LIMA – Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was taken on Sunday to a Lima hospital after experiencing cardiac arrhythmia, his chief attending physician, Alejandro Aguinaga, reported.
“They’re going to check him because, although he’s been improving over the past seven days, he’s not completely stable. He has short periods of arrhythmia,” Aguinaga told the daily El Comercio.
According to images broadcast by RPP Noticias, the former president, who governed from 1990-2000, was taken to the clinic in an SUV from his luxury residence in the capital’s La Molina district, where he has lived since being released from prison after being pardoned a day before Christmas by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
The 79-year-old Fujimori, who had been serving a 25-year prison sentence for crimes against humanity until being granted the presidential pardon, looked haggard as he was being transported to the hospital but he waved to reporters following his vehicle.
The ex-president was accompanied on his trip to the hospital by lawmaker Kenji Fujimori, his younger son.
Fujimori was pardoned on Dec. 24, three days after a group of his supporters in Congress led by Kenji abstained from a vote to depose Kuczynski after links between a company owned by the latter and scandal-ridden Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht were revealed.
As a result of the lawmakers’ abstention, the move to oust Kuczynski failed.
The president’s pardon of Fujimori sparked huge protest demonstrations and a sizable portion of the public believes that the pardon was, in reality, a quid pro quo rather than merely a humanitarian gesture.
Kuczynski told reporters on Sunday, however, that the pardon was not the result of political deal-making, but rather he granted it for purely humanitarian reasons noting that he had been in favor of pardoning Fujimori ever since taking office in July 2016.
He said that “ultimately, the opinion of the doctors prevailed,” given that Fujimori’s health had worsened over the last few years he had spent behind bars.
An opinion poll by the private Ipsos survey firm found Sunday that public approval of the pardon had dropped from 56 percent to 53 percent while 43 percent of the citizenry disapproves of the move, up from 40 percent two weeks ago, and 40 percent of the public believes that it was granted for political reasons.
Ipsos also found that Kuczynski’s approval rating has fallen from 25 percent to 23 percent over the past two weeks, while his disapproval rating has risen from 68 percent to 70 percent.
The majority of Peruvians feel that Fujimori should “stay at home and withdraw from politics” after the pardon, according to the same survey, which was published Sunday by El Comercio.