News from Lori's Parents

8 November 2002

In this update:

Rhoda visits Lori for her 33rd birthday

Although Lori won't "celebrate"" her 33rd birthday until November 13, Rhoda recently visited her for this occasion and found her in good spirits, despite the five-month rainy season that commenced in Cajamarca. She continues to spend her days reading, writing, knitting or making greeting cards. Hopefully, this will be Lori's last birthday wrongfully spent in a Peruvian prison.

Lori back in the Peruvian news

Worried about a future Inter-American Court decision favoring Lori, the Peruvian government has resorted to "scare tactics" reminiscent of the Fujimori-Montesinos regime. Key Peruvian officials have absurdly declared that the "floodgates" will be opened and hundreds of prisoners will be freed. And Peruvian Justice Minister Fausto Alvarado, trying to "defend the indefensible," claimed that Perú's illegal anti-terrorism legislation, developed by the Fujimori-Montesinos dictatorship to quash opposition as much as to quash terrorism, is "perfectly fine" and he hinted that Perú might withdraw from the jurisdiction of the OAS Court system if the decision by that body favors Lori. Other Peruvian politicians, in an unfortunate and unfounded display of nationalism, urged Perú to withdraw now rather than comply with its international obligations and commitments - such is the new Peruvian democracy!!! Several weeks ago, in our last update, we reported that President Toledo and Foreign Minister Wagner said that Perú would totally comply with the decision of the Court. Now these two Peruvian leaders are conspicuously quiet - perhaps allowing others to speak for them. President Bush will have to remind President Toledo that the government and people of the United States are concerned with Lori Berenson's well-being and expect the government of Perú to comply with the decision of the Court.

Meanwhile, the focus on Lori's case and its ramifications for other political prisoners serves as a smokescreen to cover twenty years of government-sponsored terrorism that has been documented by the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This week the Commission announced that to date 7,618 persons are known to have been "kidnapped and disappeared" over the two decades (1980 - 2000) and the list is still growing. To date, 84.0 % of these acts are known to have been committed by Peruvian military or police, 0.7 % are known to have been committed by rebel groups, and 15.3% were committed by unknown parties.

Senator Paul Wellstone

We want to add our voice to those who have spoken about the untimely death of Senator Paul Wellstone. He was clearly a man who put personal conviction before politics and, whether one agrees or disagrees with his positions, his voice will be truly missed in the coming days as America defines its foreign policy objectives. We will always be grateful for his strong support for Lori, for his speaking on her behalf from the floor of the United States Senate, and for speaking personally with us. We send our heartfelt condolences to his two sons for their horrific loss - a sister, a mother, and a father - and to his extended family of loyal supporters.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson