News from Lori's Parents

22 November 2000

This is day 1,820 of Lori's wrongful incarceration in Perú.

In this update:

Fujimori is fired -- disgraced dictator sacked for "moral incapacity"

After ten hours of debate, last night the Peruvian Congress refused to accept the resignation of Alberto Fujimori from a Tokyo hotel hideout, called him a coward, and fired him on grounds of "moral incapacity" by a stunning vote of 62 to 9 with 9 abstentions. The other 40 members of Congress, mostly Fujimori loyalists, left the building before the vote. It marked the first time in Peruvian history that congress had removed a president on such grounds.

Reverend Jesse Jackson urges Perú's new government to release Lori

Stating that the current political turmoil in Perú threatens to prolong Lori's imprisonment, yesterday the Reverend Jesse Jackson renewed his moral appeal to the new leadership of Perú to release Lori and not let her "get caught up in the internal politics of Perú." Requesting permission to travel to Perú to meet with Lori, Reverend Jackson stated that "as we approach this holy season, I also pray that the new leadership in Perú will use the powers and good graces of their offices to bring an end to a grave injustice and send Ms. Berenson home. It is the right thing to do, and the eyes of the world are fixed on Perú and its new leadership."

Boston Globe editorial calls for Lori's release

Yesterday The Boston Globe published a powerful editorial "After Fujimori," applauding the demise of the Fujimori dictatorship, deploring past US government support for him and a host of other Latin American dictators and thugs (including in El Salvador), and calling for the US government to demand the release of Lori Berenson. The complete text of this editorial appears here.

December issue of the Catholic Worker publishes Lori's May 6 letter

While Lori was imprisoned at Socabaya she was receiving copies of The Catholic Worker sent to her directly by the newspaper. In May, as part of a harassment campaign, the Peruvian prison authorites refused to permit her to receive this newspaper. Lori then wrote a letter to the editor in which she stated that she was sure that Perú's refusal to permit the newspaper "is an indication that there is too much justice and reason in the pages of The Catholic worker, not only in the articles with respect to spirituality and religious concepts but also in those of a social context."" She ended the letter "With full confidence that the future will be one of increased justice for a suffering humanity." The complete text of the letter appears below.

The Catholic Worker, December 2000, Page 5

"Prisoner in Perú"

[We received the following letter from Lori Berenson, who is being held in prison in Perú. The letter was written in Spanish and stamped Revisado by the prison authorities. Eds. Note.]

May 6, 2000

Esteemed friends of The Catholic Worker newspaper:

By means of this letter, I greet you gracious people who have sent me your publication without charge during these four and a half years of isolated incarceration in the Peruvian prisons, where I am completing a life sentence that a faceless military tribunal sentenced me to in a summary trial. I am completely innocent of the charges against me.

At present, I find myself isolated and almost incommunicado, and at the same time, in these last days, I have been slandered, defamed, and almost condemned again in the press by government officials and by the political opposition of the second electoral round in Perú. As luck would have it, your paper just arrived, but to further deepen my isolation, and because of vindictive abuses against my person, the Peruvian government decided that according to their regulations the newspaper would no longer be allowed.

With this, as well as prohibiting the entrance of books [written by Rigoberta Menchu Tum, an author] receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and other similar books, they are trying to apply the idea of apology for terrorism, not only to Nobel Prize-winner's books, but also to [literature pertaining to] Jesus Christ Himself.

The fact that they can't stand the idea of defending the poorest, the fact that institutionalized injustice is something that prevails, and therefore everything that is contrary puts in danger legal justifications so absurd that they harshly affect not only the prison system but the entire country, is something that should fill you with pride. This is because it is an indication that there is too much justice and reason in the pages of The Catholic Worker, not only in the articles with respect to spirituality and religious concepts but also in those of a social context.

With full confidence that the future will be one of increased justice for a suffering humanity, I close now.


Lori Berenson

Nationwide events to commemorate 5th anniversary of Lori's imprisonment

At 6 pm on Thursday evening November 30, which marks exactly five years to the moment of Lori's arrest, Congresswoman Maxine Waters of CA will be among the speakers at the Washington DC gathering in the Methodist Building, 110 Maryland Avenue NE. At 4:30 pm Saturday afternoon December 2, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of NY will join other speakers at the New York City gathering in the Seafarer's and International House, 123 East 15th Street. Please join us at these events -- there will be live music and refreshments and a statement from Lori will be read.

A listing of other upcoming events appears at the bottom of the home page of our website

A Thanksgiving note

We wish you and your loved ones a joyous Thanksgiving Holiday. We are truly thankful for your help and support that have sustained us these past five years.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson