Leaked tapes confirm collusion of Peruvian justice system with drug cartels and state corruption
Bill Van Auken
21 August 2018
A new state corruption scandal has shaken Peru in recent months, this time involving a vast network of judges, prosectors, attorneys and other high-ranking personnel in the justice system. Many of them have been caught on tape negotiating bribes with businessmen, congressmen and others in exchange for light sentences, the stonewalling of investigations, the complete rescinding of verdicts or other favors.
The new scandal is yet another blow to a political and state establishment already massively discredited after the revelations of the Lava Jato scandal, which implicated politicians in Peru and throughout Latin America in bribes and payoffs from Brazilian corporations, including former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who was forced to resign in March.
His successor, President Martin Vizcarra last month announced in his Independence Day message to the nation a plan for referendums, one of which proposes the reform of the Justice System, specifically the National Council of Magistrates (Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura, CNM), the state entity tasked with appointing judges and prosecutors throughout the country. The measure is aimed at assuaging rising popular anger against the government.
The leaked tapes stem from an investigation prosecuted by the Organized Crime Unit of Callao, a “constitutional province” inside the capital of Lima that includes the country’s most important maritime port for exports and imports. It is also the epicenter for the trafficking of cocaine to Europe and the US; an illegal and extremely lucrative enterprise that binds together local drug gangs, corrupt port officers and, as the scandal has revealed,…