Legislators To Back Bill To Block Movadef Registration

Peruvian lawmakers from across the political spectrum said they will approve a bill that would prevent political movements with links to insurgents and other violent groups from becoming registered political parties and participating in local and national elections.

Congressman Yehude Simon of the center-right Alianza por el Gran Cambio alliance said that he will ask the president of parliament to include the bill in the next session.

“If there is a law it has to be approved immediately,” state news agency Andina reported Simon as saying.

Legislator Yohny Lescano of the center Alianza Parlamentaria group said he expects the bill would be approved unanimously, while Alejandro Aguinaga, of Fujimori’s Fuerza 2011 party, also said the bill will help improve current legislation.

The initiative is intended to block the participation of the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights, known as Movadef, from registering as a political party. Movadef has close ties to the Shining Path insurgency, which waged a bloody conflict against the Peruvian state in the 1980s and 1990s which resulted in some 70,000 people being killed.

Alfredo Crespo, Movadef’s subsecretary and lawyer of the jailed founder of the Shining Path, Abimael Guzman, has said that Movadef is seeking a general amnesty for insurgents as well as military and police officers who committed abuses during the internal conflict.

Movadef collected about 350,000 signatures to register as a party, more than double what is required by Peru’s National Election Board.

“In our movement, 30 percent is made up of ex-inmates and 70 percent from youth,” magazine Caretas reported Crespo as saying. “The signatures that we have collected are due to them, the youth.”

Carlos Tapia, a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, CVR, that investigated Peru’s 20-year conflict, said it would be a mistake to allow Movadef to participate in politics.

“You can’t admit a group of people that pretends to sign up as a political group and also say, ‘but I maintain an ideology to destroy democracy’,” said Tapia, until recently an advisor to President Ollanta Humala. “It would be an error.”

Equally critical of any possibility that Movadef be given political status are key left-wing historian Nelson Manrique, sociologist Julio Cotler and congressman Javier Diez-Canseco.

Salomon Lerner Febres, the former head of the CVR, former rector of the Catolica University and well-respected human rights defender, said that opening the door to Movadef would be an “excess.”

“To register Movadef, or any other group that wants to attack the state of law, would be an excess in democracy,” Lerner Febres told daily La Republica.

In its final report, the CVR commission said that the main perpetrator of human rights violations during the 1980s and 1990s was the Shining Path. The group was responsible for the deaths of 54 percent of the victims, the commission found.  A high percentage of the victims were Quechua-speaking peasants, who the Shining Path ostensibly was to free from oppression.

Abimael Guzman, imprisoned since his capture in 1992, has never expressed regret over any of the murders committed and,  in his book De Puño y Letra, considered the attack on Lucanamarca —and the murder with machetes and knives of 70 of its villagers who refused to support Shining Path— merely collateral damage of the conflict.   

The executive secretary of the Human Rights Coordinator, Rocio Silva-Santisteban, is asking the Ministry of Education to include the history of the Shining Path in school curricula in order to remember the country’s history, a suggestion that is echoed by Cecilia Blondet, executive director of the national council on public ethics, Proetica.  Blondet suggests a coordinated effort by the ministers of Education and Justice to ensure that school texts include the facts about the damage caused by terrorism in 1980-2000 in Peru.

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