Amnesty International on Peru

Chris, London 100423.2040 at
Mon Feb 5 00:43:32 MST 1996


From: lquispe at (Luis Quispe)
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 1996 22:30:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Amnesty International on Peru

 Christ and the intelligent readers of the list,


uh.. we seem to have a cultural/typographical communication problem here.

However let me express appreciation for your next point, and for the 
post on the same subject by Michael Luftmensch, which he copied to 
me because it seems it got lost in the missing digest 563. If 
our support colleagues are not able to reconstruct the digest in the 
next few days, I think we should repost Michael's article.


  The New Flag is preparing a detailed response to Amnesty International
  reports on Peru. We just need the final touches to bring it to your
  screen. In struggle,
  Luis Quispe, Editor.


>From my knowledge of the anti-apartheid struggle, I would say that the 
existence of an organisation like Amnesty International was in the long 
term a help, even though it was very disappointing that as a matter of 
principle they would not take up any cases on behalf of the ANC or PAC.

The solidarity movement had to get on with that ourselves, but it 
was still possible to make some quite broad alliances. The concert 
televised world wide for Nelson Mandela in captivity still on his 
seventieth birthday, felt like a major victory in putting pressure
on the apartheid regime, and its most loyal supporters, like Mrs Thatcher.

Unpolitical though you may feel it to be, it may be in your interests
to publicise just one human interest story of one supporter of 
SL  who has been unjustly treated. (Like the Berenson case copied to this

Much of the propaganda battle which got more intense during the period
of killings after the unbanning of the ANC, was about whether the 
violence of the oppressed was equivalent to the violence of the oppressors.
There is no doubt that the dying apartheid regime got a lot of hearing
for a time in manipulating the media with stories of "black on black 
violence". I would recommend you or those supportive of you, 
analyse carefully the sources of newsstories about Peru, and work out
a counter strategy.

At the same time I think the questions that are being put to you 
about revolutionary legality are legitimate. Justice is of course rough 
justice in a revolution. The opportunities to test evidence strictly
as to whether someone really is a spy on behalf of the regime before
taking executive action are very limited. In that sense
I agree with Paul that these decisions are matters of expediency.

How drastic that action should be, is a difficult question. It occurs
to me at this point, that Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo trained together
in the same law firm, and Tambo's leadership of the ANC through 
many years of exile, must have been a relevant factor in its extreme 
moderation in the face of atrocities.

(BTW in the exapansion of the use of the death penalty
in the USA since 1976, I wonder how confident any member of this list is,
that no innocent person has been executed - Amnesty International has 
an extremely long report on the USA, some of which, I think in fairness
should also be copied to this list.)

Many on this list will not be unsympathetic to the idea of people's war
if it looks as if it has a chance of success. Many could agree factually
with Mao Zedong that a revolution is not a dinner party, even if they 
are repelled by their experience of "Maoists". 

But nor should 
revolution be a massacre, and unpleasant though it may be for 
New Flag, some on this list have virtually accepted that second picture
of what has happened in Peru.

The truth almost certainly lies between the two.

I would also point out that this is a fast developing dynamic situation, 
and is not helpfully approached in terms of whether the PCP is 
wonderful or perfect in some sort of idealised way, or, the mirror image, 
a piece of "Shiny Shit". 

>From my browsings in ppn.peru I see Fujimoro and the international bankers
claim the war against Sendero Luminoso has been won. Unless that is 
totally true there will be resistance, regrouping and a summing up of 

The quality of the discussion on this list could to a tiny degree but still
to a real degree, have implications for this process, that people whether
sympathetic to the MRTA, SL or just human rights work, might like to 
take on board.

Chris B

PS I would like to emphasise how much I am ignorant on Peru. I am trying to 
learn. On one point I get repeatedly confused which may appear ridiculously 
elementary. Is Gonzalo the same as Guzman? Is it the Latin American custom 
of having three name, two of which are commonly used?

A short (two para?) sketch of either or both lives, if necessary from 
an overtly political point of view (by New Flag?) and a less committed
"factual" point of view (from someone else?) would be useful.

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