Greatest Enemy of the Peruvian Revolution Now Behind Bars
By Derek Rosin - BASICS #14 (June / July 2009)
This past April 2009, former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori was convicted of murder and kidnapping and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Fujimori's crimes stem from the vicious counter-revolutionary war he led against the Maoist rebels of the Partido Comunista del Peru (PCP), popularly known as the “Shining Path.”
The PCP gained strength throughout the 1980s by waging a guerilla war popularly supported by urban slum dwellers and the poor indigenous peasants of Peru's Andean highland regions. By 1990, when Fujimori was elected, the PCP controlled large parts of the Peruvian countryside and threatened the stability of the US-backed regime.
To attack the mass base of the PCP, Fujimori killed or “disappeared” thousands of Peruvians. One needs only list a few incidents to give a sense of the monstrous nature of the campaign: four adults and a child murdered at a slum-apartment fundraising barbecue for a pro-revolution newspaper in November 1991; nine leftist students and a professor abducted and killed from La Cantuta Technical College in July 1992; picking out and executing forty suspected PCP leaders after a raid on Canto Grande Prison where political prisoners were held in May 1992, and so on.
Fujimori's conviction is bitter-sweet. On the one hand, Peruvians are glad to see this cold-blooded killer finally face some justice. On a deeper level though, Fujimori was just one man, and his crimes were committed by many people in the army and government, fully supported and aided by the United States.
And what does sending a former president to jail mean for the big picture? Today, the poverty, inequality and racism that gave rise to the Peruvian revolution remains firmly in place. Moreover, Peru is now headed by Alan Garcia, a man also responsible for numerous massacres of Peruvian peasants and political prisoners during his first term as president from 1985 to 1990. With people like Garcia still free to run Peru’s dirty system, the vast majority of Peruvians continue to be denied meaningful justice.