that]. In fact, the site, in the middle-class district of San Borja, is favoured by hundreds of athletes who spend their weekends practicing in its grounds.

El Pentagonito, una historia con ingredentes de terror (El Comercio)

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