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22 April 2009

We're back! Did you miss us? / Sendero Luminoso = Shining Path bounces back / Lori Berenson / Túpac Amaru

Almost entirely because they are about 3776 miles / 6076 kilometers from me, and not likely ever to drop by, Shining Path/Sendero Luminoso has been a guerrilla terrorist Non-State Actor I have developed a soft spot for over the years. In a world much given over to Tedium, Boredom and Colorlessness, Shining Path has provided much toxic non-boring illumination.

If you are wondering about their position on the political spectrum, they are a bit to the Left of Whoopee. They are Maoists, hard-core, all the way.

They are thought to have been founded and led by a university philosophy professor, Abimael Guzmán (dissertation: "The Kantian Theory of Space").

I'll try to find you their website.

archived Sendero Luminoso website
last updated 1998

FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo / Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army) had a website, but I can't connect with it tonight. It's tough getting the word out to the Web from jungle HQ, but keep trying THIS, it could come alive again.

You can read The Other Side of various political and military situations in Colombia on FARC's website, in Spanish and a pretty respectable English translation. It is FARC's fundamental position that FARC is fundamentally misunderstood and misrepresented in and by the world media.

Down below, a communique en español from Peru's other left-wing paramilitary Non-State Actor, Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.

Back in the day when Sendero Luminoso broke out of the philosophy department and into the coca-producing regions of the Andes/Cordillera, armed to the teeth with rifles and car bombs, they triggered a reaction by the Peruvian government which remains a High Point in Police/Military State Repression to this day. (And the competition for this title is stiff in Latin America.)

If you are ever arrested, jailed and charged with a very serious crime, and finally you are taken in shackles to Your Day In Court, and you look up and the judge is wearing a black hood with narrow eyeslits --

Well, this was the judiciary of Peru which took care of accused Shining Path members, sympathizers, collaborators, second cousins, babysitters, barbers, occasional romantic partners, next-door neighbors, etc. If you'd ever thought about Shining Path or Túpac Amaru or Karl Marx or Mao Zedong or Immanuel Kant, the judge in the black hood would now decide your fate, and capital punishment was on the table.

The trials, of course, were secret and closed to all, and the accused had no lawyer advocate. If you were there, you were guilty, and the only business to consider was executing you or imprisoning you in some very dark, nasty oubliette for a few decades.

A hooded, no-name judge gave a young American woman, Lori Berenson, first Life, later reduced to 20 years. She was accused of knowingly aiding Túpac Amaru, a charge she denies. In 2008, she gave birth to her first child in prison.

Committee to Free Lori Berenson

Reuters (UK newswire)
Friday 17 April 2009

Peru to boost army spending
after rebel attacks

* Peru vows to increase military spending to beat rebels

* Army has suffered setbacks in coca-growing region

by Terry Wade

LIMA, April 17 (Reuters) -- Peru's government on Friday vowed to boost military spending to fortify its efforts to retake a coca-growing region where rebels have handed the army deadly setbacks.

Some legislators have been demanding more military spending as Shining
Path guerrillas maintain control of the coca-rich Ene and Apurimac valleys in south-central Peru despite an army offensive launched last summer.

The Andean nation is the world's No. 2 cocaine producer.

"We don't want to minimize the problem like in decades past -- it is very serious," Defense Minister Antero Flores Araoz told Congress. "We recognize there have been shortcomings."

Lawmakers questioned Flores and three other members of President Alan Garcia's Cabinet about how the government will respond to setbacks against the rebels. The ministers pledged to boost military spending but did not give specific figures.

They said the army needs more than the 134 million soles ($43,000,000) budgeted in 2009 for operations in the coca-rich region, which is known as VRAE. They did not say how much extra spending an overhauled security plan would require.

The army has faced 11 rebel ambushes in coca-growing regions this year that have exposed problems such as shortages in troops, food supplies,
weapons and intelligence gathering.

It is having such a hard time recruiting troops that it enlisted 149 teenagers younger than the statutory minimum age of 18, drawing criticism from human rights groups.

At least 30 soldiers have died since August when the government launched an offensive in the VRAE, where a small but growing band of 600 Shining Path communist guerrillas runs drugs.

The ministers tried to blame Garcia's predecessor, Alejandro Toledo, for slashing military spending after he took office in 2001. At the time, Peru was emerging from a long civil war, and Toledo wanted to rein in a military that had nearly wiped out the Shining Path but was overrun with allegations of corruption and human rights abuses.

"We want a plan that includes perfecting the state's programs for intelligence, budget management, alternative develop strategies and
financing," Yehude Simon, Garcia's chief of staff, told lawmakers.


Garcia's plan for the coca-planting region includes sending the army to capture rebels but also having the government build schools and hospitals in these poverty-stricken areas that have missed out on a wave of foreign investment in Peru.

The Shining Path has shown that it can buy allegiances in towns where
many families depend on planting coca for income. But some children join the army to escape poverty.

"How is it possible that a 17-year-old boy be sent to a conflict zone?" Congressman Juvenal Silva asked about a poor teenager killed last week when troops were ambushed by rebels.

Opposition leader Ollanta Humala, a former army officer, said Garcia's strategy is flawed because the Shining Path has abandoned its Maoist ideological struggle and embraced the lucrative drug trade.

The Shining Path almost toppled the government, then nearly collapsed after its leaders were caught in the early 1990s.

"They are no longer trying to take power. They aren't a threat to the state or the rule of law, so this is a job for the police, not the army," Humala, a leftist who is expected to run for president in 2011, said at a separate news conference.

(Additional reporting by Teresa Cespedes, Marco Aquino and Dana Ford; Editing by Will Dunham)

- 30 -

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Abimael Guzmán

Leader of the Shining Path
Succeeded by Óscar Ramírez

Born 3 December 1934 (1934-12-03) (age 74), Arequipa, Peru
Communist Party of Peru - Shining Path
Spouse: Elena Iparraguirre
Residence: Callao Naval Base

Manuel Rubén Abimael Guzmán Reynoso (born 3 December 1934), also known by the nom de guerre Presidente Gonzalo (English: President Gonzalo), a former professor of philosophy, was the leader of the Shining Path during the Maoist insurgency known as the internal conflict in Peru.

Shining Path had been active in Peru since the late 1970s and began what it called "the armed struggle" on 17 May 1980. Wanted on charges of terrorism and treason, Guzmán was captured by the Peruvian government in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

He is currently incarcerated at the Callao naval base, near the city of Lima, Peru. While the activity of the insurgency actually increased shortly after Guzmán's capture [citation needed], it has declined in the years following. It has been criticized for its violence against peasants, trade union organizers, and elected officials, which were deemed by the group to be collaborating with the Peruvian state.

"Shining Path" is on the U.S. Department of State's "Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations" list.[1] The United Kingdom, the European Union, and Peru likewise regard Shining Path as a terrorist group and prohibit providing funding or other financial support.

[image] Maoism
Chinese poster featuring Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao above the
caption "Long live Marxism-Leninism and Maoism"

Early life

Guzmán was born in Mollendo, a port town in the province of Islay, in the region of Arequipa, about 1000 km (620 miles) south of Lima. He was the illegitimate son of a well-off merchant, the winner of the national lottery who had six children by three different women.

Guzmán's mother, Berenice Reynoso, died when he was only five years old. [citation needed] From 1939 to 1946 Guzmán lived with his mother's family. After 1947 he lived with his father and his father's wife in the city of Arequipa, where he studied at a private Catholic secondary school. At the age of 19 he became a student at the Social Studies department of San Agustín National University, in Arequipa. His classmates at the university later described him as shy, disciplined, obsessive, and ascetic.

Increasingly attracted by Marxism, his political thinking was influenced by the book Seven Essays on the Interpretation of the Peruvian Reality of José Carlos Mariátegui, the founder of the Communist Party of Peru.

At Arequipa, Guzmán completed bachelor degrees in philosophy and law. His dissertations were entitled "The Kantian Theory of Space" and "The
Bourgeois Democratic State." In 1962, Guzmán was recruited as a professor of philosophy by the rector of San Cristóbal of Huamanga University in Ayacucho, a city in the central Peruvian Andes. The rector was Dr. Efraín Morote Best, an anthropologist who some believe later became the true intellectual leader of the "Shining Path movement." Encouraged by Morote, Guzmán studied Quechua, the language spoken by Peru's indigenous population, and became increasingly active in left-wing political circles. He attracted several like-minded young academics committed to bringing about revolution in Peru. Guzmán was arrested twice during the 1970s because of his participation in violent riots in the city of Arequipa against the government of presidents Velasco Alvarado and Belaunde Terry. He visited the People's Republic of China for the first time in 1965. After serving as the head of personnel for San Cristóbal of Huamanga University, Guzmán left the institution in the mid-1970s and went underground.

In the 1960s, the Peruvian Communist Party splintered over ideological
and personal disputes. Guzmán, who had taken a pro-Chinese rather than
pro-Soviet line, emerged as the leader of the faction which came to be known as the "Shining Path" (Mariátegui wrote once: "Marxism-Leninism is the shining path of the future"). He adopted the nom de guerre President Gonzalo and began advocating a peasant-led revolution on the Maoist model. His followers declared Guzmán, who cultivated anonymity, to be the "Fourth Sword of Communism" (after Marx, Lenin, and Mao). In his political declarations, Guzmán praised Mao's development of Lenin's theses regarding the role of imperialism in propping up the bourgeois capitalist system. He claimed that imperialism ultimately "creates disruption and is unsuccessful, and it will end up in ruins in the next 50 to 100 years". Guzmán applied this criticism not only to U.S. imperialism, but also to what he termed the "social-imperialism" of the Soviet Union.

In February 1964 he married Augusta la Torre,[2] who died under unclear circumstances in 1989. It has been rumored that she was murdered by Elena Iparraguirre, Guzmán's 2nd wife, with his complicity. Both have refused to talk about La Torre's fate since their imprisonment. In the fall of 2006, while in prison, Guzmán proposed to Iparraguirre, one of his long-time lieutenants who is also serving a life sentence in a separate prison. The couple have not announced a wedding date.[1]

The "People's War"

The Shining Path movement was at first largely circumscribed to academic circles in Peruvian universities. In the late 1970s, however, the movement developed into a guerrilla group centered around Ayacucho. In May 1980, the group launched its war against the government of Perú by burning the ballot boxes in Chuschi, a village near Ayacucho, in an effort to disrupt the first democratic elections in the country since 1964. Shining Path eventually grew to control vast rural territories in central and southern Peru and achieved a presence even in the outskirts of Lima, where it staged numerous attacks. The purpose of Shining Path's campaign was to demoralize and undermine the government of Perú in order to create a situation conducive to a violent coup which would put its leaders in power. The Shining Path targeted not only the army and police, but also
government employees at all levels, other leftist militants such as members of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), workers who did not participate in the strikes organized by the group, peasants who cooperated with the government in any way (including by voting in
democratic elections), and ordinary middle-class inhabitants of Perú's main cities.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission later estimated that the resulting conflict led to the deaths of some 70,000 people, approximately half of them at the hands of the Shining Path and a third at the hands of the state. [2]

Initially Guzmán attempted to win over the support of citizens by punishing corrupt government officials and other unpopular leaders.

However Shining Path's increasingly brutal methods together with strictly imposed curfews, the prohibition of alcohol and an overall sense of insecurity and fear lead to an increased popular reaction against the communist party. Eventually Guzmán's plan backfired as rural militia or "rondas" rallied support for the military against Shining Path. The very peasants Guzmán sought to defend had turned against the Shining Path. This resulted in a cyclical state of violence in which Maoist guerillas embarked in ruthless punitive expeditions against Peruvian civilians living in the Andean region.

In 1983, 69 people (including women and children) from the highland town
of Lucanamarca were tortured and murdered by the Shining Path in what
became known as the Lucanamarca massacre.

Abimael's image as a dispassionate murderer became widespread after he
moved against the city of Lima. After a series of bombings and selective assassinations the whole nation was shocked when a car bomb exploded in one of Lima's busiest commercial districts on Tarata Street, thus causing many casualties and enormous material losses. To this day, Guzmán denies responsibility for the bombing by claiming that it was a "deplorable mistake."

The movement promoted the writings of Guzmán, called Gonzalo Thought, a new "theoretical understanding" that built upon Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism whereby he declared Maoism as a "third and higher stage of Marxism," having defined Maoism as "people's war." In 1989, Guzmán
declared that the Shining Path (which he referred to as the "Communist
Party of Peru") had progressed from waging a people's war to waging a "war of movements." He further argued that this was a step towards achieving "strategic equilibrium" in the near future, based on Maoist theories of waging people's war. Guzmán claimed that such an equilibrium would manifest itself by ungovernability under the "old order." When that moment arrived, Guzmán believed that Shining Path would be ready to move on to its "strategic offensive."

Theodore Dalrymple has written that "the worst brutality I ever saw was that committed by Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) in Peru, in the days when it seemed possible that it might come to power. If it had, I think its massacres would have dwarfed those of the Khmer Rouge. As a doctor, I am accustomed to unpleasant sights, but nothing prepared me for what I saw in Ayacucho, where Sendero first developed under the sway of a professor of philosophy, Abimael Guzmán."[3]


In 1992, during the first administration of President Alberto Fujimori, the National Directorate Against Terrorism (DINCOTE) began casing several residences in Lima because agents suspected that terrorists were using them as safehouses. One of those residences, in the upper-class neighborhood of Surco, had been operating as a ballet studio. The DINCOTE operatives routinely searched the garbage taken out from the house. The house was supposedly inhabited by only one person, the dance teacher Maritza Garrido Lecca, but it was soon noticed that the household produced more garbage than one person could account for. Furthermore, agents found discarded tubes of cream for the treatment of psoriasis, an ailment that Guzmán was known to have.

On 12 September 1992, an elite unit of the DINCOTE raided the Surco residence. On the second floor of the house, they found and arrested Guzmán and eight others, including Laura Zambrano and Elena Iparraguirre, Guzmán's female companion. Ironically Abimael Guzmán had been conducting a savage war from the comforts of a luxurious upper-
class Lima residence. (This episode inspired Nicholas Shakespeare's novel "The Dancer Upstairs").

At the time of capture, the police seized Guzmán's computer, in which
they found a very detailed register of his armed forces and the weapons each regiment, militia and support base had in each region of the country. Guzmán had recorded that, in 1990, the Shining Path had 23,430 members armed with approximately 235 revolvers, 500 rifles and 300 other items of military hardware such as grenades. Guzmán was later exhibited publicly in a cage with a black and white striped uniform to the relief of millions of Peruvians. The actions of Shining Path lingered even after Guzmán's capture.

Trial and imprisonment

Guzmán was tried by a court of hooded military judges under provisions of the anti-terrorism laws adopted by Fujimori's government. The idea of this was to protect the judges' lives for Shining Path was remembered for brutal retaliation against judges who convicted their members. After a three-day trial, Guzmán was sentenced to life imprisonment and incarcerated at the San Lorenzo Island naval base, in Callao, the port of Lima, where he remains currently. Subsequently, he is said to have negotiated with a presidential advisor at the time, Vladimiro Montesinos, in order to receive some benefits in exchange for helping the Peruvian government put an end to the Shining Path's militant activities. Guzmán appeared several times on Peruvian television and in 1993 he publicly declared "peace" with the Peruvian government. This declaration split the Shining Path and raised questions about the organization's future. About 6,000 guerrillas within the party accepted it as a sign of defeat and surrendered.[3]

Others held that it was either a forgery or an insincere statement made under duress.

Although there is little doubt that Guzmán was indeed the leader of the Shining Path, more than 5,000 individuals presented an appeal to Peru's Constitutional Court in 2003 asking that the verdicts against more than 1800 other prisoners convicted of terrorism, including Guzmán, be voided. The court agreed, declaring that the military trials had been unconstitutional and ordering new trials before civilian courts. The new trials began in 2003. Since then, more than 400 prisoners who had been found guilty by military courts have been freed.

Guzmán's re-trial was scheduled to begin on 5 November 2004. The international press was held in a sound-proof chamber and all media was banned from observing the trial after the Shining Path cadre turned their backs on the judges and delivered a revolutionary salute to the media gallery. The only words Guzmán spoke in the presence of the international press were "Long live the Communist Party of Peru! Glory to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! Glory to the Peruvian people! Long live the heroes of the people’s war!" After he made this statement, the courtroom microphones were silenced and the press was unable to hear any of the proceedings that followed. The trial resumed on 12 November. No reporters were allowed to observe the new proceedings but two more of the judges subsequently recused themselves. Guzmán's third trial began in September 2005 and was opened and closed amid a media blackout. No reporters were allowed to attend. On 13 October 2006, Guzmán was sentenced to life in prison on charges of aggravated terrorism.[4]

He is currently incarcerated in Callao in one of four subterranean cells. His neighbours include Víctor Polay, leader of the
Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, and, ironically, Vladimiro Montesinos, the former head of the National Intelligence Service under President Alberto Fujimori. [5]


Lori Helene Berenson (born November 13, 1969) is a U.S. citizen currently serving a 20-year prison term in Peru for unlawful collaboration with a terrorist organization, specifically the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, an organization which had committed numerous attacks in attempting to overthrow the government of Peru.

