News from Lori's Parents

21 March 2000

This is day 1,574 of wrongful incarceration.

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

In this update:

Puffin Foundation honors Lori as a "Heroine of Social Conscience"

The Puffin Cultural Forum, a project of the Puffin Foundation Ltd., selected Lori Berenson for inclusion in its exhibition "Doing it Right: Heroes and Heroines of Social Conscience," honoring those who do the right thing locally, nationally, and internationally.

Lori was among forty men, women, groups, and organizations honored. Other honorees included: Rachel Carson, Cesar Chavez, Dorothy Day, Morris Dees, Jocelyn Elders, Baltazar Garzon, Victor Jara, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., William Kunstler, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Nader, Grace Paley, Rosa Parks, Linus Pauling, Sister Helen Prejean, Randall Robinson, Pete Seeger, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Rev. Lucius Walker. Among the groups and organizations honored were: Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and Rage Against the Machine,

The exhibit's opening celebration and awards ceremony was held March 18 in Teaneck, NJ.

Update on Peruvian happenings

The Peruvian Government promised the international community that its April 9 presidential elections would be "free, clean, and transparent." However, according to monitors from the Organization of American States, the Carter Center for Human Rights, and other international human rights organizations, to date the entire pre-election process has not been satisfactory. In fact, this past week Monsignor Oscar Cantarius Pastor, Archbishop of Piura and Tumbes in northern Perú, said that the election campaign process is the filthiest and most dubious in the history of his country.

The following are the titles of recent articles and editorials that have appeared in newspapers: "Accusations of Fraud Cast a Shadow Over April Vote in Perú," (Miami Herald, March 17); "Fujimori's Dirty Tricks," (Miami Herald, March 15); "Bent on Reelection, Perú's Fujimori Brushes Off Critics," (Los Angeles Times, March 15); and "Opposition, and International Monitors, Crying Foul in Perú's Presidential Campaign," (The New York Times, March 12). These follow "Perú is No Democracy," a recent editorial by Peter Hakim, President of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, DC, (Christian Science Monitor, February 24).

The above titles reflect what has been happening in the electoral process. But a non-independent and corrupted election process is but one blight on the Peruvian record on human rights and democracy. According to the recently released U.S. State Department human rights report, a lack of both separation and balance of power among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches is another blight on the Peruvian record. A third blight on the Peruvian record is the lack of real freedom of expression.

Upcoming events

Thursday, March 23
The CIA will be giving its highest award to a man it fired five years ago for failing to provide truthful information to the U.S. Congress about CIA ties to human rights abuses in Latin America. A vigil protesting CIA questionable practices in Latin America over the past three decades will take place in front of the CIA Building in Langley, VA at 12 noon. A mass will be held for all victims. For more information contact Jennifer Harbury at 512-751-5852 or Sister Dianna Ortiz, Guatemala Human Rights Commission-USA at 202-529-6599 or Email at and read the article "Hardly a Distinguished Career," by Tom Blanton in The Washington Post, March 14; page A17.

Saturday, March 25
Rhoda and Mark Berenson will be speaking at a New York City meeting of WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom) at 777 U.N. Plaza (44th Street and 1st Avenue, 8th Floor) at 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 26
Rhoda and Mark Berenson will be speaking in Montclair, NJ at Congregation Shomeri Emunah, 67 Park Street (at Clairmont Avenue) at 7:30 p.m.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson