Date: Thu, 1 May 97 10:43:21 CDT
From: "Workers World" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: U.S. Role in Peru Massacre
After the Bloodbath, the Truth is Revealed;
Washington's Hidden Role in the Peru Massacre
By John Catalinotto, in the Workers World
8 May 1997
After troops carried out President Alberto Fujimori's
order to massacre Peruvian revolutionaries in the Japanese
ambassador's residence in Lima April 22, he and his backers
in Washington put a triumphal spin on the action. With the
aid of a compliant press in both Peru and the United States,
every effort was made to portray the assault as a bold
strike against terorrism.
The reality quickly revealed itself. Most important,
Washington's role in the savage slaughter of 14 young
guerrillas of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)
is now clear.
The MRTA fighters had captured the ambassador's house and
hundreds of wealthy party goers, including officials of the
Peruvian and other governments, last Dec. 17. The seizure
and hostage taking was a tactic to call attention to the
poverty and misery of the Peruvian masses, and to demand the
release of 400 MRTA political prisoners held in wretched
In the four months the revolutionaries held the house,
they never harmed a single hostage. They released many,
including everyone with any medical problems. They permitted
Red Cross personnel to enter repeatedly.
Yet the big-business media throughout the capitalist world
reported on the April 22 assault, in which the freedom
fighters all died, as a triumph over terrorists.
Although the United States government has fully supported
Fujimori's vicious assault, diplomatically and politically,
State Department spokesperson Nicolas Burns continues to
deny a direct U.S. role.
Yet at the same time, U.S. spy officials are taking credit
for their role in what they see as a success.
Former FBI Agent Bob Taubert told CNN April 23 that he had
trained Peruvian troops last December somewhere in the
United States. It was "money well spent," he said.
Commenting that the Peruvian commandos performed precisely
as he had trained them for such an action, Taubert said he
is "very proud."
Other U.S. officials admitted that Peruvian troops have
received anti-guerrilla training in the United States for
the last 10 years.
The CIA is a key player. On April 28 the New York Times
ran an article about Ivan Montesinos. The Times called
Montesinos "the shadowy figure who is the unofficial head of
Montesinos, in other words, is the chief of Peru's secret
police. That makes him a central figure in the years-long
terror campaign against everyone fighting for justice in
Ivan Montesinos, according to the Times, has "long been
reported to have ties to the Central Intelligence Agency."
This is Washington's man in Lima. He was the architect of
the murderous raid on the house MRTA cadres had held.
Fujimori's advisers say Montesinos was behind their boss'
decision in 1992 to dissolve the Congress and Supreme Court.
The secret-police chief is also known as a "former lawyer of
The Times also reported that in 1977 Montesinos was
"sentenced to a year in jail by a Peruvian military tribunal
for desertion after he visited American military officials
in Washington without permission." In that period Peru's
nationalist government was more independent of the United
States and other imperialist powers.
Its very viciousness gave the April 22 raid a made-in-
Washington look. The military's thugs killed all the
guerrillas. There are many reports, including one from the
agriculture minister who had been a hostage, that some of
the revolutionaries were murdered execution-style after the
Some of the guerrillas' dead bodies were mutilated. After
the massacre, Peru vian TV showed Fujimori striding among the
bodies in the house. Some of them had arms and legs chopped
MRTA COMMENTS ON THE MASSACRE
Interviewed in the newspaper Junge Welt in Germany on
April 24, MRTA spokesperson Norma Velasco assessed the
developments leading up to the murderous raid. "The goal of
the MRTA unit was not to murder the embassy prisoners," she
said. Rather, the guerrillas wanted to win their demands to
free the 450 MRTA prisoners held in Peru's prisons.
"We had no illusions" that Fujimori wanted a peaceful
solution, Velasco said. But "we did have some bit of hope
that international public opinion in many countries would
increase pressure on the Peruvian government and force them
to give in.
"I mean in countries where, unlike in Peru, people can go
out into the streets and demonstrate for their demands. But
in this we were disappointed.
"This was a serious defeat for the MRTA. Neither the
movement nor the Peruvian people have gained anything from
this. But it is not over yet.
"We lost the battle, but the struggle continues," Velasco
"A vast segment of the population still suffers from
poverty, hunger and a lack of proper medical care, and these
problems are increasing. The end of the crisis at the
ambassador's residence showed that Fujimori exclusively
relies on military means."
MILITARIZATION OF REGIME
The New York Times also noted the regime's dependency on
the military. Its April 28 report described Fujimori,
Montesinos and armed forces head Gen. Nicolas Hermoza Rios
as "Peru's ruling troika."
The regime itself recognizes how thin its popular backing
is. This came clear through its handling of the MRTA
If the MRTA has no popular support, why did Fujimori
refuse to let families bury the dead guerrillas? Why did the
government instead secretly bury them in unmarked graves? It
was to prevent the grave sites from becoming rallying
Nevertheless, people have discovered where MRTA leader
Nestor Cerpa Cartolini's body is buried. His grave in a
hillside cemetery in the dirt-poor community of Villa Maria
del Triunfo has already become a focus of popular
expressions of anger.
A woman by Cerpa's grave told a New York Times reporter:
"`He fought for us, for the poor. Look at how we live. Look
at how we die."
Another said: "He was not a terrorist. He was a
Cerpa's mother, Felicitas Cartolini, told the Argentinian
newspaper Clarin that she plans to make a legal claim
against Japan for the execution of her son. "My son was
killed on Japanese territory," she said. "I know he was
executed. One of the hostages, the agriculture minister,
said so, and there were others hostages that also witnessed
From Nantes, France, where she resides, Cartolini said on
Peruvian television, "I am proud of my son as he has died
giving his blood, his life for his comrades."
Dozens of people also demonstrated at the grave of MRTA
member Rolly Rojas, shouting, "Long live MRTA!" Rojas was
buried in a shantytown cemetery in Lima's San Juan de
Lurigancho district. The area is home to two of the horrid
prisons where left-wing political activists are held.
Peruvian cops arrested two relatives of jailed MRTA
members who visited the home of Rojas' mother, Maria
Fernandez de Rojas.
There were demonstrations in several countries protesting
the Lima murders. On April 25 hundreds protested at the
Peruvian Embassy in Santiago, Chile. Cops with riot shields
sprayed tear gas on the demonstrators and pushed them to the
ground outside the embassy.
Protesters told television reporters, "We absolutely
reject these acts of such cruelty, which should never happen
In Mexico City on April 23, scores of people gathered to
protest at the Peruvian Embassy. Demonstrators hurled red
paint and tomatoes at the building, shouting, "Fujimori
murderer" and "Latin America is in mourning."
Also in Mexico, the Popular Revolutionary Army's military
command issued a statement calling the massacre an
The statement continued: "The lands of Latin America are
once again stained red. The financial oligarchy is full of
congratulations. We revolutionaries are in mourning.
"The best homage to the murdered [MRTA members] will be to
continue with the struggle for the revolutionary
transformation which will bury forever the domination of
capital in all of Latin America."
In the United States, at an April 27 Philadelphia rally
against Clinton's cutbacks, Monica Ruiz told 5,000
demonstrators: "The truth is that these young MRTA
revolutionaries were fighting for the same things we are
fighting for and against the same enemy. Is it a surprise
that the Clinton administration aids and abets the Peruvian
government when it muzzles the voice of dissent by using
"Are we surprised that Clinton supports a government that
enriches a small group of wealthy families in Peru at the
expense of 80 percent of the population who live in utter
poverty? After all, he is throwing millions of poor people,
disabled children and elderly people on the streets here to
beg for charity."
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