DEFENCE AT TRIAL
Lima, October 23, 2007
ADOLFO OLAECHEA DEFENCE AT TRIAL
Lima, October 23, 2007 – National Criminal High Court
With all respect due to this National High Court, the representative of the Public Ministry and the State Attorney’s Office, my defense attorney and the general public here present:
It is my turn to say a few words about these proceedings to which I submitted of my own free will by means of simplified extradition aiming to clear my name in my own country. I took this unprecedented step trusting in my complete innocence and the guarantees of due process, fair and speedy trial, and an effective judicial protection of my rights, extended by the Peruvian State – its institutions restored – to the Kingdom of Spain. This is something not even a former President of the Republic who has recently had to be brought back to Peru in a very different manner, has done.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Regretfully, these proceedings have already lasted over 50 months. A total of 1,500 days with their 1,500 nights, more than 36.000 hours with their umpteen minutes, at great cost from the common treasury, not to speak of my own personal expenses and loss of earnings.
I have endured all this while punctiliously complying with all the restrictions on my freedom of movement and other citizen’s rights imposed by the High Court. I therefore feel entitled to the necessary time to read these notes of mine that are but just a minimal part of what I have wanted to say about these proceedings and this period of my life. I need this time to be able to exercise properly my right to an unrestricted defense. I’m also asking the Court to kindly order this complete text to be incorporated in the Acts of the trial so that my thoughts are adequately represented.
So I will start by reiterating what I already said to the Lower Court judge of the Spanish town of Almeria on the 3rd of July, 2003 when I was unhesitant in accepting to come directly to Peru to confront my accusers face to face: “Your Honor, as far as I am concerned this is a completely frivolous extradition request… It is based on such evidently unsustainable charges that I have no qualms in accepting it to refute it and personally confront it in its entirety, because it does not matter how much these charges are blown up of all proportion, they will not cease to be phony”.
In these 4 years the emptiness of these accusations has become more than evident. We are now before a summation by the Public Ministry and the State’s Attorney’s Office that has only served to clearly show an intention to inflame and muddy the magistrates’ conscience. For this purpose they have basically resorted to digging into the wounds of an internal conflict in which the State itself bears a good deal of responsibility, as the Truth Commission itself has already admitted.
In synthesis, my accusers have resorted to twisting my words and attributing to me things I never said. They have even gone as far as presenting as mine the acts and comments of others about me, people whose real identity is to this day as unknown to me as it is to the Public Ministry and the State Attorney’s Office, even if at the start of the proceedings they claimed the very opposite.
In three distinct and separate occasions – maybe maliciously inspired by the verse of the poet Pablo Neruda…..“A single dot or comma out of place may change the entire universe” – the Public Ministry has insisted, in the face of the documentary evidence we have all seen, in attempting to put in my mouth words I have never uttered.
The magistrates here present are themselves witnesses to how he twisted and mangled my public statement regarding the events in Tarata Street, Miraflores. This show of bad faith on the part of the representative of the Public Ministry merited the just, and still unresolved complaint from my defense. I believe this attitude fully reveals his extreme bias against me, contradicting his claim to the objectivity that he should have shown as the defender of legality and as the law commands him to act. However, when this underhand behavior was shown up, the representative of the Public Ministry, who at all other times was more than willing to talk, now kept total silence. He, who keeps mum, concedes the point.
Another intentional distortion was done by the State Attorney in relation to the document denominated “Charo- Alicia”. The State Attorney read the words of this unknown person as “the right wing opportunist line” when in truth it says “a right wing opportunist line”. This was done by the State Attorney so as to give himself airs as a connoisseur of the Marxism used by Shining Path and claim that such an expression is used exclusively by that organization. Moreover, he uses that claim as the basis to demand that the accused be judged on the basis of his allegedly “specialist knowledge” and not in accordance with ordinary people’s common sense. However this claim of his is absolutely false. In Marxist language “right wing opportunism” is synonymous with the term “revisionism” and is frequently used in Marxist circles since the times of Lenin, long before the Shining Path. Here’s an excerpt from a letter sent by the Communist Party of China to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union back in the 60’s in which the Chinese denounce the Yugoslav Communist Party. Of course, this last was a separate and distinct organization from the other two, and no one with a mite of common sense would ever claim that a member of the Yugoslav party is also a member of the Chinese or the Russian party, and therefore responsible for the deeds of any of these other two political organizations. The Chinese letter reads:
Both Declarations point out that “revisionism” in other words, right wing opportunism, is the main danger within the international communist movement. And that Yugoslav revisionism is the representative of modern revisionism.
The 1960 Declaration particularly points out:
“The communist parties have unanimously condemned the Yugoslav variety of international opportunism, concentrated expression of the “theories” of the modern revisionists”.
As it is now clear and, as the jurist Valle Riestra had already explained, such terms as “right wing opportunist line”, criticism and self-criticism, are commonly used in all organizations with any sort of connection with Marxism- including the Apra party itself – a party that Valle Riestra knows quite well, and today represents in parliament. This completely explodes the premises of my accusers who keep insisting, without any evidence, that such terms are of exclusive use by Shining Path and, moreover, twist them to try to give such words a diametrically opposed meaning to the intentions of the person using them. As it is now evident, what “Alicia” meant to say when she described Committee Sol Peru as “a right wing opportunist line” with which, she, as a member of Shining Path, “should have broken with immediately” she meant precisely that this Committee had nothing in common with the Marxism of Shining Path and that, in her opinion, Sol Peru, was a “revisionist”, “pacifist”, organization “centering on legality”, etc. In other words, that Sol Peru was everything that in her mind Shining Path wasn’t even by a mile.
Another pearl of the State Attorney’s “specialist knowledge” – with which he practically demands that this Court turns itself to all effects into a veritable kangaroo court in order to judge me – comes up when he claims that when I held that had Fujimori carried out his intention to execute the leader of Shining Path Abimael Guzman at the time of his capture, it would have been a dangerous magnicide likely to cause a lot more bloodshed. According to him, by using such a word I am recognizing Mr. Guzman as having the rank of a Chief of State. Not true. Some of the most famous magnicides in history, the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria – that served as the trigger for the WWI, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi that meant the massacre of millions in India, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, simple presidential candidate, that radicalized the Anti-War movement in the USA, the assassination of Martin Luther King who was but a leader of opinion against racism and war, or that of José Eliecer Gaitán in Colombia – that meant the start of the long internal conflict going on in that fraternal country, an event I spoke of precisely when talking about magnicide – were not assassinations of heads of state. I believe the State Attorney ought to acquaint himself rather more often with the dictionary before pontificating about the meaning of words.
My accusers have drawn blanks with all their witnesses, some because their testimony was patently irrelevant to the proceedings and others for having arrived at technical conclusions that did not, in any way, support their charges against me. Let us remember how the representative of the Public Ministry practically mauled the police graphologist because he refused to back off even in 1% in his absolute certainty that his suppositions about the identity of a particular person – whose identity remains a mystery to this day – were 100% wrong. The magistrates will remember how this member of the National Police Force was treated as if he was on trial himself and not a witness for the prosecution. “Accused, tell me……” said the representative of the Public Ministry interrogating his own witness, while pressuring him to concede even a little bit off the total devastation this testimony meant for his case. I believe that such a ‘lapsus linguae’ reveals a lot about the substance of the accusation facing me.
