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Unrest leads to Panamericana takeover

Legal challenges kept Delgado Parker away from station

LIMA — More than 50 armed police officers helped the former owner of Peru’s Panamericana Television-Canal 5 retake control of his net after years of legal battles.

Genaro Delgado Parker took control of the net Feb. 21, accompanied by his lawyer and a phalanx of police officers who used teargas to cleared out protesting employees.

Delgado Parker, whose father founded Panamericana in the early 1950s, has been trying to regain control of the network since the late ’90s. A judge ruled in his favor 14 months ago, but ongoing legal challenges have prolonged the resolution of the case.

The net’s top staff immediately blamed the government for favoring Parker, saying he had a deal with President Alejandro Toledo.

Premier Luis Solari rejected the charge, saying, “The government does not meddle in any judicial cases.”

Panamericana’s major anchors, including Monica Delta, who heads the top-rated Sunday news program “Panorama,” and press director Fernando Viana resigned in protest.

Viana, a one-time ally of Toledo, said he would travel to Washington, D.C., to file a complaint with the Organization of American States.

In addition to his new post at Panamericana, Delgado Parker owns Global Television-Canal 13.

The changes at Panamericana come less than a week after America Television-Canal 4, switched hands.

The new owners, a consortium formed by the Peruvian dailies El Comercio and La Republica and Colombia’s Caracol Group, bought 55% of America Television for $22 million.