President García: Lori Berenson no longer poses a threat

Lori Berenson’s imprisonment for terrorist collaboration could be coming to an end after President Alan García told CNN on Tuesday night that he does not consider the New York native a threat to Peruvian society and expressed pity for her baby son who was born behind bars.

“She has a little baby. That moves me very much. Secondly, she is not a threat to Peru,” García told CNN’s Luis Carlos Vélez. “How much fear should Peru have of a woman who has already served 15 years in prison, who has a little baby boy? I see neither the reason why that should create an issue that divides us, nor create fear among the population.”

Berenson, who was convicted of aiding the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement in a thwarted plot to seize Peru’s Congress in 1995, was released with her baby last May. But she sent back to prison last month after an appeals court ruled her conditional release was flawed because police had failed to confirm where she would be living while out on parole in Lima.

García hinted strongly that he plans to commute the remaining five years of Berenson’s sentence and send her home to the United States.

“The president has the authority at certain times to lower the penalty and expel the person,” García said. “There are some people who are very angry and want her punished to the very last day. But you can’t live life angry because he who holds in rancor ends up hurting himself. That’s something I have thought for a long time. So I am going to have to see.”

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  1. lori berenson has only served 15 years which is nothing like the anguish of the victims of her and her associates, she choose to have a baby in jail so remove it and bring it up in normal society, is she a threat to peru ?? well there is always a risk , 70 000 people died in this conflict many completely innocent so what right has she to her life i feel now is a good time to publicly hang her and finish this whole episode, she was involved in terrorism and she has blood on her hands not matter what , think of the victims they had rights to , when she behaved this way ,to me she gave up her rights, dont sell out the relatives of the victims so easily her punishment is not enough she owes peru much more

  2. Flor de Maria Holmes says:

    President Garcia: You said “But you can’t live life angry because he who holds in rancor ends up hurting himself” Do you dare say that to the thousands and thousands of people who lost their families due to her actions? How many family members did you lose?
    You have the right to your personal feelings but you have the duty to know how we Peruvians feel about Ms. Berenson. Have you forgotten what she did to our country and the terror we lived through? Were you even in the country on those days when we were terrified of being “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and be blown into pieces? I am embarrased by your words–please remember to keep your opinions personal, and remember you are still the president and represent our nation and its feelings.
    Nobody wants her to stay in jail one more day beyond her sentence–but not one day less either.

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