As my legal counsel has well demonstrated the alleged “evidence” presented against me by both the Public Ministry and State Attorney turned out to be rather evidence on my behalf. Already the tribunal presided by Dr. Talavera, was well aware of most of this alleged evidence when they granted me bail, stating then, that against me: “the more credible charges relate to the charge of apology” implying that all other accusations – including the one we are dealing with now – the only thread left dangling in the air after the Supreme Court’s verdict – had not a lot of credibility.
At that stage in the proceedings, Dr. Javier Valle Riestra had repeated in his allegation before that Tribunal what he had earlier written in the newspaper “La Razón” on Saturday August 9th, 2003 when he had not yet become my counsel: “In so far as illegal association for the purposes of crime, I do not believe there is even a single element that may demonstrate that Olaechea was a militant or a leader within the structure of Shining Path and that he was subject to a vertical and specialized discipline to commit crimes as Peruvian jurisprudence demands”.
The representative of the Public Ministry promised, at the beginning of this trial, that he was going to present us – to prove my un-creditable militancy in Shining Path and my personal submission to its “vertical and specialized discipline for the purposes of crime” – a perfect chain of events that – even if he admitted did not constitute full evidence such as for example, letters of submission, witnesses or direct references in Shining Path documents to my status as member of their organization – would appeal – as he constantly has done – to the criteria of conscience of the magistrates.
The State Attorney then contributed the memorable phrase – that after 15 years of investigations, the impounding of tones of detailed Shining Path documentation collated into umpteen volumes, pored over and analyzed by the witness Zúñiga Carpio and many other members of the National Police – “the fact that this evidence has not been found doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist”. Yeah, the fact that after decades of exploration not a single gram of cheese has been found on the moon doesn’t mean the moon isn’t made out of cheese either.
How can anyone sustain a request of 25 years imprisonment on arguments of such nature? Is this supposed to be serious?
Has the Public Ministry delivered on his promises? His chain of events turned up to be a paste-up job. At one point, the State Attorney had – at a stage in the proceedings in which it was impossible for us to call up rebuttal witnesses or have the author himself confront me – to provide the representative of the Public Ministry with a life preserver made up of more of what the jurist Valle Riestra had dismissed as pure and unadulterated journalistic rubbish.
I am talking about am interview I am supposed to have given. This interview was published in a tabloid that at the time, as we know today, was under the control of the National Intelligence Service manipulated by Vladimiro Montesinos. The State Attorney was compelled to submit this because – at that stage of the trial – the Public Ministry’s case was coming apart like an old sock with a large hole in its toe, while all his efforts to darn it with the thread of twisting my ideas and sayings of 15 years ago were constantly coming undone.
All other witnesses had either not the slightest idea of political life in England which is in fact the matter of what is being looked into here, or were police technical experts that knew nothing concrete about me and offered just general opinions, or, even worse, categorically contradicted the very premises of the accusation.
And what has turned out to be the new evidence that has served to continue to prattle on about something so trite, inane and short of credibility as my alleged membership in a party in which I have never wanted and never want to be a member?
To what extremes have they come in attempting to smear me with a can of dirty paint and destroy my intellectual reputation with a sledgehammer of anti-juridical concepts? With what evidence have they had the gall to allege that I would for a single moment accept being part of an organization that requires its members complete and unquestioning submission to the mind and will of a person other than my own? How is it possible that they insist in attributing the character of affirmative evidence to the mere fact that I have always and in every opportunity I have been asked if I was a member of Shining Path, denied it and said a definite no? I reiterate it again, when I say no, it does means no. It has always been no, and will always be so.
The State Attorney, and on occasions even the representative of the Public Ministry, have portrayed me as someone who intentionally snubs the majesty of this tribunal. If that has been the Court’s impression, I apologize again most sincerely. Particularly, the State Attorney alleged that my reply to his question about the significance of a gesture with a raised clenched fist I appeared making in a smiling photo taken on a London street was an example of how I was in fact making fun of the magistrates. However the truth is – as we shall see when we speak of jurisdiction – that if the State Attorney was well acquainted with London he would know that in the immediacy of the place that picture was taken, there is an electronic score board, and that in such occasion I was not raising my fist for any political purpose, but was in fact happily celebrating a goal from the team of the first neighborhood I lived in when I first came to England, Chelsea, club where Claudio Pizarro, the skipper of the Peruvian soccer team now plays.
These misunderstandings always arise when one tries to pass judgment on what is going on in a place 10.000 miles away without having bothered to investigate it. If the State Attorney had instead asked me if at any one time in my life have I raised my fist as a symbol of a social or political struggle – as millions of other people in Peru and the world do without for that reason being labeled as members of Shining Path – my reply would have been quite different from “Chelsea scores!”. Therefore, on my part at least, rest assured there was no intention of offending either the intelligence or the dignity of this tribunal by means of any kind of slapstick.
On the other hand, we had that Mr. Rea, or Lord Nicolas, as the State Attorney took to calling him, and who – with the fine touch he has displayed throughout this trial – he wanted to send down to join the witnesses queue along with the humblest peasants, that – in his mind – could offer testimony that should be accorded equal value.
Not only because he is a prominent personality in the jurisdiction in which the alleged facts have occurred, but just because he is a foreign guest, this tribunal did well in offering special facilities and due explanations to alleviate his perceived incommodities and upsets. However – it has to be said – this important member of the All Party Human Rights Group of the British Parliament has taken home a very negative impression of the ideological persecution he saw me undergoing in his very presence and this has caused a lot more damage to the reputation of the Peruvian State that all my criticisms and accusations in London against the Fujimori regime. At the end of the day, these accusations and criticisms turned out to be sufficiently true for the Supreme Court of Chile to grant his extradition precisely for the human rights violations I had denounced. Or is it the case that this former President has also been extradited for no reason at all?
As a hereditary Lord, Lord Rea is not just your run of the mill member of parliament. He is a sovereign Lord in liege to the Chief of State, the English monarch and that is why he bears the title of Peer of the Realm. The Peer of the Monarch, who is but the “Primus Inter Pares”. First among the equals. In that quality, he does not owe his place in the House of Lords of the British Parliament to anyone but his own birth and his descendants are in no need to purchase votes or run for office to be elected. He will not lose his seat for not bending his will or his conscience to the dictates or wishes of others. Moreover, all Supreme Court Judges in England have to be members of the House of Lords and the Parliament as a whole would take part in cases a judgment needs to be passed on the Chief of State, the King or Queen. Therefore, Lord Rea has the same rank as a Supreme Court Judge, inherited, for life, and with the right to pass it on to his descendants, without any need to be ratified or supervised by the Control Organs as we have here in Peru.
I wish some day in the future our own judges could enjoy similar independence.
And that takes me into some considerations regarding the issue of jurisdiction. It is not because of arrogance or self importance that at some stages in the process I have refused to answer certain questions that to my mind could place me in conflict with British law and jurisdiction, besides the misunderstandings that arise from lack of information and knowledge of the place and its ways of doing things, as occurred with the already mentioned photograph shown in “evidence” by the State Attorney. I have also spoken in this trial about my opinion that many of the ills of our political system, including the Justice System, relate to the quasi genetically inheritance both of the Inca empire as well as that of the Spanish conquest. That inherited imperialistic and authoritarian vocation from back then was in fact what facilitated the reign of oriental despotism that now is on trial in the despicable actions of the Fujimori regime. Of course, it is not surprising that Montesinos and Fujimori were the ones initiating this persecution against me, demanding my extradition from England, the country where public liberties are of more importance for its people than in any other country on earth.
Last September 16, Dr. Valle Riestra wrote in his column Atalaya Democrática (Democratic Watchtower) in the newspaper Correo:”In synthesis, we cannot issue utopian challenges like Pizarro (Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conqueror of Peru), when the Bishop Berlanga asked him “ Up to where does the Marquis intend to extend the jurisdiction of his New Castile”? Pizarro replied: Up to the the Flemish lands”.
That pretension of Don Francisco Pizarro was not even enough for the Peruvian State under Fujimori. The Flemish lands are today partly in Belgium and partly in Holland, lands where the empire of Charles I of Germany and V of Spain in fact had jurisdiction at the time. However, it was before the coast of England where the allegedly invincible Spanish Armada of his son Phillip II was beaten and sunk when he attempted to extend his jurisdiction there.
The respect for others, deserves and generates respect for ourselves. If in the jurisdiction where the events being judged here took place, these have been deemed legitimate and the highest authorities of the land have so ratified it, are the Public Ministry and the State Attorney’s Office of Peru entitled to act as Spanish ‘conquistadors’ and attempt to raise their banners in London and judge the political life there with eyes to whom that reality is completely alien? How can it be overlooked the manner in which they repeatedly have tried to demean the opinions given to this tribunal by someone like Lord Nicolas Rea, who not only is familiar with the milieu of which they pretend to speak as expert connoisseurs, but who, moreover, is capable to judge with total independence my character and behavior in London, which is located in his own jurisdiction?
Before going ahead any further, I want to read here some parts of an article written back in September 2003 by the former President of San Marcos University Students Union, José Carlos Vértiz Calderón. This personality of my generation deals precisely with my character, and also – without mentioning his name directly – the character of the author of the journalistic piece published in the tabloid Expreso and presented as evidence by the State Attorney. Mr. Vértiz knew me and also knew Mr. Jorge Salazar quite closely, and he would have been one of the witnesses I may have been able to call if this alleged evidence had not been submitted in the way and opportunity it was introduced, seconds before the start of the stage of reading the evidentiary pieces.
Vértiz Calder¬ón says: I have been following with patient attention the proceedings – if that is how we can describe all this judicial nonsense- initiated against Adolfo Olaechea Cahuas.
I am bound to Adolfo in a friendship born more than 35 years ago at the University campus, at the warmth of our youthful struggles for a just society and an honorable motherland. Olaechea was Press and Propaganda Secretary of the Directorate of the San Marcos University Students Union (FUSM) of which I have always been proud to have been democratically elected President by the vote of the students back in 1966 and 1967. We stood then as representatives of the Revolutionary Students Front (FER). It was one of its great moments, and in this genuine front, one could see in action the fighting unity of the students belonging to both tendencies of the Young Communist League, those of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR), those from the National Liberation Army (ELN), those from Revolutionary Vanguard (VR), as well as even a Trotskyite faction, and together with these, HUNDREDS OF PROGRESSIVE AND REVOLUTIONARY STUDENTS NOT AFFILIATED TO ANY PARTY.
These last constituted the great majority of the members of the Revolutionary Students Front, or ‘Feristas’, as they called themselves. They were the ones who decided on the hegemony of the leadership, and to honor the truth, they were the ones who – giving up personal interests and acting with boundless self sacrifice- gave rise to the most important political and union successes of the time. To this exemplary section, to those people who never sought any personal advantage, belonged Adolfo Olaechea. He never took to enlisting in any Party cell and in consequence was never part of any of the competing groups of political leaders even if he had more than sufficient qualities for organizational and ideological leadership. He kept his political independence within the Front while accepting its principles and general line and respected the majority decisions that we debated amid mass rallies in which all of us partook with ardent passion. It was his legitimate and respectable option within the Front. He never sought anything for himself. Scholarships, Official Positions, Student Tours to Foreign Countries, or any other frills or benefits were matters of total indifference for this combatant from the FER. Those who like me also knew him – and we aren’t just a few – will never allow me to lie if this isn’t but the simple truth. I prefer not to bandy around any names because each one is the master of his own silence. Nevertheless, when it came to the student mass struggles headed by the San Marcos or the National Federation of Students, he was there, always in the front ranks, be it in the streets of Lima, Huacho or Huancayo. Firmly with the tram workers that came to the University seeking student support, fraternal with the peasants of Chepen, and full of courage in facing down police repression and the gang of thugs of the APRA party belonging to the “Indoamerica” shock squad headed by the infamous “Búfalo Pacheco”. This gang was then implementing a reign of limitless terror within the University Campus, even assaulting people on hunger strike and brutally beating up the enthusiastic young women from San Marcos who held aloft banners from the Revolutionary Students Front inscribed with the FER’s undying slogan: “Study and Fight for Peru”.
In another part of his piece, Vértiz reveals the true nature of the accusations leveled against me: He says:
THE LIES OF “EXPRESO”
However, there is another fictional Olaechea, sketched up by the extreme Rightwing reactionaries. This creature was bred in that sewer called “Expreso”, a rag sheet found out to have been receiving suitcases full of dollars directly from the hands of Montesinos in payment for fabricating all sort of lies against opponents of the Fujimori dictatorship. There is where the tale of the “ambassador of terror” was dreamt up and where the Fujimori government picked up the accusation in order to open judicial proceedings against Olaechea. These accusations never had any head or tail, and that is why they were never able to extradite him from England.
Later, the frivolous allegations that he directed terrorist actions in Lima followed. How could he have done that if for over a quarter of a century Olaechea has been living in England? And as to the charge that he belonged to the leadership of Shining Path or that of Socorro Rojo, it is enough to refer to what Colonel Benedicto Jiménez – the true captor of Abimael Guzmán – has authoritatively to say: He places Olaechea as a self inspired defender of Shining Path in England. Here or abroad we all have the right to express our opinions about what occurs in our country and also to publish our appreciations. If we put forward opinions about political facts, for example, we are not necessarily obliged to think in the same terms as the Senderologists (Specialist in Shining Path) who for the most part are financed by the troglodyte Rightwing. And they should be grateful to Shining Path for having provided them with a solution to the problem of lack of employment facing so many other Peruvians. However, Olaechea, I, or any other Joe Doe are entitled to analyze and interpret these social and political developments in very different manners. For that, no one can sanely accuse us of organizing terrorist activities or being in cahoots with Shining Path’s leadership. Such stupidity is outside the most elementary logic. And in the political struggle, the last thing that should be accepted is stupidity. I personally will not stand for it today as I did not accept it yesterday. That is why I am indignant about the persecution against Adolfo Olaechea and I am openly expressing my condemnation of it.
Finally, Vértiz asks:
WHO IS THE DIRTY WORM?
The question that I will not leave unasked is this: Why no one is investigating the newspaper that first threw up this allegation? Who was the journalist in charge of fabricating this lie? Where is the dirty worm now enjoying Montesinos’ bundle of dollars? What‘s the name of the coward hiding his face? There is where the investigations and research should start in order to find out why an honest fighter is today in prison. The judge in charge of the case should speak up.
