Truth Commission Report Could Be Added To Curricula In 2013 – Minister

Education Minister Patricia Salas said Monday that in 2013 the government may begin to include information in school curricula from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report on Peru’s bloody 1980-2000 internal conflict, newspaper El Comercio reported.

Salas said the violence perpetrated by the Maoist Shining Path insurgency is part of the country’s contemporary history, which should be known by all students.

“We need children to know history, so it is not repeated again,” Salas said. “That means the formation of citizen values, it means deepening the capacity for dialogue, to learn mutual respect, the rule of law, and those aspects are part of the current teaching agenda in Peru and we are going to strengthen them.”

Salas said that “all sources of information” on the conflict will be considered for curricula, and not just the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

About 70,000 people were killed in Peru during the 1980s and 1990s, when the Shining Path launched a full-out attack aimed at bringing the state to its knees. In its final report, the CVR commission found that the main perpetrator of human rights violations during that period 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.

The issue of teaching Peruvian students today about the violence has made headlines in recent days following an attempt by the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights, known as Movadef, to register as a political party. Movadef has close ties to the Shining Path, as its leader, Alfredo Crespo, is the lawyer for the insurgency’s founder, Abimael Guzman.

Movadef collected enough signatures to register, but politicians, analysts and members of the judiciary have called for blocking the group from becoming a party because it supports Guzman’s teachings, known as the Pensamiento Gonzalo.

About 70 percent of the some 350,000 signatures that Movadef collected were from youths. As a result, many well-known civil society members in Peru have come out in recent days calling for the government to ensure that school texts include the facts about the damage caused by terrorism in 1980-2000.

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  1. Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide says:

    While it is true that 54% of all deaths during the insurgencey came from members of the Shining Path (a Maoist group), what is left in the shadows is that 46% of all murders were committed by far-right extremists, including La Colinas and the goon-squad of Fujimori favorite Vladimiro Ilyich Montesinos Torres (head of Perú’s Intelligence Agency). The students and professors slaughtered at La Cantuta have, rightfully, been given a memorial in Jesus-Maria, but far-right politicians, such as Martha Chavez, have vowed to destroy it, with Chavez arguing that she would tear it down with her “bare hands”.

    To excuse the far right and the duplicity of the Fujimori dictatorship (including the rewriting of the Peru Constitution, led by Martha Chavez) is as great an insult to the people of Perú as is the “softening” of the crimes of the Shining Path. Congresista Chavez role and that of the Fujimoris must be place along-side of the carnage of Shining Path or there is no true history for future generations to study.

    As a professor in Perú, I teach my students both sides–as is required of serious scholarship, and note the grievious faults of the Fujimoris (Alberto who in 1991 established Comités de auto defensa, Keiko, etc) and Martha Chavez along with those crimes of Abimael Guzmán and his gang of cut-throats who followed Óscar Ramírez. Fujimori has been tried and found guilty of is crimes against humanity, but Martha Chavez remains in Congress free to spread vile and untruths. Her liberty is as inane and insane as that of members of Shining Path who promised to work for the peasants and landless, then ruthlessly slaughtered both.

    The Truth Commission Report is not a serious work. Both sides are not given equal treatment. A better report must be written–and that incorporated into the history texts of Perú. It is time to try Martha Chavez and her group for their role in abusing basic civil rights, rewriting the Constitution to grant the dictator Fujimori a lifetime opportunity to rule as a dictator, and denounce those who exposed her duplicity.

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