She has been imprisoned since 1995.

In Spanish-language news reports and her trial documents, because of Spanish naming customs, Berenson is often referred to as Lori Berenson Mejía or Lori Berenson Kobeloff.


Berenson was born in New York City to Rhoda Kobeloff Berenson and Mark
Berenson, both college professors. After dropping out of MIT, she went to El Salvador and worked for the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), and as secretary and translator for Leonel González, a leader of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN).[1] FMLN was at that time an umbrella organization associated with various leftist guerilla organizations and the Salvadoran Communist Party and working to overthrow the Salvadoran military dictatorship. FMLN transitioned during the peace process to a become a legitimate and legal political party.

After political reconciliation came to the area she moved to Peru.

Activities in Peru and arrest

This section is missing citations or needs footnotes. Please help add inline citations to guard against copyright violations and factual inaccuracies. (January 2009)

In Peru she met members of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), a group that had committed numerous insurgent attacks in Peru
including kidnapping, bank robberies, extortion, hostage taking, and
assassinations. Berenson, however, denies knowing that they were MRTA

Berenson rented a large house in Lima in an upscale neighborhood. Much of the house was later used as a safe house by MRTA operatives.

Berenson later claimed to be unaware of the connection and to have moved out some months prior to her arrest.

With no training or publication record as a journalist, she obtained press credentials for herself and her photographer to the Congress of Peru. Berenson represented that she was writing articles on the effect of poverty on women in Perú for two now defunct left-leaning New York publications, Modern Times and Third World Viewpoint. Her photographer, Nancy Gilvonio, was actually the wife of Néstor Cerpa, the MRTA second-in-command — although Berenson claims she was unaware of this connection and claimed that she knew her only as a Bolivian photographer. Berenson had entered the main Congress building with Gilvonio several times during 1995 to interview members of Congress.

Gilvonio provided the information she collected to the MRTA including detailed information on the floor plans of Congress, its security and members. The plan was for the MRTA to invade the Congress building, kidnap the legislators, and overthrow the legitimate government.

On November 30, 1995, Berenson and Gilvonio were arrested on a public bus in downtown Lima. Berenson was accused of collaborating with the MRTA, which had been officially classified as a terrorist group by the
government. Berenson was seized from a public bus hours before an all-night siege of the MRTA safe house which had been rented by Berenson, in which three MRTA guerrillas and one police officer died and 14 guerrillas were captured. The safe house was found to contain an
"arsenal of weapons."[1] Diagrams, notes, weapons, and police and military uniforms found at the safe house suggested that the group was
planning to seize members of Congress and trade them for captured guerrillas. Police also seized a floor plan of the Congress building from the safe house. After being taken to the house siege, in which Berenson claims she was used as a human shield by the Peruvian police, both women were taken to the National Counter Terrorist Division of Peru.

On January 8, 1996, the DINCOTE (División Nacional Contra el Terrorismo, or National Counter Terrorist Division) hosted a news event in which they showed Berenson to the press. At the event, she stated that the MRTA was not a criminal terrorist organization (despite its violent record) but instead a "revolutionary movement."


In accordance with anti-terrorism legislation enacted during a state of emergency declared by President Alberto Fujimori, Berenson was tried in a closed courtroom by a military tribunal on a charge of treason against the fatherland. This charge did not require Peruvian citizenship as an element. The proceedings were conducted by a hooded military judge who spoke through a voice distortion apparatus (judges often concealed their identities to protect themselves from reprisal killings). On January 11, 1996, six weeks after her arrest and three days after her presentation to the media, Berenson was sentenced to life in prison. An appeal lodged against the conviction was dismissed on January 30.

In 2000 many of Peru's anti-terrorism laws were declared unconstitutional, and about 2,000 cases were overturned and retrials in civilian courts ordered. Berenson's case retrial was by a three judge court during a months-long trial beginning on August 28, 2000.

On June 20, 2001, she was sentenced to 20 years, with consideration given for time already served under her prior conviction, for the lesser crime of "collaboration with a terrorist organization."

Efforts to free Berenson

After her arrest, Berenson’s parents initiated a campaign to free their daughter. Famous left-wing activists such as Ramsey Clark and Noam Chomsky have participated in the campaign.

