Seize the Time to Break the Isolation of
Dr. Abimael Guzmán (Chairman Gonzalo)!
7th IEC Delegation to Peru Needed to
Demand End to Isolation!
Revolutionary Worker #1092, February 25, 2001, posted at http://rwor.org
The following is from the IEC, London:
Dr. Abimael Guzmán, also known as Chairman Gonzalo of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP), has been held in prison in deliberately cruel conditions of extreme isolation for more than eight years now. At the time of his imprisonment in 1992, the head of the Peruvian government, Alberto Fujimori, had a special prison built. Fujimori declared that Dr. Guzmán would be held there in conditions he described as a living death. This outrageous situation continues to violate international conventions and the most basic rights of political prisoners.
Dr. Abimael Guzmán is the leader of the People's War in Peru that began in 1980. With the support of millions of workers, peasants, students and others in Peru this revolution continues today. In no way can such a mass outpouring be dismissed as "terrorism." Indeed, the continued extreme conditions of Dr. Guzmán's imprisonment--which have the full backing of the United States--clearly show that his "crimes" are highly political.
Dr. Abimael Guzmán was convicted by a military tribunal in a summary trial before masked, faceless judges. His lawyer was then condemned to life in prison himself for providing this legal defense. Dr. Abimael Guzmán's last public contact was on September 24, 1992, when the Fujimori regime presented him to the international press in a cage in an attempt to humiliate him. Dr. Guzmán, however, used this opportunity to deliver a powerful speech calling for the continuation of the People's War. There have been no verifiable communications from him since.
Within days of Dr. Guzmán's arrest in September 1992, a broad international movement arose to save his life. Hundreds of thousands world-wide took part in this movement in different ways, from signing the International Emergency Committee Call to defend his life, to donating half-day's wages to support the campaign, to laying siege to Peruvian Embassies abroad with protests and demonstrations. Six international IEC delegations of lawyers, doctors, activists and other prominent personalities went to Peru to defend Dr. Guzmán's life between 1992 and 1995.
There are now more than 4,000 political prisoners and prisoners of war in Peru--many convicted by faceless military judges, while others have been held for years without even the farce of a tribunal. Their "crimes" range from taking part in the People's War, to simply "sympathizing" in some way. Brutal prison conditions have led to repeated rebellions in these prisons. For example, in February 2000, the prisoners at Yanamayo and several other prisons demanded an end to Dr. Guzmán's isolation and for his public presentation, and an end to their own inhuman conditions of confinement. The Fujimori regime took the extreme step of withdrawing from the human rights convention of the Organization of American States in order to avoid condemnation of its vicious policies.
Comrade Feliciano (Oscar Ramirez Durand) who led the PCP after Dr. Abimael Guzmán's arrest was captured in 1999, and subsequently also convicted by faceless military judges. Comrade Feliciano has since also been held in isolation at the same specially built prison. When the Peruvian regime presented Comrade Feliciano to the press, he defiantly raised his fist in a symbol to persist in the People's War.
The U.S.-backed Peruvian regime is now in turmoil. Upon Dr. Abimael Guzmán's arrest, Fujimori repeatedly swore to end the People's War within months; now it is Fujimori who has fled, while the People's War continues. Recent scandals have again shown that high forces in Peru's government were themselves running the local narcotics trade--while the U.S. continues to pump millions into the Peruvian military under the cover of the "war on drugs." Now the two main architects of Dr. Abimael Guzmán's trial and isolation have themselves fled. Fujimori, now dumped by his Yankee masters, has taken refuge in Japan. His right-hand man, secret police chief and the CIA's key "asset" in Peru, Vladimiro Montesinos, is in hiding. Yet there has been no move by the U.S.-backed interim government to end the isolation of Dr. Abimael Guzmán.
Efforts from around the world are now needed to send a 7th delegation to Peru, to voice the demand of millions in Peru and around the world that the Peruvian regime's politically motivated, inhuman isolation of Dr. Abimael Guzmán must cease. This delegation is being mobilized by the IEC specifically to demand: "End the Isolation!"; Dr. Guzmán must be allowed to express himself on a live TV broadcast; Allow him to receive visits from lawyers, journalists and others from Peru and around the world; End the isolation of Comrade Feliciano and the inhuman conditions of imprisonment of the 4,000 other political prisoners and prisoners of war.
The conditions in Peru today offer fresh potential to win these just demands. Infighting over the succession to Fujimori has burst out, and many vicious crimes of the old administration have been exposed and are under renewed scrutiny. In this situation, a broad international delegation can help force the hand of the transitional or new administration to cede to these just demands. One fact exposed by the current infighting is that, at the time of Dr. Abimael Guzmán's capture, sharp conflict erupted amongst Peru's bosses over whether to assassinate him immediately. We believe the world-wide campaign to defend his life played an important role in staying the hand of the would-be executioners. Today there is a real potential to win the battle to end the isolation of Dr. Guzmán--yet we must act quickly to seize the time. Your help and support is critical: please make a contribution for this delegation; help raise funds; put organizers in contact with potential delegates; or contact the international IEC office in London directly at: BCM-IEC (Make checks payable to "IEC")
27 Old Gloucester Street
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel/Fax: 44 20 7482 0853
January 30, 2001
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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