Sunday, 16 September 2012

The week in Peru

Former candidate for the Peruvian presidency, Lourdes Flores, has criticised proposed legislation dealing with negacionismo, i.e. the denial or playing down of terrorism. In a radio interview, she said she did not think the law would be effective and that it would restrict freedom of expression. If passed, the law could lead to jail sentences for those minimising Peru’s internal conflict and in particular the violent acts committed by the Shining Path. This is the latest in a chorus of voices doubting the wisdom of the legislation.

Two contrasting tendencies can be observed during Peru’s recent commemorative activities. One of them is the attempts by fujimoristas to discredit the country’s truth commission report. One manifestation of this is claims that “Comrade William”, the Shining Path leader recently killed in the VRAEM, featured on a list of missing persons compiled by the CVR. The government counters that this was not the case, and also that “William” was originally incorrectly identified as Rolando Cabezas. But Fujimori supporters will seize on any shred of doubt to undermine the report as it deals extensively with the incidents for which Alberto Fujimori was jailed (Barrios Altos, La Cantuta and the abductions of Samuel Dyer and Gustavo Gorriti). Ex-head of the CVR, Salomon Lerner Febres, has rebuffed the criticism and called demands for the report to be revised “short-sighted”.

“I would ask how many of those asking for the review of the [report] have read the report by the commission?” Lerner Febres said. “No one from the commission pretended to have the absolute truth, we said that from the beginning,” he added. “If one would take the time to read it, it is an open truth, perfectible, where there could be some things that have to be further sharpened, but the broader question is a moral truth.”

By contrast, the 20th anniversary of the capture of Abimael Guzmán seems to have been the focus for a general effort to rehabilitate the members of the GEIN involved in the operation. It has long been generally accepted that instead of heaping rewards on the police intelligence unit following their spectacular arrest, Fujimori quickly split up the team and attempted to brush their role under the carpet. Now, some of the members are to support counter-terrorism activities in the VRAEM.

La Republica has also done a couple of rather nice "Where are they now?" type stories about the members of the GEIN. Of course, the fact that two of them fell in love while staking out Guzmán's house is good for the human interest angle.

¿Qué pasó con los cazadores? (La Republica)
La historia secreta de ‘Ardilla’ y ‘Gaviota’; los primeros agentes del GEIN que capturaron a Abimael (La Republica)

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