Over the years, there have been numerous efforts made on behalf of Berenson, stemming from concerns she did not obtain a fair trial or was not receiving humanitarian treatment, or simply to obtain her release. Various endeavors have come from Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.[2][3][4] According to the website set up to promote her release, Members of Congress have visited Berenson, spoken with Peruvian leadership about her case, and sponsored letters of support for Berenson within the Congress.[5][6]

According to her release website, in 1998, Amnesty International issued a press release declaring Berenson to be a political prisoner [7] Amnesty criticized the Peruvian anti-terrorism legislation, stating that, "it is unacceptable for hundreds of political prisoners like Berenson not to be able to exercise their basic human right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal."

On July 21, 1999, the United States House of Representatives voted against an amendment to express the sense of Congress that the U.S. should increase support to democracy and human rights activists in Peru, and that it should use all diplomatic means to get the government of Peru to release Berenson. The vote failed 189 to 234.[8]

In December 1996, the MRTA seized the Japanese Ambassador's residence
in Lima and demanded that MRTA prisoners be released in exchange for the release of their hostages. Berenson was third on a list of MRTA prisoners. After 126 days, the standoff ended in a daring, well-planned raid by the Peruvian special forces in which all hostage takers were killed. Two military personnel and one of the 72 hostages also died.[9]

Columns have been written for American newspapers, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, have written editorials calling the US to pressure Peru to free Berenson.[10][11] Other writers, however, have taken the contrary position. Her parents had a short independent film made in protest against her earlier military trial, and her story has been reported on several top television news shows.

In a radio interview recorded in prison in 2001, Berenson alleged that she might have originally avoided prison if she had been willing to denounce MRTA as a terrorist organization. This she refused to do on principle, she stated, making a distinction between "terrorism" and what she described as MRTA's legitimate "revolutionary" action.

In 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States voted 7 - 0, to condemn the system under which Berenson was tried. Alleging violations of the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Peru is a party, Berenson's case was referred to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. On November
25, 2004 the Inter-American Court upheld the conviction and sentence by a vote of six to one. The Court did condemn the judicial system under which Berenson was originally tried, and also condemned Berenson's earlier incarceration at Yanamayo Prison.[12][13]

While many of Berenson's supporters condemned the Court's ruling, Amnesty International conceded that she had finally had a fair hearing. Her parents continue to work for her release and their website has provided regular updates on Berenson's situation.


Berenson spent her early years in prison at facilities high in the Andes, the first of which the Inter-American Court ruled is operated inhumanely.[12][13] The Yanamayo prison where Berenson was initially held for several years lies at 3,650 metres (12,000 ft) above sea level near Lake Titicaca in the Puno Region, in southern Peru.

On 7 October 1998 Berenson was moved to another prison in Socabaya. She remained there until 31 August 2000, when she was transferred to the women's prison of Chorrillos in Lima. Then, on 21 December 2001, she was relocated to the maximum-security Huacariz Penitentiary in Cajamarca, 560 kilometres (350 mi) north of Lima.

In February 2002, Berenson took part in a 25-day hunger strike of "political prisoners" in an attempt to influence the government of Peru to improve prison conditions and revise its anti-terrorism laws. [14] The strike ended without reaching its goals. Less than a year later, Peru revised many of those laws.[15]

In October 2003, Berenson married Aníbal Apari Sánchez, 40, whom she had met in 1997 when they were both incarcerated at Yanamayo prison.
Apari Sánchez was convicted of being a member of the MRTA. When released in 2003 on conditional liberty (parole) in Lima, his travel was restricted. Due to this, he was not present at the wedding in Cajamarca and had to be represented by his father. Apari Sánchez is now a practicing attorney in Lima and directs a non-governmental organization (NGO) that assists individuals formerly imprisoned on charges of assisting or being members of the MRTA in their rehabilitation into society. He is also co-founder of a political party, Patria Libre, that intends to participate in the 2011 national elections.[16]

From 2003 through 2008 Berenson worked in and co-managed the bakery at Huacariz prison which served the inmate population and the Cajamarca

Now, through her website page[17] entitled "The Writings of Lori Berenson," Berenson issues commentaries including advocacy against the
policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the war in Iraq, and alleged maltreatment and torture of prisoners.

Berenson's commentaries on capitalism, globalism, and alleged environmental destruction caused by mining companies have also been
published.[18][19][20] In addition, her commentaries are read on
Prison Radio.

