Saturday, January 22, 2011

‘My colleague was a Russian spy’

ft.com

For eight years I worked with one of the Russian spies arrested in the US last summer. I am an investigative journalist, and yet I had no clue.

I met Vicky Peláez in 2002 when, according to the FBI, she was already working for the Russian Federation. She had emigrated from Peru to the US in the mid-1980s with her husband, and got a job on El Diario La Prensa, New York’s largest Spanish-language newspaper. That’s where we met, after I started work there as a reporter. She was a columnist, well-known for her anti-American views and her support of radical movements in Latin America – some colleagues nicknamed her la Talibana.

But apart from her political activism, she just looked like a typical New York suburban mom in her fifties. When she wasn’t talking about politics, we chatted about her two sons, one of whom was a classical pianist; her two schnauzers; how expensive the city was or how to lose weight. She was a terrific cook who loved to make ceviche.

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