May 24, 2006 [LINK]

Fujimori claims he's innocent

In an interview with the BBC, Peru's former President-for-life Alberto Fujimori, who was recently freed from jail in Chile pending an extradition hearing, insists he is innocent: "In my government, there were clear instructions that the fight against violence was to be carried out with respect for human rights." He also declined to say whether he favors Alan Garcia or Ollanta Humala in the upcoming presidential election, but subtly implied a preference for Garcia, his former arch-enemy.

Chile's new president Michelle Bachelet denies an alleged lack of coordination between agencies of the Chilean government in how to treat Fujimori. She also warned that Fujimori's statements might harm the extremely sensitive relations between Peru and Chile. See El Mercurio (in Spanish). This is her first contentious issue since being inaugurated as president, and people will be scrutinizing her every word and gesture to see how she holds up under the pressure.

Brazil death toll falls

The official number of deaths in the recent street battles with gangs in São Paulo has been reduced to 79, about half what authorities had reported last week. The new, lower number excludes deaths of common criminals, 31 altogether, but human rights activists are suspicious that the government is trying to cover up a police rampage. Amnesty International accused current and retired Brazilian police officers of participating in death squads. See BBC. El Estado de São Paulo (in Portuguese) has details about the bureaucratic confusion as medical records are compiled.