Date: Thu, 9 Jan 97 10:46:00 CST
From: Arm The Spirit <email@example.com>
Subject: CNN Interview With Alberto Fujimori
CNN Interview With Alberto Fujimori
Transcript of CNN's Lucia Newman's interview with Peruvian President
8 January 1997
Q: I'd like to ask you first, the MRTA rebels have spent a lot of
time talking, but you haven't said much throughout this crisis. Why
A: At the beginning, because the lives of the hostages were at
stake, then during this silent period we have taken several
measures like not accepting the ultimatum of the terrorists
threatening to kill our foreign affairs minister.
Q: Why is it then that the man you designated to talk to the rebels,
minister Domingo Palermo, has not gone back inside the
diplomatic residence for nearly two weeks? Does this mean that all
the talks are at a stalemate?
A: I wouldn't say that it's in a stalemate. We're waiting for a
favorable condition for, beginning again, the talks. In fact,
sometimes there is direct dialogue between (Nestor) Cerpa
Cartolini and Domingo Palermo through the radio.
Q: There are talks still going on? There is high-level contact
between the government and Cerpa Cartolini, the MRTA leader,
inside the residence?
A: Not in the last four or five days. Unfortunately, the press
conference that happened stopped this contact.
Q: What will it take for the contact to start up again?
A: We are waiting for favorable conditions, a favorable scenario
for this contact.
Q: The rebels have said they can wait all the time in the world to
get what they want. How long can you wait, Mr. President?
A: In fact, this is a blackmail of the terrorists at the expense of the
suffering of the hostages. We are going to evaluate day by day
and, anyway, we are going to treat all the pacific solution we may
Q: What happens if you exhaust all the pacific solutions? Does that
mean that your government will consider using force as a way to
end the standoff?
A: We discount the use of force as far as they don't hurt the
Q: So can you wait as long as they can wait?
A: We will evaluate the situation day by day.
Q: Why have you refused, point blank, to meet the main demand
of the rebels and that is for the release of some or all of their
A: This is unacceptable. We were not going to liberate, release
those terrorists because of our law and because of our national
security and also the regional security.
Q: In October, you said fighting terrorism was papaita which
means, in English, something like a piece of cake. Do you still
A: We have shown, given these last three years, that we were
succeeding in fighting terrorists. While during the first 30 years of
the former governments they didn't. Now we are showing to the
world that this fighting against two terrorist groups was feasible and
now we have an isolated case which doesn't mean that terrorism is
alive, as it was before.
Q: In the last year, Peru's economy has been in a recession,
discontent has grown, unemployment has grown, unemployment
has grown, so has the poverty here. Are you concerned that this is
a breeding ground for rebel groups like MRTA to exist in this
A: Poverty doesn't imply necessarily violence. In many countries
there (is) more poverty than here. But we're conscious about
poverty, which we hate, and it's not a problem of the last five
So we are (attacking) poverty through several measures, and that's
one of the main goals of my government. We expect that in the
next years, the economy will improve. And we expect that extreme
poverty will drop from 22 percent to 11 percent by the year 2000.
Q: How can you guarantee the economic recovery that you're
speaking of in view of this hostage crisis?
A: The investor knows quite well that we don't have anymore the
widespread terrorism here in Peru. The investor (unintelligble) that
this is ... an isolated case in the Japanese embassy, so they are
confident that Peru's economy will grow with stability. And we
believe in that trend also.
Q: You have spoken for the need of judicial reform in this country.
Does that include changing some of your anti-terrorist legislation
which you yourself have admitted has led to a great deal of
injustice, especially of innocent people being thrown in jails for
years, sometimes for life.
A: We corrected some hundred cases -- 225 with a presidential
representative following the judiciary process. And we formed a
special group for presidential pardon, also, which gave this
freedom for another 100.
Now we are in this situation where we're now evaluating again.
We have to give out stiff measure in our legislation, anti-terrorist
legislation, because we are concerned that terrorism must be
eradicated from Peru and from the region. Anyway, if there are
some unjust cases, we will follow through one of these means.
Q: Are you considering relaxing some of your anti-terrorism
legislation to make it conform more with international norms? Peru
has been severely criticized by the United Nations and other
human rights organizations for this.
A: We consider it -- that we were in an emergency situation and
that's why we approved this kind of law. We're going to evaluate
what's coming in the next few months, if it's sufficient that the
guarantee of the situation allows us to change this legislation.
Q: Some people are saying in Peru that this is perhaps the ideal
opportunity for you and the government to try to bring about an
integral peace solution -- to enter into peace talks with the MRTA
rebels -- so you can put an end to all these problems just as
Guatemala has just finished doing.
A: This proposal is made by very, very few people from the
opposition side. The majority of the opposition are supporting the
government measure. We don't agree in making an agreement in
Peru, becuase MRTA or any terrorist group -- they are isolated
It's completely different like those in central American countries,
where many people involved are following the guerrillas. Here it's
completely different. That's why we're not accepting one or going
to accept this kind of solution. It's a completely different situation
Q: Is there any concession you're willing to make to the MRTA
rebels to end this hostage siege?
A: The framework was given in the message to the nation that
means that liberation is not acceptable, and we have offered some
pacific way out with persons of guarantors. So this is the kind of
way that we can work out for the solution of this crisis.
Q: In other words, giving the rebels safe passage to another
country, that would be the maximum of what you'd be willing to
A: That's one of the ways out. We may find another way out of this
(Source: CNN, http://cnn.com)
MRTA Solidarity Page - http://burn.ucsd.edu/~ats/mrta.htm