This was written with no prodding or interference on my part while I was in detention at the High Security jail of Castro Castro. I had not been in touch or contacted the author in over 30 years. However, his opinion is quite representative of the general opinion of all that really know me. It is also an informed opinion, albeit a bit harsher than my own, about the credibility of the author of the journalistic piece that generates such trust on the part of the Public Ministry and the State Attorney’s Office. Moreover, it should be said that Jorge Salazar’s piece in the tabloid Expreso at no point does unequivocally say that I am or ever have been a member of Shining Path, even if it does suppress precisely everything I said to him at the time to deny it outright. I am sure that not even “Monkey Salazar” himself believes that I have ever been a member of Shining Path. In fact, as my defense attorney has said: Those who say that I am a member of Shining Path are only Vladimiro Montesinos, the Public Ministry and the State Attorney. All others, intellectuals, jurists, journalists, Benedicto Jiménez himself, the captor of Abimael Guzman, Lord Rea and Kenneth Clarke the British Home Secretary at the time – quoted by my defense – reject this charge. The very witnesses provided by the Public Ministry and the State Attorney – despite being all of them members of the National Police – have not being as extreme as to dub me a member of Shining Path. They either stated knowing nothing about me, or at most offered mere suppositions based on information proven to be defective.
For example, the witness Zúñiga Carpio was not aware of something as simple as who was who actually called who, who was who actually sought who, to obtain my opinions in the public declarations that were broadcast in Peru back in 1992. Without having heard or investigated the interview, he had assumed that these were statements I made of my own initiative “in compliance with the specific plans of Shining Path” when in reality it had been – as the evidence shows -, the journalist Fernando Vasquez who had called me at my home in London to seek my opinions.
Another example of the cavalier nature of the testimony of this witness can be seen clearly when in answer to a question from the magistrate who asked him if – in accordance with his own expertise he had an opinion of the work carried out by Committee Sol Peru – he said: They were performing the three tasks, supporting the people’s war, relating to the masses, and establishing relations.
Later, in answer to a question from my defense asking him to explain his discrepancy with the opinion of Colonel Benedicto Jiménez who considers that “Olaechea carried out his activities MOTU PROPRIO” – meaning, of his own free will – and if he thought that any organization that carried out these three activities belonged to Shining Path, Mr. Zúñiga said: “Yes, even if they only carry out a single one of them”
That is to say, that according to the witness Zúñiga Carpio, any organization that relates to the masses or that in the course of its activities establishes relations is necessarily a part of Shining Path. This is tantamount to say that, according to the witness, all political parties who seek the votes of the masses and therefore must necessarily relate to them by different means including publicity, tours all over the country and mass rallies, or that in the course of their political activities, for example in order to gain a sufficient majority like in the case of the recent election of Constitutional Magistrates by the Peruvian parliament, find themselves compelled to establish relations with other persons or parties, should be sitting here alongside the defendant accused of being members of Shining Path.
And what could we say of any business concern, Coca Cola, MacDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Starbucks, to mention just a few. These companies have to invest millions of dollars each day in publicity to market themselves and they do it precisely by relating to the masses so that they may prefer their products. They also have to establish relations with distributors or strategic allies, or even sports idols that may use their logos to promote their products – that is something any modern marketing campaign knows well how to do. Should they also be denounced – from their Board directors and general managers down to their last floor sweeper and potato fryer as died in the wool members of Shining Path?
For example, I was arrested in the Spanish city of Almeria when I was conducting a marketing assignment for a British company, Spectrum International Research, as an outsourced expert adviser. There I was precisely relating to the masses and establishing relations, both activities that Mr. Zúñiga Carpio – supposedly a man with a master’s diploma in marketing as well as being a policeman – would consider the exclusive activities of Shining Path and to whom the performing of only one of such tasks is sufficient evidence to convict you beyond the shadow of a doubt as a member of this group listed as a terrorist organization.
The Public Ministry and the State Attorney, in plain view of the evidence of the original political intention of these entire proceedings – as it follows from the transcript of the video of Montesinos ordering the liquidation of the most basic principles of the law in order to initiate a persecution against me – as it follows from the letter of the former ambassador in Madrid, Fernando Olivera, ordering the utmost care with the media and political angles of my extradition – as it flows from the very reports from the Peruvian embassy in London when they respond to the instructions of the National Intelligence Service of Vladimiro Montesinos by carrying out espionage and implementing hostile actions against me on a daily basis because of my ideas, even when they knew they were breaking British law, etc.- in the face of all that evidence, they persist in denying that all this cannot be anything but a political persecution.
I would not be inappropriate to paraphrase here the words with which Samuel Fielden, one of accused of the events of the Haymarket in Chicago at the end of the XIX Century, addressed his judges in that famous trial: “ Gentlemen, you have brought forward the press reporters”….. on hire to Montesinos and Fujimori……..” so as to prove my revolutionary language and I have demonstrated that to all of our meetings our adversaries have come or could have come to demonstrate the falsehood”…. of what we said; “that to our meetings we invited the representatives of the press,…..” the embassy, and anyone who could hold contrary opinions….,” and that nearly always they have responded with silence. In synthesis, I say that a reporter is a man who does not depend of himself, who isn’t free, who works at someone else’s behest, and therefore it is the same to him to accuse us of a crime than to proclaim us the most virtuous of all men”
However, Ladies and Gentlemen: This is a process in which this same High Court had already spoken on the 14 of November 2006, in accordance with the resolutions of the Permanent Penal Tribunal of the Supreme Court of Justice dated November 4, 2005 and October 10, 2006, commanding the obliteration of all judicial and police records that may have been generated against me for the crime against the state and the public peace – terrorism, in the modalities of aggravated terrorism, collaboration, incitement and apology, typified and penalized in Articles 2, 3, paragraphs a) and b), 4to b)c) d) and f) and Article 6th of the Law 25475 and Article 316 of the Penal Code, and commanding the final closure of the case, which, as we have seen, was maliciously initiated by Vladimiro Montesinos Torres in complicity with Alberto Fujimori, who, for the eternal shame of this State that accused me without the slightest base of all these heinous crimes, did actually presided it during 10 illegal and baleful years.
The Supreme Court of the Republic had only left outstanding the accusation under Article 5 of the Anti-Terrorist Law denying in that single point the Exception of Nature deduced by Dr. Javier Valle Riestra. However, this Exception had been approved by this High Court under the Presidency of Dr Talavera Elguera, without either the Public Ministry or the State Attorney having presented any objection at the time. The High Court had given as the basis to grant this Exception of Nature the lack of correlation of the deeds described with the penal type I was being accused of (in other words, it had ruled that such acts weren’t criminal) and also, the lack of evidence. The Supreme Court, rightly, said that lack of evidence is not a matter to be resolved via an Exception of Nature, and ordered the case to continue, without at any time questioning the fact that there was no evidence against me for the crime contemplated in Article 5th, belonging to a subversive organization.
And this is how we come to this stage in the process. It was not necessary that it should have been this way, since the Public Ministry should have taken the initiative and withdraw the charges in accordance with Article 274 of the Code of Penal Procedures that gives him such powers.¬ Moreover, in the course of this process, as the Trial Acts show, both the Public Ministry and the State Attorney’s Office have repeatedly conceded that I am not being accused of any ACT of terrorism, any collaboration, incitement or apology either. Then one has to ask if the Kingdom of Spain would have granted the extradition or its extension, knowing before hand that I would be tried exclusively for belonging to Shining Path?
In accordance with the Extradition Treaty between Peru and Spain, Article 5th, extradition is not granted for political motives, establishing too that ACTS OF TERRORISM are not deemed to be political crimes.
However, if I have not committed ACTS OF TERRORISM, not even in the modalities of collaboration, incitement or apology, then the accusation of belonging, solely by itself, cannot escape the category of a purely political crime.