On 16 September 2008, her father announced that she was pregnant with her first child.[21] In January 2009, Berenson was transferred to a hospital in Lima for medical care relating to a complicated pregnancy.

Her sentence will be completed in 2015 and she will be released from prison and deported from Peru at that time if she commits no further crimes. She is eligible for parole after fifteen years, in 2010.


Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement

This article is about the Peruvian guerrilla group. For the Uruguayan guerrilla group, see Tupamaros.

Active Early 1980s – 1997
Country Peru
Allegiance Marxism-Leninism
Role Guerrilla warfare
Garrison/HQ Unknown
Nickname Emerretistas

"With the masses and the weapons,
fatherland or death, we will win"


"I don't have patience to take all this!"

Equipment Small arms
Engagements Japanese embassy hostage crisis
Notable commanders
Néstor Cerpa Cartolini "Evaristo" or "Hemigidio Huertas" (deceased)
Víctor Polay "Rolando" (imprisoned)
Face of Túpac Amaru II above a mace and rifle forming a V
Initials MRTA

The Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (Spanish: Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru, abbreviated MRTA) was a communist guerrilla movement active in Peru from the early 1980s to 1997 and one of the main actors in the internal conflict in Peru. It was led by Victor Polay Campos (comrade "Rolando") until his incarceration and by Néstor Cerpa Cartolini (comrade "Evaristo") until his death in 1997.

The MRTA took its name in homage to Túpac Amaru II, an 18th-century rebel leader who was himself named after his ancestor Túpac Amaru, the last indigenous leader of the Inca people. MRTA was considered a terrorist organization by the Peruvian government. At the height of its strength, it had several hundred active members. Its stated goals were to establish a communist state and rid the country of all imperialist elements.[1]

The MRTA originated in 1980 from the merging of the Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Socialist Party and the militant faction of the Revolutionary Left Movement, MIR El Militante (MIR-EM).[citation needed] The former gathered several ex-members of the Peruvian armed forces that participated in the leftist dictatorial government of Juan Velasco Alvarado (1968-1975), and the latter represented a subdvision of the Revolutionary Left Movement, a Castroist guerrilla faction which was defeated in 1965. The MRTA attempted to ally with other leftist organizations following the first democratic elections in Peru.

The first action by the MRTA occurred on May 31st, 1982, when five of its members, including Victor Polay Campos and Jorge Talledo Feria (members of the Central Committee) robbed a bank in La Victoria, Lima.

During the holdup, Talledo was killed by friendly fire and became the first loss of the movement.

Peru's counterterrorist program diminished the group's ability to carry out terrorist attacks, and the MRTA suffered from infighting as well as violent clashes with Maoist rival Shining Path, the imprisonment or deaths of senior leaders, and loss of leftist support.

ln 2001, several MRTA members remained imprisoned in Bolivia.[1]

On July 6, 1992, MRTA fighters staged a raid on the town of Jaen, Peru, a jungle town located in the northern department of Cajamarca.

One policeman, Eladio Garcia Tello, responded to the calls for help. After an intense shootout, the guerrillas were driven out of the town. Eladio Garcia perished in the firefight. July 6th is now memorialized as the "Day of Heroes" (Dia de los Heroes) in Jaen, in honor of Garcia.[citation needed]

In a case that attracted international attention, Lori Berenson, a former MIT student and U.S. socialist activist living in Lima, was arrested on November 30, 1995, by the police and accused of collaborating with the MRTA. She was subsequently sentenced by a military court to life imprisonment (later reduced to twenty years by a civilian court).

Its last major action resulted in the 1997 Japanese embassy hostage crisis. In December 1996, fourteen MRTA members occupied the Japanese
Ambassador's residence in Lima, holding 72 hostages for more than four months. Under orders from then-President Alberto Fujimori, armed forces stormed the residence in April 1997, rescuing all but one of the remaining hostages and killing all fourteen MRTA militants.

