Survivors of the ‘disappeared’ protest in Lima

Thousands have taken to the streets of Lima every night since the Christmas Eve pardon of ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori, to be repeatedly dispersed by the riot police with tear-gas. One TV journalist was injured when he was hit by a fired tear-gas cannister in Lima's downtown Plaza San Martín on Christmas Day. The lead contingent in the marches has often been relatives of those assassinated and "disappeared" under Fujimori's rule, especially victims of the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta massacres—carried out in 1991 and 1992, respectively, by regime-linked death squads against suspected sympathizers of the Shining Path guerilla movement. Marchers hold placards with the faces and names of "disappeared" students, workers and activists from the Fujimori era. (RPP, Dec. 29; Diario Uno, Dec. 26)

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) called the pardon "perhaps the most difficult decision in my life," but defended it asan "effort at reconciliation" in a polarized country, urging protesters to "turn the page." He added: "Those of us who feel democratic should not allow Alberto Fujimori to die in prison. Justice is not revenge."

But survivors of the disappeared and their advocates said that  Kuczynski's office had ignored repeated requests for meetings with a group of the kin of Fujimori's victims "I feel deceived by a president who has lied once again," said protester Carolina Huaman Oyague. "We will continue on the streets and will fight so that the judicial process under which he was tried is respected." Her cousin Dora Oyague Fierro was one of several students at La Cantuta University who were abducted and killed in 1992.

"Granting pardons is a prerogative that demands rigorous case-by-case analysis, taking into account the severity of the deeds through a transparent and inclusive process that is in line with international human rights norms," added Amerigo Incalcaterra, the South America representative for the United Nations high commissioner for human rights. "Not putting victims at the center of this decision derails the progress the Peruvian state has made on truth, justice, memory and reparations." (NYT, Dec. 26)

Protests also continue to be reported from Cuzco, Chiclayo, Huaraz, Tarapoto, Iquitos and other cities around the country. (Diario Uno, Dec. 26)

PPK's culture minister, Salvador del Solar, has resigned in protest of the Fujimori pardon. (BBC News, Dec. 27) A letter issued by 230 prominent Peruvian writers, including Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, also repudiates PPK's "illegal and irresponsible conduct" in pardoning the forrner dictator. (EFE, Dec. 30)

Photo: Diario Uno

  1. Fujimori’s pseudo-apology: don’t buy it

    Reads the headline in New York Times:  "From a Hospital Bed, Alberto Fujimori Asks Peru to 'Forgive Me'." But as the Times fails to make clear by not using the full quote, this was a politician-style pseudo-apology of kind we have decried many times before. 

    Compare actual quote, as reported in Peru's Diario Correo: "Soy consciente de que los resultados durante mi gobierno de una parte fueron bien recibidos, pero reconozco, por otro lado, que he defraudado también a otros compatriotas. A ellos les pido perdón de todo corazón." ("I am aware that some of the results of my government were on one hand well-received, but I recognize, on the other side, that some of my compatriots were also disappointed. To them, I ask forgeness with all my heart.") He admits no wrongdoing, only that some Peruvians were "disappointed" in the "results" of his rule.

    Don't fall for these weasel-words.

  2. UN human rights experts denounce Fujimori pardon

    A group of UN human rights experts on Dec. 28 denounced the grant of pardon to Peru's ex-president Alberto Fujimori, calling it a "'slap in the face' to victims of human rights abuses." The statement noted that s international human rights laws restricts the grant of pardons "in cases of serious human rights violations including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances." The statement was released by the The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Ms. Agnès Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and Mr. Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. (Jurist)