The State Attorney would now jump up and say: Just one moment, he is saying that Shining Path is a political organization!. That is the same defense the Shining Path’s lawyers used during Abimael Guzman’s trial, etc. But the reality is that only the most inflexible of minds can entertain the notion that Shining Path is not a political organism. It is a political organism outside the law. It is an outlaw organization, as it was once the case with the current party in government, the Apra party, in its own time. This fact has even been recognized by the Truth Commission in its extensive work on internal violence in Peru.
The fact that I have never been, am, or want to be a member of Shining Path and neither am, nor have been or want to be a member of the APRA party, is not an impediment to know something of the history of the country nor is it a reason to deny what is more than evident: Let’s see: The historian Guillermo Thorndike in his book “Military Republic”, First edition, Lima 1979, tells us in page 27:
“Armando Villanueva del Campo became involved with the APRA party when he lived in the town of Chosica. In 1938 he was first arrested by the political police and was then photographed with the number 32268. At the time it seemed quite unlikely that he would once become a candidate to be President of the Republic. The police record sheet warned that he was a very dangerous activist that may be armed and resist the orders of the snitches. Villanueva would eventually suffer long incarceration for his activities at a time in which the mere fact of belonging to the APRA party was in itself a crime, the same as it would later happen with the Communist Party and other leftwing organizations”
The old patriarch of the Apra party, Villanueva del Campo, has recognized this in his recent foreword to the book by Victor Polay Campos “IN THE DOCK, TERRORIST OR REBEL”. Don Armando says: “On the other hand, we shouldn’t forget that our country has been prodigal in calling terrorists many who fought for freedom and justice……… I say this myself, who a decade ago was a protagonist in this struggle for freedom …. And we were also dubbed terrorists. Let’s remember the “laws” outlawing the Peruvian APRA Party, and the smears aimed at its own leader, accusing him as a terrorist too. This accusation even reached the International Court at the Hague, where, in a historical trial, such smears and accusations were flatly rejected……”
Here, I believe it would be sufficient to say – in relation to the fact that to show my solidarity I wore a T shirt with the number inscribed in the humiliating prisoner’s uniform Dr Guzman was forced to wear on the orders of Fujimori – as many other people in London did at the time – that if the year had been 1938 instead of 1992, my T shirt would doubtlessly have shown the number 32268. Human solidarity with the person being humiliated is not, and neither can be taken as evidence of membership of the organization the ill treated person does or does not belong to.
Last September 24 the current President of the Republic has had opportunity to confirm this when addressing the complaints of the family and the rest of the clan of the extradited prisoner Alberto Fujimori: Dr García said well: “He has not been locked up in a cell or a cage; he hasn’t been manacled or deprived of basic services. On the contrary, I believe he has been granted the possibility to see his family, as it is human and natural. It is not a question of humiliating, smearing or insulting anyone, or trampling underfoot the fallen enemy”,
That they are now in the same condition of illegality in which the party of today’s President was kept for many years – who, as he recently had occasion to remind us, is himself the son of people persecuted and accused of being members of a terrorist organization – does not mean that Shining Path is not a political movement. That it is a political organism is implicitly recognized by the current President of the Republic, Alan Garcia himself. These are his own words to the Apra Youth Congress in Ayacucho in the year 1988: “Shining Path has active, dedicated, sacrificed militants (…) the member of Shining Path has what we lack, dedication and mystique. They are people that deserve my personal respect and admiration because, whether we want it or not, they are militants”.
Whether we want it or not, they are militants, says President García. Whether we want it or not, Mr. State Attorney, is what the current Chief of the State you’re representing here says to the letter. What sort of entity is supposed to have militants? A circus? No, a circus has trapeze artists, lion tamers and clowns, an even if at times politics is compared to a circus, a circus, unlike political groups, movements or parties, has no militants. Only parties have militants, and the fact that a party or group is outside the law or not, is precisely the point when it comes to the persecution of its militants. That means that the persecution is done for a political motive and for a purely political crime, for which, in accordance with Article 5th of the Extradition Treaty between Peru and Spain, if it does not come associated with ACTS of terrorism, the extradition shouldn’t be granted.
In Thorndike’s book “The Military Republic” dealing with the 50 years of Peruvian history from 1930 to 1980, the writer quite rightly says: ”Peruvian police agents (…..) investigate common crime and also what has become known as “subversive activities” – which in truth is the civil struggle in demand of elementary social and trade union liberties – and therefore is not accidental that nearly all its opponents and subjects of persecution deserved at some time or another the official label of criminals. Bandits: Haya de la Torre, Hugo Blanco, Manuel Ulloa, Genaro Ledesma, Armando Villanueva, Javier Diez Canseco, José María de la Jara, Luís de la Puente Uceda. Criminals, the poet Heraud, the novelists José María Arguedas and Ciro Alegría, the poets Alejandro Romualdo, Antenor Orrego, the young intellectuals from the Hora Cero generation. University professors, men who wrote their thoughts, artisans in faded trousers, women and even children, all delinquents and thrown in prison, deported, locked up in the wolf cages, the punishment cells, in the end condemned to a slow death”.
Also, the same author, so that it may not be thought we are talking about the present, reminds us that in the 50 years from 1930 to 1980, that is until the very start of the Shining Path rebellion “one section of Peruvians suffered persecution while the rest allied themselves to the military to share power and persecute the others. Peasants, workers, students, teachers, anarchists, trade unionists, Apra and Communist Party members have taken the worst part. But also supporters of President Leguia and President Belaunde have been acquainted with the rigors of political jails and exile”.
Therefore, the crime I am being accused of – falsely, I repeat again to prevent misunderstandings – is not a run of the mill common crime. It is not a bank robbery, like in the case of the novelist Jorge Salazar – whose journalistic piece – in which he twists my words and he cuts out precisely the part where I firmly deny being a member of Shining Path – is now being pulled out of a hat in a sorry attempt to incriminate me – nor the car bombs and other criminal activities with which I was so implausibly charged in the original warrant for my extradition and in this very process until the Supreme Court put a final end to that laughable nonsense. Whether we want it or not, belonging to a political organism, no matter how much against the law it may be – by itself – cannot be a common crime. It is precisely because of this that Article 5th of the Treaty between Peru and Spain – an instrument of international law – requires in its text ACTS of terrorism, and clearly indicates that for political motives extraditions are not granted. To realize this, it is enough to meditate the words of Dr. Javier Valle Riestra in the daily Correo of August 12, 2007, where, quoting from Argentine’s jurisprudence, he says: “From the subjective point of view, a political crime is any common crime when its execution has been inspired by a political motive, which is a motive that goes beyond the sphere of a personal and selfish interest (…)”.
It is – regretfully necessary – to remember how this process could have been closed last March, when my defence poised a Previous Question requesting it be dropped. Our request was turned down by the court. In that occasion I signaled my disagreement with that decision but decided not to appeal it. It seemed more practical to get on with the trial than to wait an indefinite time for the result of an appeal. We have already had several years going on and on in circles in a maze that, despite the promises of reform that every so often are heard from the heights of the State Institutions has in fact a tendency to become more and more convoluted. The naked truth, as everyone is aware of – even if officially they would deny it – is that to this day, as the Constitutional Expert Domingo García Belaúnde told me a few months ago: “Adolfo – in Peru, judicial processes never end, they only fade away”.