Fujimori was publicly acclaimed for the decisive action, but the affair was later tainted by subsequent revelations that at least three, and perhaps as many as eight, of the MRTistas were summarily executed after surrendering. This operation was thought to have been supported by electronic intercept data from U.S. intelligence agencies.[citation needed]

In September 2003, four Chilean defendants were retried and convicted of membership in the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement and participation in an attack on the Peru–North American Cultural Institute and a kidnapping-cum-murder in 1993.[citation needed]

Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission determined that the group was responsible for 1.5% of the deaths investigated. In its final findings published in 2003, the Commission observed:

Unlike Shining Path, and like other armed Latin American organizations with which it maintained ties, the MRTA claimed responsibility for its actions, its members used uniforms or other identifiers to differentiate themselves from the civilian population, it abstained from attacking the unarmed population and at some points showed signs of being open to peace negotiations. Nevertheless, MRTA also engaged in criminal acts; it resorted to assassinations, such as in the case of General Enrique López Albújar, the taking of hostages and the systematic practice of kidnapping, all crimes that violate not only personal liberty but the international humanitarian law that the MRTA claimed to respect. It is important to highlight that MRTA also assassinated dissidents within its own ranks.[2]

On March 22, 2006 Víctor Polay, the guerrilla leader of the MRTA, was found guilty by a Peruvian court on nearly 30 crimes committed during the late 1980s and early 1990s.[3]


Pronunciamiento del MRTA
sobre la muerte de Raúl Reyes

Fecha: 2008 03 13
Grupo: Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA)
País: Peru
Categoria : Comunicado
Logo del Grupo:
Ficheros del Artículo:

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por la vida, por los buenos, matad
a la muerte, matad a los malos!
¡Hacedlo por la libertad de todos,
del explotado, del explotador,
por la paz indolora -la sospecho
cuando duermo al pie de mi frente
y más cuando circulo dando voces-
y hacedlo, voy diciendo,
por el analfabeto a quien escribo,
por el genio descalzo y su cordero,
por los camaradas caídos,
sus cenizas abrazadas al cadáver de un camino!

Cesar Vallejo.

Compañeros del secretariado de las FARC-EP; esta es una de esas comunicaciones que nos duele redactar. Vuela últimamente la noticia que da cuenta de la supuesta muerte de Raúl Reyes, de nuestro gigante hermano latinoamericano. Dicen pues, en resumen, que habrían matado a
Raúl. No lo creemos y no lo creeremos jamás.

Raúl es y será siempre la esperanza indomable de un pueblo. Y esta no puede ser acribillada por una bala, ni por un bombardeo. Raúl es y será la dulce furia de una sociedad que aspira a vivir con justicia y en paz. Raúl es Colombia y su palpitar; es y será el vigoroso pulmón en la larga marcha de todo un pueblo constructor de un sueño tan mágico, como realizable.

Hombres como Raúl, crecen y se agigantan tanto que no viven ya, ni se les puede rastrear solamente en un cuerpo. La oligarquía Colombiana tendrá que seguir persiguiéndolo.

¡Camaradas! Honor a Raúl. Honor a los caídos con el y junto a el. Es decir, abrazados al sueño de la nueva Colombia. Y esa nueva Colombia es y será el fruto de un doloroso parto. Uribe ha quedado solo en el contexto latinoamericano. Acompañado tristemente por el triste de Alan García. Un nuevo panorama político se vislumbra en nuestra América. Ha vencido Raúl.

El MRTA, inclina sus banderas frente a la vida del comandante Raúl Reyes, “voluntario por la vida” como diría nuestro Cesar Vallejo.

Sindicalista el, como nuestro Néstor Cerpa. Inmortales ambos. En esta carta reciban cada uno de ustedes, miembros del secretariado, guerrilleras y guerrilleros farianos, el saludo y el abrazo de sus hermanos y compañeros Tupacamaristas. Cuando un revolucionario muere, ¡nunca muere!

No ha muerto Raúl. Han desatado sus sueños. Los mismos que ahora, galopan rebeldes por las hermosas –y algún día totalmente libres-tierras colombianas y latinoamericanas.



Dirección Estratégica


marry said...

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Vleeptron Dude said...

Hiya Marry --

... and I used to think my philosophy professors were so meek and mild and harmless and boring.

Who knew?

So who are you and where are you and what are you, and whatcha doin snoopin around for stuff about Sendero Luminoso and Tupac Amaru and Lori Berenson?

Alex said...

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Vleeptron Dude said...

Hery hi Alex,

Alas I am a little embarrassed to confess that "you guys" is just one guy, me.

What were you Googling about Peruvian Marxist guerrillas and Lori Berenson for? Who are you, what are you, where are you?

Like I said, I like Shining Path and Tupac Amaru because thery're 5000 miles away from me. I don't know how much I'd like them if they were doing this crap in New England.

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