Peru's Court of Injustice
Sentences Comrade Feliciano
Revolutionary Worker #1022, September 19, 1999
We received the following article from the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru (CSRP-US):
On August 30 a military court in Peru sentenced Oscar Ramirez Durand, known as Comrade Feliciano, to life in prison. Comrade Feliciano was taken prisoner by the Peruvian military on July 14 and charged with "treason to the nation."
Comrade Feliciano assumed responsibility for leading the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) after the 1992 capture of Chairman Gonzalo and other PCP leaders. The PCP initiated the People's War in 1980 and mobilized Peru's poor in armed struggle for liberation. Since the capture of Chairman Gonzalo, the PCP Central Committee has continued the People's War under difficult conditions. They have fought against the attacks of the U.S.-led counter-insurgency. And they have struggled against the Right Opportunist Line that emerged in the ranks of the party advocating a peace agreement to end the People's War. The "crime" of "treason to the nation" that Comrade Feliciano was charged with amounts to leading the people in a revolutionary war to overthrow the oppressive system and free Peru from U.S. imperialist domination.
The outrageous treatment of Comrade Feliciano by the Fujimori regime exposes the workings of the system of injustice in Peru that denies political prisoners their most basic rights. On the very day that Comrade Feliciano was captured, Fujimori publicly announced that Comrade Feliciano would receive a guilty verdict and a life sentence. Fujimori made a similar announcement before the trial of Chairman Gonzalo in 1992.
After his capture, Comrade Feliciano was turned over for interrogation to Vladimir Montesinos--a known CIA operative and the head of Peru's secret police, the National Intelligence Service (SIN). SIN is notorious for routinely torturing political prisoners. During this entire period, Comrade Feliciano has been kept incommunicado. He has not been seen in public except for the day he was "presented" to the reactionary press in a cage made of one-way mirrors. Reporters could see him, but he could not see outside. Loud music covered up anything he might say. Comrade Feliciano raised his fist in defiance.
Comrade Feliciano was then tried in secret at an undisclosed location by military judges. No press or other observers were allowed to witness this farce. The military tribunal was a "summary process" which, under Peru's legal system, means that no real evidence is necessary for conviction, and defendants have no opportunity to present a defense. According to some reports, Comrade Feliciano was assigned an army captain as his "lawyer"! Even if he had been allowed a real lawyer, the number of lawyers able to defend political prisoners is limited because of government repression. The Fujimori regime has imprisoned many lawyers who take on cases of revolutionaries and government opponents. Six lawyers were recently put on trial for "terrorism" because they practiced their profession by defending political prisoners. At least nine attorneys are currently locked up in Peru's dungeons for defending people accused of supporting the Maoist revolution.
Fujimori and the Human Rights Court
Just a month before Comrade Feliciano was captured, the Fujimori regime declared that it would no longer recognize the rulings of the Inter-American Human Rights Court (IAC). The IAC is an offshoot of the Organization of American States, which mainly serves as a tool for U.S. domination of Latin America. But, as a result of hard-fought legal battles and people's struggle, the IAC at times has issued some decisions in favor of those persecuted by repressive governments.
There are a number of cases against the Fujimori regime before the IAC. But the case that triggered the response from Fujimori was a ruling criticizing the Peruvian military court's conviction of four Chilean supporters of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). (The MRTA does not have a strategy of Maoist people's war, but they have carried out some armed actions against the government.) The IAC ruled that the MRTA supporters were denied a fair trial and should have a new trial. The Peruvian rulers were clearly afraid that accepting the IAC ruling could open the door for challenges by thousands of other prisoners who have been convicted through unjust tribunals.
In response, Fujimori declared that his regime would not only refuse to recognize the ruling--they were pulling out of the IAC's jurisdiction altogether. With the capture of Comrade Feliciano several weeks later, Fujimori became even more emboldened in declaring contempt for the IAC. The Peruvian Congress, which is under Fujimori's control, voted to re-institute secret military tribunals that had been suspended in October 1997.
Fujimori's withdrawal from the IAC exposes even more starkly that Peru's legal system is completely unjust and cannot stand any international scrutiny. It was a brazen admission that his regime needs to use--and will continue to use--secret military tribunals as a weapon against the People's War.
The U.S. and the Fujimori Regime
The U.S. government and OAS initially expressed some concern at Fujimori's decision to withdraw from the IAC. Keeping Peru and other countries of Latin America in the IAC helps the U.S. imperialists maintain the lie that fascist regimes like the one headed by Fujimori are "moving toward democracy."
But since the capture of Comrade Feliciano, the U.S. has reaffirmed support for the Fujimori regime. On August 27, U.S. "drug czar" General Barry McCaffrey visited Peru and expressed "admiration for President Fujimori's leadership." McCaffrey also met with Vladimir Montesinos.
During some debates in the U.S. Congress this past June, it was revealed that the U.S. has been directly funding Montesinos's SIN. Some in the U.S. ruling class apparently were concerned that such open ties with this infamous organization would be too exposing internationally and damage U.S. interests. For example, Elliot Abrams, former official in the Reagan administration, said, "It's really reprehensible for us to be supporting a corrupt and repressive organization like the Peruvian intelligence service. The Congress ought to cut off this relationship now, before more damage is done to Peruvian democracy and to the reputation of the United States." If anyone knows about corruption and repression, it's Abrams--after all, he was deeply involved in the U.S. covert support of the reactionary Contras in Nicaragua.
But that debate was before the capture of Comrade Feliciano. Since then, the U.S. has been stone silent about SIN and Montesinos, or about Peru's withdrawal from the IAC. Meanwhile, U.S. officials have hailed Fujimori as a leader in the "war on drugs." The U.S. sends military aid to Peru and other countries of the region under the cover of the "war on drugs." McCaffrey has called on Congress to allocate one billion dollars in additional funding to the military and police in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. The U.S. might also be looking to the Peruvian military to play a role in possible intervention against anti-government guerrilla forces in Colombia. The Peruvian TV recently reported that one of the topics of discussion during McCaffrey's visit to Peru was a U.S. plan for a "multinational" invasion force composed of troops from Peru, Brazil and Ecuador.
Condemn the Attack on Comrade Feliciano!
Support the People's War in Peru!
In response to the outrageous and brutal treatment of Comrade Feliciano by the Fujimori regime, the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru calls on people, especially here in the U.S.--the country most responsible for the misery and suffering of the people in Peru--to heighten our support for the continuing People's War. And we call on everyone to oppose all crimes of the U.S.-backed regime in Peru and its system of injustice. At this time in particular, we need to demand that the lives and physical integrity of Chairman Gonzalo, Comrade Feliciano and all political prisoners and prisoners of war in Peru be respected in accordance with international standards.
For over 19 years the revolutionaries in Peru have been waging a People's War. The Communist Party of Peru has shown that it is possible to organize a new people's power--a new life and a liberating future for the people. Like in all revolutions, the path to victory is not a straight line. They have faced twists and turns, advances and setbacks. But the Party and the masses have demonstrated an ability to continue overcoming great challenges. The capture of Comrade Feliciano is a new difficulty that the revolutionary masses and their Party will have to overcome--we are confident that they can. More than ever, they need and deserve the support of progressive and revolutionary people worldwide.
Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru
PO Box 1246, Berkeley CA 94701
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