Members of the Court, I want to remind you – with all the respect you deserve and even if it is not a pleasant thing for me to have to do it – that among the guarantees extended by the Peruvian state to Spain for my extradition is the guarantee of an effective judicial tutorship. I am very clear in my own mind that in that occasion it was quite possible to resolve this trial without further ado when the charges had been reduced to a single charge of belonging to a terrorist organization. When this charge was completely divested from any typical terrorist conduct to support it materially and, therefore, in that orphan state, it could not in any way be construed as a crime against the public peace – terrorism, without trampling over international law and dishonoring the word of the State in its own international treaties. It is regrettable, but understandable. Regrettable that in line with the historical behavior of the Peruvian justice system, an occasion to establish democratic legal precedents and thus protect, not only the rights of the defendant, but also the rights of some many people of all political tendencies in this country who would have benefited because frequently their constitutional and legitimate actions are brought before the courts for transparently political motives, was passed over.
Finally, this court would have then exercised an effective tutorship over the confidence placed by Spain’s judiciary on the Peruvian Justice System, since it will be Spain who would have to answer in the last resort before its own Constitutional Court, or eventually the European Court in Strasburg, for the fraudulent use of the law to grant an extradition – besides an extension of the same, plus a reiteration of this extension after the verdicts of our own Supreme Court had exonerated me from any ACT of terrorism – for a series of accusations that once divested from its shocking as well as totally false packaging ended up being nothing but a single and exclusively political charge, as defined in international jurisprudence.
And it is right that it be so defined, because the philosophy underpinning penal law in all countries and times – without for a moment questioning the right that any state may have to defend itself from subversive organizations seeking to overthrow it – demonstrates that the outlawing of these organizations is a political act. The proscription laws have always been political laws and the evidence of this is the fact that proscribed organizations are on occasions re-admitted to legality by political decisions, like it was the case with the APRA party now in power in Peru, a party that just a few decades ago – as we have seen – was proscribed too for terrorism. A crime of proscription is in no way comparable to common crimes inspired by political motives that may be construed to be acts of terrorism, and even less with your run of the mill common crime.
No parliament or Supreme Government may under any circumstance legalize murder, robbery, fraud, rape, etc. All common crimes are by their very nature so vexatious to the natural laws of human intercourse, that none could be abolished for political motives. For political motives the penalties may be raised or reduced, amnesties, pardons or the dropping of cases may be implemented, but to make common crimes the law, is impossible even at times of war. Even if at such times only reasons of state and brute force may prevail, there are also specific laws for war, as many have had to learn here after they proclaimed themselves “victorious generals”, “last samurais”, or simple recipients of some or other medal, promotion or Presidential commendation. We have the laws of war which, for example, forbid what has become known as crimes against humanity, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, sackings and other oppressive measures against occupied civilian populations, etc.
Examples of subversive organisations that ceased to be such due to political decisions are abundant today in the world. And if we look into the past, we can see that even the Christian Church was regarded as a subversive organisation and suffered proscription under several Roman emperors, Nero and Diocletian in particular. Was Christianity really subversive? Of course it was, and to a great degree in relation to the reigning social order based on slavery. The Christian doctrine proclaimed something that was as indigestible for slave owning society as today’s socialism is for capitalism. It proclaimed the equality and filial brotherhood of all human beings before a single god, and therefore it was a mortal danger for the ideological and political underpinnings of slave owning society based on the superiority of certain gods and their chosen peoples over all others, justifying then that some were masters and others slaves. In consequence, the tales and “reports” about “Christian terrorism” were commonly used as a pretext to persecute the followers of the “son of man and prince of peace”. Jesus himself was accused before Pontius Pilate by the Pharisees who claimed “He dares defy Cesar”. His “crime” was thus described as essentially political. And if it is true that the “Cesar” I myself defied, Mr. Fujimori, is no longer Cesar in Peru nor Senator in Japan, and neither do I want to compare myself to Jesus in any shape or form, there is no doubt that we at least share having been dragged before judges solely and exclusively for our preaching without any common crime involved for which we should have to answer before anyone but our own conscience. Let us remember that it was Emperor Constantine who needing support from Christian forces, inscribed the cross of the Nazarene in his own banner of war: “In Hoc Signum Vinces”. Constantine, to achieve and consolidate his political power, made Christianity legal alongside all other religions in his empire, and later, the Emperor Justinian even made it the official religion of the State.
Today in Nepal, for example, the label of terrorist has been withdrawn from the Maoist party and it now takes part in the government with four ministries, and their militants and sympathisers can march openly and peacefully in the streets, like the APRA party supporters do in Peru, with their own flags and everything is perfectly legal for them. No matter how much sympathy and political and ideological coincidences this party may have – besides sharing the same red flag – with the organization of Abimael Guzman in Peru, no one with an ounce of sanity would claim that members of the Party now sharing in the government of the Kingdom of Nepal are also members of Shining Path, and no one in Peru has demanded they be extradited to be put on trial here.
If more evidence or undeniable logic is needed to support my contention that the membership of an illegal organization by itself – and with no terrorist act associated with it – is nothing but a political crime, the persecution of which cannot, by simple logic – and whatever pseudo juridical arguments may be advanced to deny it – be but a political persecution. It is enough to mention how the Communist Party of Italy, illegal and persecuted as a terrorist organization under the Mussolini regime, is today part of the parliamentary majority sustaining that country’s government. The same happened in Spain when that country transited from the Franco regime to the Constitutional Monarchy and lifted the ban on its Communist Party. Britain has legalised the leaders of the IRA and brokered an agreement in which they share the governance of Ulster with their arch-enemies, the Orange men. And so forth. There is nothing that can be more clearly defined as a purely political crime than proscription.
Therefore, how can it be denied that even if I have falsely been accused of being something I am not and have never been, what has been done with me is but a political persecution? And, moreover, it hasn’t been an ordinary political persecution. It is a case of a political persecution for ideological motives, particularly forbidden under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the most solemn undertakings of the United Nations, organization of which Peru is a member state.
Javier Valle Riestra wrote as recently as September 9, 2007 in his tribune in the daily Correo: “In Peru everything is persecution and indictments, whether by newspapers, the parliament, the Public Ministry or the Judiciary. More than from the French, Mexican or Cuban revolutions we have been influenced by the Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition. Everybody must be burnt at the stake”.
I believe that there is much truth in this. However, it must be recognized that the Holy Inquisition actually meant an advance in the direction of due process of law in relation to the medieval system of Ordeal, or God’s Judgment. In order to prosecute, the Holy Inquisition required three separate witnesses that would directly implicate the accused, and would not condemn without the heretic’s or wizard’s own confession – therein the use of torture in order to obtain it. And even then, absolutions or dropping charges were not completely unknown phenomena in some of its tribunals.
If any one here present may have the opportunity to visit one of those medieval English villages that still preserve their old dunking chairs would see a contraption made out of a large oak plank set up furthest away from the village centre, somehow like a grotesque ladle planted at the riverside like a giant lever. These dunking chairs were used to tie up those accused of witchcraft at the end of the ladle so as to test their claimed innocence. When the accused was dipped under the current, if able to come afloat, he was deemed a proven witch since, according to superstition familiars of Satan were lighter than water due to their pacts with the devil. The destiny of these unfortunates was then to be lynched and/or burnt at the village pyre. However, those who would not rise to the surface, and therefore drown, were piously declared innocent and blessed on our Lord.
