Lori Berenson interview with Peruvian Times

Lori Berenson met Monday, Aug. 16, 2010, with Peruvian Times Managing Editor Rick Vecchio and veteran freelance journalist Lucien Chauvin.

The meeting came two hours after Berenson had spoken before a judicial tribunal deciding whether to rescind her parole, threatening to send her back to prison to serve out the remaining five years of a 20-year sentence for  collaboration with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.

For more than an hour Berenson answered questions in English and Spanish, on the condition that her statements would remain Off The Record until and if she was ordered  to return to prison. That order came two days later.

Here is the seven-part interview in English.

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  1. undedr reagan’s puppet fujimori, a japanese representative of multinational corporations bent upon stealiing as much of peru’s resources as possible… fujimori committed massive crimes against humanity, including attempting to exterminate the tupac amaru native peoples of peru… being wiped out by the white rulers… which was defended by saying that the native people’s attempt to defend themselves was ‘terrorist.’ and of course, the terrorist US government under reagan/bush/clinton agreed. hey, fujimori is now in peruvian prison for some of those crimes, isn’t he?

    enter an idealistic young girl from america with a conscience and courage to match who wants to help the native peoples of peru to survive the onslaught. net thing she knows the vicious government of peru throws her into prison for 20 years…

    and we see in the news recently that the govt of peru is charged with the usual vicious human rights offenses and is still bashing their natives who should rise up and destroy the white-ruled state and retake their country from coproate thieves!

    lori, you have had your life ruined by thugs and goons of an authoritarian despotism. you have my prayers and best wishes. their time will come soon. sic semper tyrannis.

    • Vicious human rights are what EE.UU does in a regular basis all over the world, if you are a terrorist here or in Wantanamo Base you are done! very simple, now because u are an American u want special treatment that doesn’t happen any more ok!!

    • Lori, You really need to clean up your act.

      All these years in prison have clearly taken a toll. Somebody please get this girl a media coach. Your rants about Peruvian corruption, strident criticism of their judicial system, none of this is going to get you out of jail.

      Maybe money would do it. But in my experience (limited, admittedly), public opinion has a lot of power. Why rot in jail? What good is that?

      Surely, if you were truly part of some violent organization — in the days when every U.S. youth was a rebel without a cause — no matter how well intentioned, you would regret hurting anyone. You said that loud and clear. But it was ruined by the “if I was”‘s and the “I don’t understand”s. This is not the demeanor of a woman who is going to be set free. You’re just asking to live out the remaining time.

      Your poor mother and father.

      Get with the program. Please. You will get so much more done with your life outside of prison.

      • Aaron Aarons says:

        Catherine lectures Lori:

        “Surely, if you were truly part of some violent organization — in the days when every U.S. youth was a rebel without a cause — no matter how well intentioned, you would regret hurting anyone.”

        Which “violent organization” are you talking about, Catherine? Lori Berenson never joined the U.S. Killitary, nor did she, AFAIK, join either the Democratic or Republican party, the two major civilian support organizations for that murder gang. Nor did she, like some well-paid thugs from the U.S., go to countries like Peru to aid and abet their criminal governments against their poor and working-class people.

        So tell us, Catherine: Do you give similar smug lectures about regretting hurting anyone to those real murderers?

  2. Richard Kadas says:

    What an excellent interview. It probed and answered the key question about why she became involved even peripherally with the MRTA. The answer sounded completely believable. In my own experience that the people going into a danger zone who get injured, or arrested were those who did not thoroughly comprehent the danger they faced. The interview permitted the listener to understand her thinking and her speech pattern. This without a doubt has revealed the real Lori Berenson beneath the cardboard image created by the press

  3. Am deeply moved by Lori and her stand for truth. She has made a strong stand and paid a very high price. Prison has kept her body but her mind is free.

  4. Lori has been imprisoned for being a free thinker. She is paying the price for liberty of the mind.

  5. Seth Farber,. says:

    But Lori is not only the victim of the totalitarian regime but of the Peruvian people of the country who hate her and have demanded she be shown no mercy. The Peruvian government in this case is completely supported by the people of Peru –otherwise they might very well have released Lori. Surporisingly to me, sadly, the people in Peru are even more benighted than the right-wing nativists in the US. …These people in the country hasve the same mentality as Nazi storm troopers, of fascist shock troops, of a lynch mob, of Klansmen. . Like good Germans they hate the alien, the vulnerable, the stranger. And they worship the powerful, their oppressors.. .

  6. I am part of the generation of Peruvians who grew up during the civil war of Peru, last century. I am from the Andes but also I grew up in Lima. Most of the violence in those years occurred in the Andean regions, long before Lima even cared.

    The Peruvian civil war was truly a genocide of Indigenous peoples as a result of mass massacres of all the forces involved, like those that still occur today. At the end of the war, the conservative elites of Lima were stronger, the progressive and Indigenous movements were destroyed, the people of Peru were traumatized.

    Lori Berenson didn’t kill a single Peruvian. But the manipulated media serving the oligarchy converted the name of Lori Berenson into a synonymous of the civil war. The conservative groups of Peru used this war as an excuse to abuse and oppress anyone who they accused of being “terrorists”.

    In that war, more than 70,000 people died in the hands of the Shining Path (Maoist) and the MRTA (Marxist) guerrilla groups. But especially Peruvians were victims of the abuses of right-wing paramilitary death squads, and the Peruvian military and police.

    There are still 15,000 people missing from that war, mostly caused by clandestine massacres of Indigenous rural peoples, students, union organizers and politicians, and in most cases executed by the Peruvian government forces.

    Lori Berenson didn’t kill anyone. Unlike the current president Alan Garcia who ordered the brutal assassination of thousands of civilians in his two terms, more recently in Bagua in 2009. Lori Berenson supported the MRTA with logistics, she wasn’t even a MRTA member and she already spent 15 years in several Peruvian prisons for her crime in the most horrendous conditions. She deserves to be freed.

    As a friend of several victims of this war, I can assure you that most of the violence of the Peruvian civil war was not caused by the guerrilla groups. As a matter of fact, the MRTA guerrilla only caused 1.8% of the casualties according to the “elitist” and White-only Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru.

    No, I’m not defending the violence of the guerrilla groups (called terrorists by the terrorist Peruvian State), nor I’m excusing Lori Berenson’s mistakes. Instead, I’m protesting the abusive Judiciary system of Peru, because it’s influenced by the conservatives and rich elites of Lima and the corrupted Executive power. They are using the Lori Berenson case to promote strong-handed Fujimori style candidates for the 2011 Presidential elections.

    It’s simple, the government of bloody killer Alan Garcia and his right-wing allies are using this case to promote the presidential candidacy of corrupted Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of the terrorist dictator Alberto Fujimori.

    Lori Berenson is not a threat to anyone, much less to Peruvians. Unlike the highly corrupted right-wing Peruvian politicians.

    Lori Berenson went to Peru with the hope of helping Peruvians to overcome the inhuman, racist -and horrendously abusive- government system that oppresses most of Peruvians, even today.

    She made a mistake and she has already paid for it with 15 years of her life, spent in the most inhuman prisons of Peru. She is an ill and weakened 40 y.o. mother who wants to move on with her life and raise her newborn son. Lori Berenson deserves her liberty back.

    This is a matter of true justice and clemency.

    Please take action:
    Consider contacting the White House, U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of State, and the Peruvian Embassy in Washington, DC.

    Contact President Barack Obama

    Write to the White House website

    According to 22 USC Section 1732, President Obama is obligated to act on Lori’s behalf. It is important to urge him to act now! You may send a letter or fax to the White House, or voice your support by telephone. We’ve provided a sample letter, or you may write your own.

    The Honorable Barack Obama
    President of the United States
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Washington, D.C. 20500

    Telephone: (202) 456-1111 (when instructed, press 0 for a hotline operator)
    Fax: (202) 456-2461

    Contact your U.S. Senator and Representative

    Remind your Senators and Representative of Lori’s case. Ask them to urge President Obama to act on Lori’s behalf. They listen to their constituents!

    Find your Senator here

    Find your U.S. House Representative here

    U.S. Department of State

    Write a letter to Hillary Clinton.

    Hillary R. Clinton
    U.S. Department of State
    Washington, DC 20520
    http:// contact-us.state.gov/cgi-bin/state.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php

    Embassy of the United States to Peru
    Avenida La Encalada cdra. 17 s/n
    Surco, Lima 33, Peru
    Telephone: (51-1) 618-2000
    Fax: (51-1) 618-2397

    Congress of Peru
    President of Congress, Javier Velásquez-Quesquén
    jvelasquezq @ congreso. gob. pe

    Peru’s President Alan García
    Palacio de Gobierno
    Jirón de la Unión S/N 1 cda
    Lima 1, PERU

    Public Ombudsman Office of Peru
    centrodeatencionvirtual @ defensoria. gob.pe

  7. Catherine, I hate cliches, and \get with the program\ and \clean up your act\ are lame. Just what is the program? Please woman have some sympathy. Lori has been in these horrible prisons for a fraction short of 15 years. What more do you want! Do you realize that the very people who put her there are now incarcerated. what a crazy place!

  8. Vincent Tufano says:

    Lori Berenson’s continued imprisonment is a reflection of the Great Fear that continues to exist not only in Peru but in much of South America as well: i.e., the pervasive fear by of being dispossessed by the lower classes and revolutionary groups who claim to support them. Many in the Peruvian upper class still consider Pinochet one of the great heroes of the twentieth century and do not want to have anyone like Lori in their midst. Happily for them,they can find many within the dispossessed classes, such as those who were adversely affected by Sendero’s atrocities during the 90s,to support their hatred for this foreigner. Mercy for Lori Berenson? Not likely.

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