Vicky Pelaez

Vicky Pelaez

Journalist arrested in the US on charges of secret cooperation with foreign intelligence
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Vicky Pelaez
  2. Journalistic Career and Kidnapping
  3. Move to the United States
  4. Arrest and Accusations
  5. Controversial Arrest and Reactions
  6. Personal Life

Biography of Vicky Pelaez

Vicky Pelaez was a journalist who was arrested in the United States on charges of covertly collaborating with a foreign intelligence agency. She was born in Cusco, Peru, in 1956 and graduated from the University of San Marcos in Lima with a degree in journalism. In the early 1980s, Pelaez became one of the most prominent female journalists and television reporters in Peru. She worked as a journalist for La Prensa de Lima newspaper and as a news presenter for Frecuencia Latina, the second Peruvian TV channel. Known for her aggressive journalistic style, Pelaez was awarded the title of Best Television Journalist in Peru in 1983.

Vicky Pelaez

Journalistic Career and Kidnapping

In December 1984, Pelaez and her film crew were kidnapped by left-wing radicals from the "Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement" and held hostage for 17 hours. The captors demanded that the TV company broadcast their message, but it was ultimately not aired and only published in a leftist Peruvian newspaper. Despite the traumatic experience, Pelaez continued her career in journalism.

Move to the United States

In 1987, Pelaez moved to the United States and settled in the Bronx neighborhood of Yonkers, New York. She later obtained American citizenship. In 1988, she became a columnist for the Spanish-language New York newspaper El Diario La Prensa. Pelaez gained recognition for her articles criticizing the United States, including its foreign policy in Latin America, immigration legislation, and prison conditions. She spoke favorably of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and radical left-wing groups in Latin America. Pelaez's husband, Juan Lazaro, also shared similar views and expressed support for Peruvian Maoists in one of his articles.

Arrest and Accusations

On June 27, 2010, Pelaez and Lazaro were arrested in Yonkers on charges of covertly collaborating with Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service and money laundering. Similar accusations were made against nine other individuals, including Anna Chapman, Mikhail Semenko, Michael Zottoli, Donald Heathfield, and Patricia Mills. They were accused of attempting to obtain information about U.S. nuclear weapons, policies towards Iran, CIA officials, and congressmen. According to the investigation, Pelaez and Lazaro had been collaborating with Russian intelligence since at least 2000. They allegedly received money from Russian officials for spying and wrote spy materials using invisible ink. The investigation also revealed that the couple had a spy radio station in their home and discussed their collaboration with Russian intelligence. Lazaro even mentioned his intention to move to Siberia "when the war starts." Pelaez and Lazaro were arrested while returning home with their youngest son. On June 28, they were charged, and the court hearings began on July 1, 2010.

Controversial Arrest and Reactions

The press noted that Pelaez, Lazaro, and the other arrested individuals were accused of working covertly for a foreign intelligence agency rather than espionage since they did not acquire any classified information. The arrest of the suspected agents received negative reactions from the Russian Foreign Ministry. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, stated that the timing of the arrest was chosen with "particular elegance," referring to the improving Russian-American relations after President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the United States.

Personal Life

Pelaez and Lazaro had two sons, including Pelaez's son from a previous marriage, architect Waldomar Mariscal. After the arrest of his mother and stepfather, Mariscal claimed that the U.S. government was persecuting them for their political stance. He also mentioned their connection to Russia, which he attributed solely to their love for the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.