This tale is worth mentioning since my accusers allege – as their most solid and definite evidence of my alleged membership of Shining Path and my consorting with their evil emissaries – the mere fact that I have denied it consistently all my life and in every occasion I have been asked. “He denies it because every Shining Path member implements “the Golden Rule” to cover up their membership of the group” they say. And with this Witch Hunter General’s style of argument they are attempting to lead the magistrates of this Court to condemn me on the basis of prejudice, hatred, and even esoteric beliefs completely divorced from people’s ordinary common sense. We have witnessed here accusers who shamelessly appeal to the judges to become incensed against the defendant for reason of his ideas and the words in his writings or for exercising his freedom of expression. They demand Judges that, because of prejudice and hatred, would allow themselves to be turned into a real kangaroo court that would work applying subjective rules in violation of the most elementary principles of law. They have forgotten the words of Aristotle “The law is nothing but reason when devoid of passions”, and that such is the basic principle taught to all future lawyers in every faculty in the world from the first primer’s course. Therefore, they are not simple asking for the Holy Inquisition, but demanding a medieval God’s Judgment, the Ordeal, and the judicial lynching for the accused.
I believe that such attitudes provide the inspiration compelling Valle Riestra to write in the same journal’s September 12, 2007 edition, as follows: “…due process of law does not exist in Peru. This thesis is absolutely valid for any case before the current anti-democratic and totalitarian Justice System, a system we should have cleaned up straight away on the installation of Alan (Garcia’s) regime, because it is staffed by psychological fascists; arrogant people who despise the defendants and prefer to condemn with no evidence trailing behind the verdicts of the sectarian press” –
So that it should not be thought that Valle Riestra – who has been my attorney in several stages of this process – stands alone in thinking in that fashion, let us see the opinion of someone who is not an outsider to the Peruvian Justice System. Dr. Marcos Ibazeta Merino, former President of this very High Court, says in “Common Sense”, his current journalistic column: “Do we have here a political class that may ethically offer itself as a “supremely pure political product”? Maybe there is someone stolid enough to skip our history or ignore his own personal record that may believe such thing. Peru is a nest of totalitarians preaching democracy. To what meaning or effect?”
It was from these totalitarian sources where the legend of my belonging to the Shining Path, the “Chancellor of Terror”, etc., was first engineered It is regrettable, that today when democratic institutions have been somewhat recovered, certain branches of the State would persist in practicing the same policies fixed by the autocracy. César Hildebrandt (T. N.: a famous Peruvian TV interviewer somehow like Larry King in the USA or Jeremy Paxman in England) wrote last September 29 in the daily “La Primera”: “Besides, Fujimori found out that if a lie was said simultaneously in the subsidized TV, bounced back by the prostituted radio and over headlined in the two cents press of the Calmell’s (T.N.: Montesinos’ press operatives) immediately, thanks to repetition, it would become the truth. The echo ended up working as confirmation and the social prestige of the means of communications was used so that the weaker elements of society would be infected and would serve to propagate the sickness”.
This is something the Supreme Court of Chile had also noted, since in his sentence conceding the extradition of Fujimori, it says: “There are clear indications that (…) Fujimori, after his self-coup, would have concentrated all the powers of the State and the supreme command of the armed forces and intelligence services, inducing the creation of a special detachment within the armed forces to carry out operations against people suspected of subversive activities or against ideological enemies of the regime”.
The Public Ministry and the State Attorney’s Office have made a great noise about my stated opinion that in Peru rebellion is justified due to the lack of a genuine democracy affecting the great majority of the people. Moreover, that due to the medieval conditions in which a great part of the country’s population live, such rebellions would always be extremely bloody and would bring to the surface unsavoury but inevitable atavistic behaviour and incidents of hatred and revenge of incredible malevolence – both from the rebel side, as well as from the side of the repressive forces of the State. Maybe my unvarnished opinion may seem to some but the ranting of a madman. However, it is enough to remember the historically recorded fact that after the battle that allowed President Pierola to enter the city of Lima with his rebels at Cocharcas gate (1895) and overthrow President Cáceres by force, 2000 bodies were collected from the city streets. Two thousand victims in a city that at the time counted its inhabitants by tens of thousands instead of the seven million it has now. There is no need for an engineer or mathematician’s degree to see that such would be the equivalent of nearly 250.000 casualties today. Violence in Peru is clearly not an invention of Shining Path or the APRA party. Moreover, in essence, many respectable and respected intellectuals, as we shall see, point their fingers in the same direction. For example:
Eugenio Chang Rodríguez, member of the North American Spanish Language Academy and the Royal Spanish Academy, Latin American literature lecturer in New York’s City University and author of the book: “A life of struggle: Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre” recently Publisher by the Peruvian Congress, says in the Sunday Supplement of Lima’s daily El Comercio of August 19, 2007:
“There is no doubt that what we had at the beginning of the XIX Century with our independence was an unfinished revolution and democracy was not properly established. Instead, our system had autocratic characteristics that gave rise to the civil wars and promoted the ambitions of the strong men”.
Or the words of César Hildebrandt, the reputed journalist, writing in Diario La Primera on September 19, 2007 and complaining that: “The Constitution in Peru is an involuntary comic book, outright cynicism, tons of sarcasm. It is the funniest book ever written in Peruvian literature. The Peruvian Constitution should have been signed by the Joker in the Batman comic book”. And he says this quoting it to show how most times this Constitution sounds really ironic: “Article. 2nd. Paragraph 24: Everyone is deemed to be innocent until a court of law has finally established his or her guilt”. How many times in this trial my accusers have alleged my belonging to the Shining Path because I had chats or practiced basic human acts of polity with alleged “conspicuous terrorists” who have no verdict whatsoever from the courts to establish their purported guilt and who are simply included in unsigned intelligence reports because of being family members protesting the indignities their loved ones have been subjected to? Is it not truth that the same insulting behavior was put in evidence here against my own brother, with whom I stand at opposite ends of the political spectrum but am united by fraternal love and family values?
The Former Minister of Labor, Fernando Villarán, in an article entitled “A key for understanding Peruvian politics: The eternal war of fratricide” published in Lima’s El Comercio, September 19, 2007, says:
“The excellent article published by Antonio Zapata in “La República” on September 13 last, reminds us of a condition we Peruvians are still unable to shake: The war of fratricide. Zapata comments the findings at the Inca cemetery of Puruchuco which demonstrate that in the siege of Lima led by Manco Inca in the XVI Century, the Spaniards weren’t the victors in the battle.
The victors were the Huaylas tribe led by their feudal lady who the conqueror Pizarro had taken as a lover and won over sentimentally to support his side. The author goes further and reminds us of the great animosities between (the brothers and rival Incas) Huáscar and Atahualpa, between Túpac Amaru and Pumacahua, that allowed for the ease of the Spanish conquest and served to undo the greatest rebellions during the Colonial period. He continues with the rivalries between (General) Gamarra and (Marshall) Santa Cruz, at the beginning of the Republic and which meant for us the loss of today’s Bolivia. Those of Piérola and Pardo before the war with Chile and those of Cáceres and Iglesias when the war was already on, a war we lost before an enemy who was smaller and poorer than we were, but who wielded the invincible weapon of national unity. He draws the conclusion that “in Peru, animosity stands out because of its intensity and persistence. There are always more than a couple of opposites involved in a deadly struggle. Besides, winning it, doesn’t really matter. What is most important is that the adversary should lose, even at the cost of collapsing the platform in which both rivals are standing”. And he concludes with two very appropriate questions alluding to “the current version of the civil war between Peruvian brothers”: “Are we going to unleash it as we have done it so many times before in our history? Or, are we going to be able to take consciousness of its destructive force, confront it, and put an end to it?”
