Sunday, October 07, 2007

The former dictator blues

In the NYT, there’s an interesting Simon Romero piece on dictators living in exile and the possibility of extradition. I’ve written before that I’m always interested to hear about where ex-dictators have gone—I was surprised, for example, to learn about Alfredo Stroessner’s death in Brazil because I had assumed he was already dead. (In this article, I also learned that Isabel Perón is hanging out in Spain, which I didn’t know).

The article makes the argument (as Boz had a while ago) that the Fujimori extradition establishes a precedent. I don’t think this argument should be taken too far because of the political circumstances. The Chilean government never agreed to let Fujimori in the country (in fact, not knowing he was coming is considered a major failure of the National Intelligence Agency) in the first place and really wanted him out. The ex-dictators sunning themselves in places like Panama are there by explicit agreement with the government. Nonetheless, it’s true that just having extradition in the air is a good thing, and along with the Pinochet corruption case shows at the very least that even if you and/or your money leave the country, you might still be held accountable.


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