Peru may ostensibly be a democracy, but the security forces continue to play a major role in politics, and Montesinos had long been viewed as the power behind Fujimori's throne. To understand exactly what has happened over the past week, it would help to know just how the videotape depicting him in what appears to be an act of bribery found its way into the hands of the opposition and onto television an apparent sting worthy of his own intelligence service's political dirty tricks. Observers will be closely watching Montesinos's movements, because while Fujimori also announced the disbanding of his intelligence service on Saturday, it's not yet clear whether the military man accepts that verdict. But Montesinos, whoíd been cashiered from the army in the Ď70s on suspicion of spying for the CIA, is widely disliked among Peruís officer corps, and may have antagonized it by systematically retiring those generals he perceived as enemies and replacing them with his own men. Itís unlikely, now, that the military will be rallying around Montesinos prompting Fujimori to go is more likely to be a means of getting rid of both a president whose lust for power had imperiled Peruís relations with its neighbors and with Washington, and dispatch his reviled intelligence chief in the bargain.
The reasons for Fujimoriís sudden departure remain murky, but of more immediate concern to Peruvians is the dangers that arise from the fact that he delivered an incomplete announcement. He said he'd quit, but not when and how. Pressure on the streets may grow for the presidentís immediate resignation, but right now thereís considerable uncertainty over how any transition would be managed. And that means Peru could be heading into a political vacuum something nature, and the military, tends to abhor.