Senate Joint Resolution 43 threatens Perú

On 28 March Senator Paul Coverdell (R-GA) offered Senate Joint Resolution 43, expressing the sense of Congress that the President of the United States should encourage free and fair elections and respect for democracy in Perú and should notify the Peruvian Government that it is running the risk of facing economic and political sanctions. The resolution was cosponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jesse Helms (R-NC), Mike DeWine (R-OH), and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI).

The resolution reads: "Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it is the sense of Congress that the President of the United States should promptly convey to the President of Perú that if the April 9, 2000 elections are not deemed by the international community to have been free and fair, the United States will modify its political and economic relations with Perú, including its support for international financial institutions and loans to Perú, and will work with other democracies in this hemisphere and elsewhere toward a restoration of democracy in Perú."

After Senator Coverdell spoke on the floor of the Senate and read his resolution, Senator Leahy spoke, ending with the following statement (see Congressional Record--Senate, March 28, 2000, page S1826:

"Finally, I want to express my personal concern about Lori Berenson, who was convicted by a Peruvian military court and sentenced to life in prison. The United States Government, other governments, Amnesty International and other independent human rights groups, have all concluded that she was denied due process. I and others have called for her release or trial by a civilian court in accordance with international standards. Innocent or guilty, every person deserves a fair trial, and I would hope that a country that professes to respect human rights would recognize the obvious - that Ms. Berenson's conviction was a miscarriage of justice."