- The Washington Times - Monday, March 1, 2004

MEXICO

‘Dirty war’ probe enters fast track

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s “dirty war” probe hit the fast track last week after two years of slow progress, with a first trial ordered, four new arrest orders issued, more charges imminent and witnesses emerging from the woodwork.

On Wednesday, a judge ordered former secret police Chief Miguel Nazar Haro held for trial in the 1975 kidnapping of a young urban rebel in Monterrey. It was a key victory for the special prosecutor named by President Vicente Fox to investigate a dirty war against leftists that peaked in the 1970s, when hundreds disappeared.

Special Prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo has four new arrest orders in another case — the 1974 disappearance of a communist rebel — including another warrant for Mr. Nazar Haro, described by victims as the face of repression. A judge will decide today whether to proceed with that trial.

PERU

Fujimori to seek return to power

SANTIAGO, Chile — Peru’s former president, Alberto Fujimori, exiled in Japan, has reaffirmed his intention to replace the government of Alejandro Toledo, which he called a “disaster” in a Chilean newspaper interview.

In an interview in Sunday’s La Tercera, Mr. Fujimori, who fled to Tokyo in 2000 amid claims of corruption in his administration, said he would mount a presidential campaign in the 2006 elections.

Mr. Fujimori — who has dual Peruvian-Japanese citizenship — governed Peru from 1990 to 2000, when he was caught up in reputed rights abuses and corruption claims linked to his security chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.

“This regime is simply a disaster,” Mr. Fujimori said of the Toledo government. “It’s hard to govern a country with a presidential approval rating of 7 percent.” Meanwhile, a former Toledo aide, Cesar Almeyda, was arrested last weekend for reputed influence-peddling and other charges.

Weekly notes

Weekend polls showed grave damage to the electoral prospects of Canada’s ruling Liberal Party after a government corruption scandal. A national Ekos poll showed the Liberals at 42 percent and the Conservatives at 32 percent, their best showing before a campaign in more than a decade. Prime Minister Paul Martin had wanted to call a May 10 election, but some vulnerable Liberal lawmakers now urge him to wait until autumn. … Nearly 70 percent of Chilean companies and self-employed individuals filed their taxes online last year through a government Web site, outperforming the world’s biggest economy in this area. In the United States, 40 percent of annual income-tax filings by businesses and individuals were done online last year. And in nearby Argentina, 15 percent of tax filings are done online. Chile has stimulated Internet use by offering early tax reimbursements for electronic filers and forcing state agencies to simplify forms.

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