Of course, there are still some who are fanning the flames of this conflict. They hold forth the idea that the human rights of some are not equal to those of others. That the lives of some people may be taken with no consequence against what the law and the Constitution establishes: For example, there is a person apparently suffering from an Oedipus complex in relation with his grandfather (T.N.: Aldo, the grandson of the Peruvian Marxist thinker Jose Carlos Mariategui). He freely advocates unlawful killings – without any evidence of intervention from the Public Ministry or the State Attorney’s Office, that in his case are – as they always should be – strict partisans of freedom of expression.
This person, writing the Editorial of Correo, the paper he directs, told us last September 14 in relation to the Fujimori case:
“However, this last charge in which (Fujimori) is accused of the death of convicted Shining Path members during the repression of a rebellion inside the Castro Castro jail, would only help him politically……….. Let us be brutal, crudely open, and cast away any “political correctness”. Do you believe that 99% of people would care a rat’s ass how these convicted and jailed Shining Path supporters or those kidnappers of the MRTA died?”
Did any one shout then “apology of crime, Article 319 of the Penal Code currently in force”? Someone from the Public Ministry or the State Attorney’s Office has demanded the arrest of the miscreant so that he may have to await for his lawyers to obtain from the Supreme Court an Exception of Nature to protect his right to express his feelings freely, as was done with me?
It is not accidental that Alberto Adrianzén, in his article “Politics as cynicism”, La República, 29/09/07, says nearly in despair: “That is why the flip side of cruelty is a cynical attitude rejecting dialogue and taking a stand for falsehood. The sledgehammer could be its emblem”.
There are others like Pablo Rojas, Executive Secretary of the National Coordinating Centre for Human Rights, who writes in El Comercio on August 28 last: “However, the greatest danger arise from the attempts at discrediting the final report (from the Truth Commission) and to impose another truth, a truth that, by default, can’t be other than Fujimori’s: Everything that went on here was the fault of Shining Path and there were some minor excesses in the patriotic struggle to save the country”.
Internationally too, the danger of letting the spirit of revenge prevail instead of seeking justice and truth, is being felt. The American philosopher Richard Bernstein says in his recent book “Abusing Evil”: “Today, however, evil is brought forward as a political weapon to cover up complicated issues, block original thinking, and repress discussion and public debate”.
Ernesto Velit Granda, the political analyst, says rightly in El Comercio of last October 9: “In Peru we are mistaken when we believe that defeating Shining Path’s subversion meant having attained peace. To attain peace is to generate conditions for the realization of the human person. It means recognizing and protecting fundamental freedoms and rights, it means configuring a guiding image that would include the most human and universal values in our culture. Finally, it means to develop political and social attitudes aimed at promoting a culture of peace and social justice. However, it seems that among us, the State and the institutions that represent it, are daily drawing further and further away from these intentions”.
It would seem as if Mr. Velit Granda would have been writing about the values that are at stake in this trial and about the attitudes we have seen on display by both State institutions, the Public Ministry and the State Attorney’s Office.
Nevertheless, I am not so pessimistic. I hope this trial may serve to do away with the fear of expressing one’s ideas and for generating due respect for the ideas of others. Father Gastón Garatea is quite right when he says in an interview with the journalist Víctor Calderón in the Peru 21 edition of last September 19: “One may say anything, sometimes unintentionally. In the midst of a struggle, one may lose control of his tongue”. It seems to me that it is high time the prosecution of the expression of ideas should cease in Peru, even when these ideas may be wrong or hurtful.
Lady magistrates, I hope this trial should serve to establish in Peru jurisprudence that eliminates the fear of been brought to trial for disagreeing with the official version of events. Jurisprudence that allows for practicing what the State Attorney has defined here as “bogus art”. There is an old saying that holds that on questions of taste and colours the classic philosophers never spoke. Should then the laws of a country claiming to be a democratic nation establish a canon for the arts just as the State Attorney demands?.
In his final appeal seeking my conviction the representative of the Public Ministry demanded from the magistrates to exercise their moral conscience. He spoke of “the eyes of more than 28 million Peruvians who are building their democracy and reorienting their ethics”. Moreover – and why not? – he held that the eyes of the world are fixed on this verdict, so that “it may be the consolation of millions of ordinary citizens”.
There is nothing more for me to say but subscribe the same feeling but in the very opposite direction. Peru and the world would indeed want to know in which direction are we to go on now in this land of ours. Are we going back to judicial lynching, medieval ordeals and obscurantism that persecutes men and women for their ideas? Or are we going forward and begin by defending the future of this people that truly depends on its genuine freedom and justice?
Freedom of Thought and Freedom of Expression – these are really the key in this entire affair, even if those seeking my conviction would persist for ever in denying it. These freedoms are not some sort of optional attachment to democracy. These are not things that may be good to have on display for external consumption only, while here, in the words of Marcos Ibazeta, we continue to be just “a nest of totalitarians preaching democracy”.
The Attorney Alonso Nuñez del Prado wrote last August 29 in Gestión, the local business daily newspaper: “The miserable situation in which a good part of our population lives was fertile ground for the preaching of the so called President Gonzalo (T.N: Abimael Guzman, leader of Shining Path) and his followers. To say it in a blunter manner, Shining Path would have been impossible in Switzerland. In history – that great teacher – events do not occur because some leaders wish them to happen”.
Therefore, lady magistrates, the election is now clear: Are we to start moving in the direction of becoming like Switzerland, England, France, Sweden and all advanced countries, where freedom of thought and expression, democracy and progress prevail?. Are we to aim to be like the countries where books aren’t burnt nor people persecuted for whatever their writings may hold, or their songs may sing, and thus we shall make impossible here any kind of Shining Path style phenomena? Or should we take the trodden and muddy road in Peru, the road of persecutions and burning at the stake for heretics and miscreants?
Freedom of expression is essential for the peace, development and progress of any people. Without it, all of this becomes impossible. The Attorney Carlos Chipoco has said it well in his column Citizen’s Criticism in Expreso, July 5th, 2007:
“However, this long process of modernity is also the basis for the current material development. What has the American Constitution or the French revolution to do with the voyage to the moon or the Internet? Is there any relationship between the advance of freedom of thought and the equality and human advance achieved in the last 300 years? What is certain is that in the last few centuries we have advanced in the knowledge of the environ surrounding us, in dominating technology, and even in the treatment of the human body itself, more than we have done in the last 4.000 years.
Is this advance just the product of chance? Surely not. Only the incorporation of women in conditions of equality in education as well as in the world of labor, meant something very clear: It multiplied by two humanity’s capacity to think. The bourgeois idea – that a marketplace for ideas was needed so that the best ones would get ahead, and its consequence: complete freedom of thought and expression – was, and is – fundamental for the development of science and knowledge. Let us remember how before that concept, even Copernicus had to recant. This change that modernity introduces in relation to the middle ages ……. is that which allows millions of human beings to be able to think freely, and with that, along comes the broad scientific development of the last three centuries. It is because of this, that for example, when human rights such as freedom of expression are defended, we are not only defending the right to think and say something, but we are in fact defending the very possibility of developing our countries”.
Therefore, I exhort the lady magistrates here to show – in defense of the future of this country – the necessary courage and fortitude to embrace on full the principles of democratic legality and act in consequence, because from legality and not from abuse and superstition peace and democracy depend. That is why I ask you to firmly reject the baseless and discredited accusation raised against me, which in fact seems just like a strange manner to forcibly subscribe me in a party in which, not only they do not seem to want me as a member, but neither do I want to be – or feel capable of being – a member. Just as I am not, do not want to be, or feel in any way capable of being, a member of any other party.
Thank you very much.