The engineer, former first lady of Peru and former congresswoman, Susana Higuchi Miyagawa, died this Wednesday at the age of 73 of cancer, after 29 days in intensive care units at two private clinics in Lima. The ex-wife of the autocrat Alberto Fujimori was banished from the trustworthy environment of the Government Palace since March 1992, when she denounced that her husband’s relatives were stealing clothes and money donated from Japan to people living in poverty. His eldest daughter, former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, confirmed the death on Twitter: “After a long fight against cancer, our mother has just left to meet God.”
Higuchi filed for divorce in 1994 and tried to run for president in 1995 competing against her ex-husband, but could not because Congress – manipulated by the then president – passed a law to prevent it. They called her popularly Susana law.
Higuchi was the daughter of Japanese and her family ran a thriving tire retreading and repair business. He studied civil engineering, married in 1974 and had four children with Fujimori. In 1992, she went before the press, a few days before the self-coup, to denounce the corruption of her in-laws, which caused her husband and children to turn their backs on her. The autocrat withdrew the position of first lady, which was assumed by his eldest daughter. “You cannot give in to blackmail or intimidation, wherever they come from. I have therefore decided to separate my wife from the role of first lady, ”Fujimori announced in a televised message.
She was not silent. From the door of the Executive Office he replied: “Since my husband took office, from the first day, I was more than anything in the heart of the Peruvian people, that is why they accuse me of disloyalty, I do not know what they call treason” . At that time, with the knowledge of her husband, the three brothers of the then president and their partners discretionally handled the donations of money and clothing that came from Japan through two NGOs called Apenkai and Aken.
In the book History of corruption in Peru, author Alfonso Quiroz estimates that Fujimori and his relatives diverted about $ 100 million in donations, and only 10% of these reached their original recipients. Referring to his two sisters-in-law, Higuchi told the press in 1992: “They receive donations from Japan, clothing, and they take the best for them: they distribute scourers and use my name and that does outrage me.” The first lady wanted to report the crimes to the prosecution, but her husband told her that they would archive the investigations. The powers of the State were at that time subject to the Executive and to the presidential adviser Vladimiro Montesinos, de facto head of the armed forces. In those days, a television reporter looked for Higuchi in the Government Palace and she answered him by phone: “They won’t let me leave the residence and the gate is on chain by order of my husband.”
After the closure of Congress and the military control of the media by the self-coup of April 1992, the Fujimori family left the Government Palace and went to live in a military barracks. Higuchi denounced that she was also locked up in that facility and that armed forces personnel tortured her and applied electroshocks. In 1994 he filed for divorce. Since then, the former first lady’s mental and physical health has cracked.
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After Fujimori fled Peru in November 2000 and resigned from the presidency, due to the revelations of the videos of the corruption of his government, Higuchi ran as a congressman for the Independent Moralizing Front and served as a member of parliament between 2001 and 2006. In 2002, when a prosecutor’s office was working to investigate the crimes committed by Fujimori and Montesinos, in a letter to the weekly Masks, the former first lady assured: “Keiko abandoned me. He preferred his father’s dirty money. He has the face of a devil to me ”.
His eldest daughter ran for the first time in the presidential elections in 2011. In the 2016 election campaign, Higuchi appeared accompanying his daughter, already with a deteriorated countenance. She also participated in some proselytizing activities this year, when the leader of Fuerza Popular was a candidate for the presidency for the third time.
Since losing the elections in June, Keiko Fujimori has participated in few public activities while facing a legal process for money laundering and criminal organization, having received millionaire contributions from Odebrecht and other large Peruvian companies for their electoral campaigns. Yes, he reappeared in November at the doors of a private clinic to report his mother’s poor health. In the following days, her sister Sachi was in charge of monitoring the medical progress of the former first lady. On November 22, the opposition leader tweeted that Higuchi was transferred to another sanatorium specializing in oncology. There he died this Wednesday.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.