Revolutionary Worker #1011, June 20, 1999
The following is a new "fact sheet" from the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru (CSRP):
This misery is being challenged and fought by a revolutionary people's war led by the Communist Party of Peru-PCP (often called Sendero Luminoso or Shining Path). People led by the PCP rose up in 1980 and have been fighting a protracted armed struggle. Based mainly in the countryside, they have organized revolutionary base areas run by peasants, workers, and their allies from the middle classes. Their goal is to eventually take power nationwide and build a new society that serves Peru's people as a whole--instead of the wealthy elite and foreign (especially U.S.) capitalists who dominate Peru today.
The majority of Peru's people are Indian peasants who for generations have depended on the land for survival. But this land has been wrenched away from them through a legacy of domination--from the Spanish conquistadors of five centuries ago, to today's foreign exploiters, led by the U.S.
Three times the size of California, Peru has large expanses of agricultural land and a wealth of minerals including gold, copper, silver, zinc, lead, natural gas, and oil. Ocean fishing often yields over a million tons of fish per year. Yet people are starving.
Though many peasants have migrated to cities in search of work, a third of all Peruvians (eight million men, women and children) still live in the countryside, mainly in the Andean highlands and the forested river valleys of the eastern Andes. Many families, even those who own some land, must survive by laboring on larger farms, or by picking up odd jobs in mining, transport, and other services.
The program of the revolution is to seize all the land of the big landowners and foreign capitalists and distribute it among the peasants under a policy of "land to those who work it."
Cultural discrimination against the Indian peasants in Peru is a key feature of their oppression. Traditional indigenous clothing and languages are scorned by Peru's elite who view these as signs of ignorance and backwardness. This legacy of Spanish colonial prejudice is relied on and perpetuated in an attempt to justify the way peasants are cruelly exploited and oppressed today.
Women in Peru face particularly harsh and cruel treatment. Spanish feudal traditions of male domination and patriarchy remain an essential element of social relations-especially in the countryside.
In the revolutionary base areas of Peru's countryside, women live free of rape and abuse for the first time in centuries, and are on the front lines of leading and fighting the People's War.
Fujimori's government and his economic reforms are designed to serve the interests and needs of U.S. capitalists and a handful of big capitalists in Peru. A former World Bank official admits: "This is a good economy for 5 percent of Peruvians, so-so for 20 percent, and a disaster for everyone else ."
Peru's industry, including food and fish processing, metal and oil refining, and the manufacturing of textiles and clothing, remains underdeveloped offering few jobs. Most products are exported to richer countries like the U.S., leaving millions in Peru hungry and unemployed.
This kind of super-exploitation is the lifeblood of U.S. domination in Peru. That's why the Communist Party of Peru has declared that "sweeping away imperialist oppression, primarily Yankee," is a major objective of the revolution.
As the crisis in Peru grows, more and more people are unable to survive in the countryside and must travel to towns and cities in search of work. The capital city of Lima and its surrounding shantytowns are now home to about one third of Peru's 24 million people. Upon arrival they find more crisis: no jobs, and no services.
To enforce the current set-up responsible for these conditions in Peru, and in an attempt to defeat the advancing People's War, President Fujimori took dictatorial powers in 1992, backed up by his military and police. Brutal repression, systematic rape and torture of detainees, kangaroo courts, and other harsh measures designed by Fujimori and his U.S. advisors, have been utilized against the people's resistance.
In the face of all this, the Communist Party of Peru writes in a 1998 document:
"[The government's] dream was and still is to annihilate the People's War, but despite difficulties and setbacks the People's War is being maintained and advanced, routing reactionary military campaigns and counter-subversive operations... The People's War is the people's road to emancipation and the winning of a new society..."
SOURCES: 1. New York Times, 7/29/97 2. 1998 Unicef Report, 1996 figures 3. NYT, 4/27/97 4. LatinAmerica Press, 11/13/98 5. 1998 Unicef, 1997 fig. 6. Financial Times, 3/7/96 7. NACLA Report on the Americas, Jul/Aug 1996 8. Los Angeles Times, 4/11/93 9. NYT, 2/15/98 10. Chicago Tribune, 7/9/98 11. Peru Human Rights Report 12. LatinAmerica Press, 7/24/97 13. Latin American Weekly Report, 7/21/98 14. LatinAmerica Press, 1/29/98 15. Covert Action Quarterly, Spring 1997 16. NYT, 12/12/95 17. Reuters, 12/23/96 18. NYT, 6/10/97 19. Peru Human Rights Report
Contact the CSRP at: CSRP, Box 1246, Berkeley, CA 94701. Phone: 415-252-5786. Fax: 415-252-7414
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