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Date: Tue, 24 Dec 96 16:33:26 CST
From: Arm The Spirit <ats@locust.cic.net>
Subject: Latin American Left Blames Fujimori For Lima Drama

Latin American Left Blames Fujimori For Lima Drama

From Reuters
21 December 1996

MIAMI, Dec 21 (Reuter) - Former Latin American guerrillas and other leftists have reacted with an instinctive, even nostalgic sympathy for the Peruvian revolutionaries holding several hundred people hostage in Lima.

They blamed Peru's president Alberto Fujimori for the crisis, saying his policies had provoked the conflict.

While the heyday of guerrilla movements in Latin American has past, former participants said they understood the action by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) guerrillas, who are holding about 340 high-ranking hostages in the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima.

"The people of the world cannot sink into extreme poverty and misery with struggling. They have to defend themselves against the aggression of the neo-liberal model," said Marco Leon Calarca, spokesman for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, from Mexico City.

"The desperate action of the MRTA is an act of violence in reply to the repressive Fujimori regime," said Pedro Moncada, ex-commander of Ecuador's Alfaro Vive, Carajo! in Quito.

In Montevideo, the ex-leader of the Uruguayan Movement for National Liberation - Tupamaros, Julio Marenales, said he "felt close to any movement that wages a sincere struggle and seeks a profound change in the country."

"They are confronting the army so it is inevitable they are using guerrilla tactics," said Marenales, whose group laid down arms in the 1970s and is now represented in parliament.

Rina Bertaccini, spokeswoman for the Argentine Communist Party, said: "The responsibility for this situation lies with the Peruvian government which holds political prisoners in terrible conditions." The government of Peru was "killing the people with hunger," she added.

In Mexico, the leftist daily La Jornada said in an editorial the military, political and judicial successes of Fujimori's government had not been accompanied by steps against poverty and repression -- "profound guerrilla causes."

"On the contrary, Fujimori's actions have worsened these conditions," said the newspaper, the voice of the intellectual left in Mexico.

Mexico's Zaptista rebels kept quiet on the drama while the National Revolutionary Union of Guatemala, which has just made peace with the government to end Latin America's longest civil war, were non-committal.

But the loudest silence came from Cuba, inspiration for many of the Latin American guerrilla movements.

Cuban Foreign Ministry spokesman Miguel Alfonso said only that the Havana government had confidence in the Peruvian authorities. Cuba's ambassador to Peru and another diplomat are among the hostages.

Cuba has criticised Peru's free market reforms but says it has broken its ties with guerrillas groups. A Cuban mediating role has been raised but Peruvian authorties are cool to the idea.

Ex-combatants of Colombia's M-19 movement, Alfaro Vive, Carajo! and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front of El Salvador have offered to mediate in the crisis.

Rosemberg Pabon, former M-19 commander who seized the embassy of the Dominican Republic in Bogota in 1980, said: "History is repeating itself and the message I sent to Peru is there must be a peaceful solution."

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