Peruvian Fugitive Vladimir Cerron Escaped to Cuba With the Complicity of Havana

Henry Shimabukuro, former advisor to former President Pedro Castillo, stated that Cerrón escaped to the Island / Willax Perú

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 2 April 2024 — Two months ago, the Peruvian politician and doctor Vladimir Cerrón, a fugitive from justice in his country, boarded a “safe” vehicle – a state car outside police jurisdiction – traveling in an unknown direction. The final destination was Cuba, his “second homeland,” where he arrived in search of asylum to dodge a sentence of three years and six months in prison for corruption. Citing “sources very close” to Cerrón, this was the version of the escape that Henry Shimabukuro, former adviser to former President Pedro Castillo, gave on television this Monday. “We knew he was in Ica (central-southern Peru),” Shimabukuro explained, “but today he is in Cuba. They helped him escape to Cuba two months or a month and a half ago,” he continued, without speculating about those responsible for the alleged operation.

Until today, Cerrón – who remains very active on social networks using a VPN application to hide his location – has not denied it. His links with Cuba are multiple. Not only did he graduate as a doctor in Havana in 1997 and live there for 10 years, but his wife, Lissette Páez, is Cuban. Founder of the leftist Peru Libre party and an admirer of Fidel Castro, he has been accused of allowing the interference of Cuban agents in the department of Junín, of which he was governor.

“We knew he was in Ica (central-southern Peru),” Shimabukuro explained, “but today he is in Cuba

Shimabukuro acknowledged to journalist Beto Ortiz that the information about Cerrón’s escape was not confirmed but that time would prove him right. “The Prosecutor’s Office would have to make a very in-depth investigation to see if this happened or not,” he added, alluding to the possibility that the current president of Peru, Dina Boluarte, has provided the “safe” car in which Cerrón allegedly escaped.

The episode described by Shimabukuro has motivated a controversy about Cerrón’s ties with Boluarte – whom he criticized on X to defend Castillo – who has just renewed her cabinet in the middle of the crisis after being accused of illicit enrichment. The so-called Rolex case – over two luxury watches that she allegedly acquired – has once again plunged the Peruvian Executive into uncertainty. Boluarte’s house was raided by the Peruvian Police as part of the Prosecutor’s Office’s investigation.

Shimabukuro also referred to the Rolex case and declared that Boluarte “has been wedded to corruption.” “I have seen her with a plastic watch worth 20 soles, a dirty crochet backpack, a red bracelet, a ring and some fantasy earrings. How much is the total value not only of the Rolex watches but also of all the gold accessories she wears today? Dina has changed.”

Former Peruvian congressman Mauricio Mulder went a step further and alleged, citing his own sources, that Cerrón is “protected by Cuba” and probably also by Mexico, from where he received money.

Zamora, known as El Gallo, has an extensive history of intelligence services and collaboration with several former leaders allied to the Cuban regime   

The commander of the Peruvian National Police, Víctor Zanabria, also did not know how to answer questions about the whereabouts of Cerrón. He cut short an interview on Monday when he was asked why the former governor of Junín has been a fugitive from justice for several months. The soldier was “uncomfortable and annoyed,” said the newspaper La República, and suspended communication with the interviewer. Regarding the case, he limited himself to saying that “a date cannot be set” for Cerrón’s capture. Then he hung up.

When rumors about Cerrón’s escape began to circulate last January, the newspaper Expreso published data on his proximity to Havana since 1991, when he traveled to the Island with a scholarship to study medicine. A politician since 2005 and governor in 2011, Cerrón’s career was “packed with accusations of corruption” for which he had to leave his position in 2019. In October 2023, he received a new conviction, but the Police against Organized Crime failed to capture him, and since then his protection has been attributed to “Cuban agents and members of congress from Peru Libre and Acción Popular.”

In 2021, with the arrival in Peru of the Cuban diplomat and former State Security agent Carlos Rafael Zamora to serve as ambassador of the Island in Lima, rumors about Cerrón’s contacts with Havana intensified. Zamora, known as El Gallo, has an extensive history of intelligence services and collaboration with several former leaders related to the Cuban regime, such as Evo Morales, whom he protected during his attempt at re-election as president of Bolivia in 2019.

Last January, the Peruvian Foreign Minister, Javier González, warned that if it was found that Cerrón was under the protection of Havana, Peru could break relations with Cuba.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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