News from Lori's Parents

5 June 2000

This is day 1,650 of Lori's wrongful incarceration.

In this update:

Note: 'Voices Carry,' a benefit play for Lori changes theatres

The 24 * 7 Theatre Company, a teenage company of aspiring actors and writers who are dedicated to giving victims of social injustice a voice, will perform a play about Lori, "Voices Carry." This is a benefit event for Lori, to be held on Friday night, June 9th, at 8:00 pm. The event has been moved to a larger theatre -- The Covenant House, 346 West 17th Street in New York City. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students.

Famed opinion-columnist Mary McGrory writes on Lori

On June 1st, The Washington Post published Mary McGrory's column "Prisoner of Peru." Subsequently, this syndicated column has also appeared in The Boston Globe and other papers throughout the country. Ms. McGrory declares "only a comedian would say she had due process in a Peruvian military court... " and asks "why hasn't the [Clinton] administration made more of a fuss about Lori Berenson?" The entire column appears on the website.

"Ram's Daughters," duet for viola and bass, has world premiere

Yale Strom's "Ram's Daughters," written in honor of Lori and other women political prisoners everywhere, had its world premiere on June 3rd. According to the newspaper The Jewish Week, the eight-minute duet between bassist Mark Dresser and violist Anastasia Heitzler "weaves its way through atonal passages to a very tonal Chasidic melody." The piece was very poignant. In these eight minutes we sensed the torment, the anguish, and the horrors that Lori and other political prisoners face, and woven through are passages expressing hope and tranquility.

Congressional campaign continues

Please keep the calls coming, urging your Senators and Reps to sign the "Dear Colleague" letters. Please check the web site to see if your particular elected officials have signed the respective Senate and House letters.

Peruvian elections: Did Fujimori "win" or "lose to himself"?

As we lobbied in Congress last week for signatures on the "Dear Colleague" letters we sensed a widespread recognition that members of Congress and their staff are angered about the Peruvian elections. The fraudulent runoff campaign became so outrageous that all international monitors withdrew - the Organization of American States, the Carter Center, the National Democratic Institute, the European Union all said the process was so flawed that the elections would be far from free and fair. The opposition candidate, Alejandro Toledo, withdrew because he sensed a fraudulent defeat and he was never given the adequate media coverage that would "level out" the playing field. Fujimori continued to use the media to slander and discredit Toledo and the challenger had no effective way of responding in kind.

Apparently, as reported in recent articles by Roger Attwood (The Nation) and by former U.S. Ambassador to Peru Dennis Jett (Christian Science Monitor), Mr. Fujimori actually "lost to himself!" With no independent monitors validating the ballot counting, Mr. Fujimori allegedly received 51.2% of the votes cast last Sunday. Dr. Toledo had urged his followers to either boycott the elections or go to the polls and mark the ballot "No to Fraud" or turn in a blank ballot. According to the "official" count, 48.8% of the votes cast last Sunday were either for Dr. Toledo, had "No to Fraud" written on them, or were submitted blank. Since voting is mandatory in Peru and failure to vote is punishable by fine, the fact that 19% of registered voters did not bother to go to the polls last Sunday is widely construed as an act of civil disobedience in support of Alejandro Toledo. Therefore Mr. Fujimori has "claimed victory" when he only received support from 42% of all registered voters in Peru. Given there were no international monitors of the ballot count and Fujimori is a master at "dirty tricks," it is reasonable to assume his support base is in fact lower than 42%.

"To be silent in the face of injustice is to be an accomplice to evil. I will not be silent." Lori Berenson, January 2000

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson