News from Lori's Parents
24 July 1997In this update:
- Mark and Rhoda Berenson visit Lori in Yanamayo
- U.S. Senate Amendment to Appropriations Bill limits Military Education and Training Assistance to Perú
- U.S. Congress to Urge Secretary Albright to Intervene in Lori's Case
- Political Unrest in Perú
Mark and Rhoda Berenson visit Lori in Yanamayo
We saw Lori this past weekend. She remains psychologically strong and amazingly upbeat considering the harshness of prison life. We brought her antibiotics that we hope will alleviate a two month lingering sore throat and laryngitis and medicated hand cream to help her dry, cut hands. We will be visiting again on August 23 and at least one of us (Mark, Rhoda or Kathy) will go every 4 to 6 weeks. As of now, the US Embassy expects to visit only once every 3 or 4 months.
U.S. Senate Amendment to Appropriations Bill limits Military Education and Training Assistance to Perú
On the home front -- The July 16 Congressional Record details an amendment to a Senate appropriations bill to limit military education and training assistance for Perú "unless the President certifies to Congress that the Government of Perú is taking all necessary steps to ensure that United States citizens held in prisons in Perú are accorded timely, open and fair legal proceedings in civilian courts." The discussion of this amendment, by Senator Leahy of VT, includes a description of Lori's case.
U.S. Congress to Urge Secretary Albright to Intervene in Lori's Case
Letters to Secretary of State Albright to take action in Lori's case will be circulating in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Because members of Congress are bogged down with appropriations bills right now, and will be recessing in 10 days, our major push for signatures on these letters will be in September when Congress reconvenes. We will be asking for your help at that time.
Political Unrest in Perú
President Fujimori has seen his approval ratings diminsh from 70% following the resolution of the Lima hostage crisis three months ago to 17% this week. Recent editorials in The NY Times and Washington Post are critical of his authoritarian, anti-democratic policies and, for the first time in his seven years in office, there have been massive demonstrations and marches against the government -- aimed at promoting a free press, more jobs, less military inferference, and greater democracy. In the past three months the Peruvian public has been outraged over the following events:
- the brutal murder of one former Army Intelligence Officer and the torture of another who has managed to point a finger of massive corruption, human rights abuses, and election fraud at the Fujimori government;
- the random beatings and intimidation of journalists and media personnel;
- the removal of three Constitutional judges who ruled against President Fujimori's effort to run for a third consecutive five-year term which supercedes Constitutional limits;
- the persecution of Baruch Ivcher Bronstein, owner of a Peruvian TV station, who had demonstrated widespread government corruption; and
- the disclosure of wiretapping by Intelligence forces against Peruvian Cabinet ministers, members of the Peruvian Congress, opposition party leaders, the New York Times, and other media facilities.