Anarchistes Anarchistes
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  - Thomas Meyer-Falk
  - Tomek Wilkoszewski
  - Volkert Van Der Graaf

Anti-Guerres Anti-Guerres
  - Barbara Smedema
  - Novaya Revolutsionaya Alternativa

Anti-Impérialistes Anti-Impérialistes
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Communistes Communistes
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  - Union des Communistes Révolutionnaires de Turquie (TIKB)
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Luttes & Prison Luttes & Prison
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  - Journée Internationale du Révolutionnaire Prisonnier
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Manifs & Contre-Sommet(s) Manifs & Contre-Sommet(s)
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  - Sommet de l’Union Européenne de Laeken (14 décembre 2001)
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Maoistes Maoistes
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Répression Répression
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  - Espagne
  - France
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  - Suisse

Sabotages & Actions Sabotages & Actions
Présentation de l'APAAPA ?
Publiée le 16 octobre 2006

- Parti Communiste du Pérou

Peru : Chairman Gonzalo to be buried alive

After a year-long trial held in a military prison, the trial of Chairman Gonzalo has come to the end that was its purpose all along : revenge for the “crime” of leading a people’s war.

On 13 October, Abimael Guzman, known as Chairman Gonzalo of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP), was condemned to life in prison, the maximum allowed under Peruvian law. Elena Iparraguirre (Comrade Miriam), a fellow top PCP leader and Chairman Gonzalo’s partner, was also given a life term. Oscar Ramirez, once known as Comrade Feliciano and the leader of the PCP after Chairman Gonzalo’s capture, got the shortest sentence, 24 years, in recognition of his “helpful cooperation” with the state in testifying against other defendants. The nine others were given sentences of between 25 and 35 years, with several of the shorter sentences due to technical reasons rather than any desire of the state and the judges to let anyone out of prison alive.

Chairman Gonzalo is 71. According to Peruvian law, his release cannot even be considered until the year 2027. He has spent most of the last 14 years in a special underground dungeon on the same naval base near Lima where the trial took place. The Peruvian authorities are presently disputing whether he will remain there or be transferred to a civilian prison.

Most of the defendants, with the notable exception of Ramirez, announced that they would appeal the sentences to Peru’s highest court. Gonzalo’s lawyer Manuel Fajardo has said on several occasions that this case will be taken to the Inter-American Human Rights Court in Costa Rica. The current trial was made necessary when the Human Rights Court ruled three years ago that the PCP leader’s previous conviction, by a military tribunal acting in secret, was illegal.

In line with the contention that putting Gonzalo on trial for “terrorism” violates Peruvian and international law, the two main defendants and several others refused to speak in the courtroom. They turned down the opportunity to make concluding remarks at a special session a week before the sentencing. Several others of the accused spoke before the public and the media, for periods ranging from a few minutes to an hour. During the eight and a half hours taken up by the reading of the sentences, Chairman Gonzalo stood silently, with his arms crossed. The full proceedings before a packed courtroom were broadcast on television.

The political character of the trial was openly stated. Gonzalo was convicted of “terrorism” and “homicide” explicitly because he led the people’s war that started in 1980 and continued to rage through much of the 1990s. That was a civil war, an armed revolutionary upsurge involving hundreds of thousands of people and supported by millions, based most directly on Peru’s most downtrodden peasants and the exploited in the urban shantytowns. If that is a crime, then all revolution is a crime. The whole purpose of this trial was to proclaim that the oppressed have no right to rebel and show the state’s determination to punish them and especially their leaders. It was an act of revenge for a period when the people who have ruled Peru for centuries feared that their time was coming to a close, and also meant to smash down any hope that those who have been crushed all their lives could rise up in revolution again.

The vengeful mood of the courts and those who rule Peru was underlined when during the final days of the trial, Maritza Garrido, the ballerina whose dance academy had a secret apartment where Gonzalo and Iparraguirre were arrested in 1992, was called back to court. Last year she was sentenced to 20 years for helping the PCP. The state appealed this decision and she was given an additional five years to make sure that she will not be freed in the near future.

Shortly after the sentencing, Iparraguirre gave an interview to a reporter from the Spanish news agency EFE in the Chorrillos women’s prison. She and Gonzalo were separated last year as a punishment for leading the defendants in chanting slogans and creating an uproar that caused their second trial to collapse. In this first media interview either has given since they were captured, she emphasized that she continued to uphold Gonzalo Thought, as PCP calls it, upheld the necessity of launching the people’s war in the 1980s and argued that it could not be labelled “terrorist”. “An eminently political phenomenon can’t be resolved by a trial”, she said, and the sentence was “illegal, anti-constitutional and inhuman.”

But, she continued, people’s war had become impossible in Peru following Gonzalo’s capture in 1992. At that time, the party split between those who wanted to continue the war and those, apparently led by Gonzalo himself, who argued that it had to be abandoned. Although those who wanted to continue the war faced many obstacles, Chairman Gonzalo’s stand was the key among them. Iparraguirre defended this stand. “Several decades will have to pass before it is possible to talk about armed struggle again, and no one knows what the future holds,” she said. The question of the hour is to achieve a “political solution to the problems flowing from the war”. The news agency report quotes her as stating that she hoped the sentence “will facilitate and open the door to a general amnesty.” (Peru21, 14 October) In August, Fajardo put forward a proposal, in Gonzalo’s name, for a sweeping amnesty for all those involved in the people’s war on both sides, including the generals accused of crimes against humanity ; Peru’s present president, Alain Garcia, responsible for a notorious 1986 prison massacre, among other atrocities committed during his earlier term in office ; ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who commissioned military death squads, and his notorious security chief Vladimiro Montesinos, who led them.

If crimes against humanity were really of any concern at all to the courts, Garcia and his ilk would be facing trial. It is particularly hypocritical to charge Chairman Gonzalo and other PCP leaders with the deaths of civilians in the fighting, when President Garcia initiated the policy of sending the armed forces into the highlands to give peasants the choice between fighting on the side of the government or being tortured and killed. In fact, the armed forces raped and killed thousands of people, regardless of where they stood, in order to create an atmosphere of terror in the countryside, setting “masses against masses,” as PCP put it, in an effort to force those not ready to fight and die for the revolution to side with those they hated most, the landlords, local feudal tyrants and representatives of the reactionary regime.

How can Peru’s poorest and all those who hate the intolerable features of Peruvian society and the world be condemned for rising up in rebellion ? It was righteous to do so. And further, it is difficult to argue that Peru’s people can ever seize their destiny in their own hands by any other means than a people’s war since the last decade of relative “peace” has brought no improvement in most people’s lives and certainly not brought them any closer to emancipation.

If, today, the man who once declared his capture just a “bend in the road” for the revolutionary struggle has changed his mind, the Peruvian ruling classes and Peru’s ultimate master, the Yankee imperialists, have not. They want to bury alive not just Chairman Gonzalo and other leaders but the people’s hopes in revolution. That is why people whose hopes do lie in revolution and all those willing to fight for justice will continue to oppose this treatment.

Sources : A World to Win News Service
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