Nadine Heredia's FAO posting causes ructions

27 November 2016

On 24 November, Nadine Heredia, the former first lady, travelled to Geneva to take up a posting with the United Nations Food Programme. In Peru, the reaction was immediate. Not only did many politicians demand she return to Lima but even the foreign ministry requested her post be rescinded.

Heredia is currently under investigation for alleged corruption, mainly in the use of campaign donations from Venezuela between 2006 and 2011. Although not been formally accused of any wrongdoing, she had faced a judicial order preventing her from travelling abroad. But this expired in October and was not renewed. The judiciary has now asked her to return within ten days or an order for her preventive capture will be issued.

Heredia has asked to be allowed to sign a register in the consulate in Geneva once a month.

Luz Salgado, the president of Congress and key Fujimorista lawmaker, has demanded that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) rescind the appointment. The Peruvian ambassador in Rome has presented a formal protest letter about it.

For its part, the FAO has responded that her hiring was conducted in a completely transparent way and that it operates on the principle of the presumption of innocence; until a court finds her guilty she will be considered innocent.

So far, there has been no confirmation as to whether or not Heredia will return to Peru as the courts are demanding. Some consider that she is not being treated fairly; others say that if there is a formal demand for her to serve a prison sentence she will have grounds enough to show that she is the object of political persecution.

APRA congressman Jorge del Castillo has publicised copies of her private emails showing how she was hired. He claims that she used her husband’s position to get the job; the application began in February 2016 when Ollanta Humala was still president and she was first lady. It remains unclear how Del Castillo obtained these emails.

Nadine Heredia was named as ‘ambassador for quinua’ at the FAO during her time as first lady. However she remains a highly controversial figure in Peruvian politics, and the objective of extreme dislike on the part of the Fujimoristas and their APRA allies in Congress

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