Saturday, September 22, 2007
Prof. Fujimori Extradited
Alberto Fujimori is again in the news. One of the byproducts of a long and active life is meeting people who later becomes "somebody". I met Prof. Alberto K. Fujimori in the University of Tel Aviv in the eighties, when he came to a meeting of Latin American university presidents organized by la Doctora Ilana Ben Ami. I spent several days with Fujimori, because he is an agricultural engineer specialized in plant genetics, and an important Peruvian friend of the University, with interests in the seed business, had asked Ilana that he be treated VIP. I have old pics with the group (including one Rector with sotana, from some Universidad Catolica) and with him. He is a small Japanese-Peruvian, mild mannered and self effacing, very easy to be with. He was then the Decano de la Facultad de Agronomia La Molina, the most important of Peru. He was exactly like my Japanese collegues in my School, son of very poor Japanese peasant parents, from the colonias that introduced intensive farming in Latin America, drinking tea from fine Japanese porcelain cups, in small houses full of cute Japanese dolls and wooden boiling water tubs. In La Plata, the Japanese were uniformly good students, they never missed a class and wrote clear and comprehensive lecture notes, which the Secret Engineer coveted but the Japanese didnt like to share. I wrote on my travels with Fujimori in Israel and we corresponded for a while, but never imagined he would be soon President of Peru and then, after the autogolpe, a Latin American dictator! Twenty years later, I cannot visualize him as a dictator, he was the opposite of a typical Latin American military caudillo. For me, he is still a humble profesor de genetica vegetal.