Waiting for Those Rebels to Just Go Away

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LIMA: Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori is no longer the invisible man in the country's three-week old hostage crisis. After keeping a low profile for the past few weeks, Fujimori Tuesday toured a poor Lima neighborhood and visited a maximum security prison where a number of Tupac Amaru rebels are held. The appearances are designed to show that in spite of the crisis, the business of state goes on. Fujimori is preparing for an important visit next week from Ecuador's president, Abdala Bucaram. The two countries have long been involved in a bitter border war and the visit, the first for an Ecuadoran head of state, is seen as essential to establishing a lasting peace. Fujimori's return to public life is intended to show his government easily handling the hostage situation. So far, the Peruvian media seems to agree with him. Television stations no longer interrupt afternoon soap operas for live broadcasts of garbage pickups and food deliveries at the residence. But the President's public return has so far changed nothing at the home of Japan's ambassador to Peru, where rebels still hold 74 hostages.