Two former TV executives flee justice in Peru (Commentary by Paul Alonso)

By Paul Alonso

José Enrique Crousillat and Genaro Delgado Parker, who were two of the most powerful men in Peruvian TV, are now fugitives from justice. Crousillat shamelessly sold the editorial line of América TV (Channel 4) to the mafia of then-President Alberto Fujimori and his intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos; Delgado Parker dodged his continuing debts to his employees, drove Panamericana TV (Channel 5) into failure, and allegedly stole some of its trucks. Now, they’ve both escaped.

“Don” Genaro Delgado Parker, is accused of crimes against public administration and embezzlement against the State and Panamericana TV. In addition, he faces an arrest order for allegedly taking at least five of the network's trucks during his administration. During that time, the company didn’t pay its workers, and Delgado Parker was said to have suspicious dealings with drug traffickers.

In 2001, through one of the famous “vladivideos,” it came to light that José Enrique Crousillat, ex-owner of América Televisión, had sold the editorial line of the station in favor of the Fujimori government for $619,000 a month. He was sentenced for crime against public administration and influence peddling (which included corruption of employees, and embezzlement).

Crousillat, 77, was serving an eight-year sentence when he was pardoned last year by President Alan García, for “humanitarian reasons.” However, that pardon was annulled after photos were published showing the businessman at the beach and in restaurants, raising questions about his so-called terminal illness, which had led to the pardon. Since then, he is on the run.

These two cases not only point to cracks in the power structure, but they also reveal that the powerful are not always immune. It is true that there are many interests and influences surrounding these cases, and it is not gratuitous that Crousillat and Delgado Parker are being justly pursued, and that—amid the constant questioning of a government full of corruption scandals—some heads have to roll and be exposed to collective vilification.

However, perhaps the most positive outcome is that the media’s constant degradation of the fugitives serves as a signal to those who today make great decisions, who sit in plush conference rooms, whiskey in hand, betting in the game of roulette played by the news media and their inbred relationship with political power.

* The illustration that shows García, Montesinos and Crousillat is by the cartoonist Carlín.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.