Peruvians detained under terror law for attending Bolivarian meeting

Seven Peruvians—Arminda Valladares Saba, Melissa RocĂ­o Patiño Hinostroza, Guadalupe Alejandrina Hilario Rivas, Maria Gabriel Segura, Carmen Mercedes Asparrent Riveros, Roque Gonzáles La Rosa and Damaris Velasco Huiza—remain in detention following their arrest late last month on the border with Ecuador as they returned to their country after participating in a meeting of the Bolivarian Continental Coordinator (CCB) which took place in Quito, Feb. 24-28. The seven, members of the CCB Peruvian chapter (CCB-P), were detained under suspicion of “Affiliation and Collaboration in Terrorism.”

The CCB is a public forum that brings together civil society organizations interested in promoting the “Bolivarian Revolution” in Latin America. The Bolivarian Revolution, inspired by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, calls for Latin American unity, socialist political ideals and the promotion of widespread protest activities as a means of resistance to global capitalism. According to media reports, some participants in the Quito CCB meeting discussed protesting the Latin American-European Union (ALC-UE) and Asian Pacific Cooperation (APEC) international summits to be held in Peru in May and November, respectively. (Rights Action, March 22)

See our last post on Peru.

  1. Peru: crackdown on leftists
    As of March 25, the government of Peruvian president Alan Garcia had arrested nine leftist activists in less than month, charging that they were planning terrorist acts or were funded by the government of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Frias.

    The Antiterrorist Directorate of the National Police of Peru (PNP) arrested seven activists on Feb. 29 as they were trying to return to Peru after attending a Feb. 24-27 conference of the leftist Bolivarian Continental Coordination (CCB) in Quito. The PNP claims the CCB supports two rebel groups, Peru’s Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). According to PNP director general Octavio Salazar, the activists were planning to sabotage two summits to be held in Peru this year: the Latin American-European Union (ALC-UE) in May and the Asian Pacific Cooperation (APEC) in November. One of those arrested, Roque Gonzales La Rosa, served eight years in prison for the kidnapping of a Bolivian politician. The arrests came the day before an attack by the Colombian military on a FARC camp in Ecuadoran territory which set off a brief diplomatic crisis between Colombia and the left-leaning governments of Ecuador and Venezuela.

    Two more CCB members were arrested on March 17 as they were allegedly trying to deposit $65,000 from Ecuador; Peruvian authorities said they suspected the money came from Venezuela. CCB founder Fernando Rivero told media in Venezuela that the group is autonomous and receives no support from Chavez’s government.

    Meanwhile, a congressional committee has begun investigating the Centers of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (“Casas de ALBA,” referring to a trade bloc promoted by Venezuela and Cuba). This is a nongovernmental organization with 150 offices in Peru providing medical attention to poor Peruvians, often by Cuban doctors in Bolivia and Venezuela. Its spokespeople deny receiving funds from Venezuela. Antiterrorism prosecutor Julio Galindo charged that “countries like Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Guatemala” were trying “one way or another to destabilize” Peru. But former interior minister Fernando Rospigliosi said Garcia’s government was exaggerating the influence of the ALBA centers and the CCB “to make the public believe that the social movements which are being created by other causes are coming from a foreign influence.”

    The North American group Rights Action is calling for letters to the United Nations high commissioner for human rights (e-mail:, and Peru’s embassies in Canada (fax: 613-232-3062, e-mail: and the US (fax: 202-659-8124, to “express…concern that the Peruvian government is violating fundamental human rights through the incarceration of its citizens for participating in political meetings and protests.” (El Comercio, Quito, March 1 from EFE; Notiver, Veracruz, Mexico, March 25 from AP; Rights Action alert, March 22)

    From Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 30