News from Lori's Parents

8 February 2004

In this update:

Lori's case tentatively scheduled for first week in May

We have been informed that hearings in Lori's case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica are tentatively scheduled for the first week in May. These hearings are expected to last two full days.

Finally, after more than two years following Lori's vindication by the unanimous decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Perú will be forced to show why it refused to comply with that decision to fully restore Lori's rights and provide her with moral, psychological, and financial compensation.

Call to Action - Phone the White House Wednesdays and Thursdays

Our goal between now and the time of the decision of the Inter-American Court later this year is to constantly remind President Bush and other officials of Lori's plight. To this end, we are urging all supporters to call the White House every Wednesday or Thursday. We will need the U.S. Government to insure Lori's release after the Court decision.

Call the White House Hotline: (202) 456-1111, press "0" or ask for operator. Tell the operator that Lori Berenson has been wrongfully imprisoned in Perú for over 8 years and that President Bush should use the authority of his office to secure her release.

New ambassadors

Last week J. Curtis Struble arrived in Lima to assume the position of U.S. Ambassador. Ambassador Struble, whom we have met, was previously Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and is very knowledgeable about Latin America and Perú. We wish him much success and we truly hope that under his tenure in Perú that Lori will finally be freed.

Eduardo Ferraro Costa, former Peruvian Foreign Minister under the Fujimori-Montesinos regime has been named the new Peruvian Ambassador to the United States. We met Ambassador Ferraro Costa last June in Washington at a seminar on the work of Perú's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. At the time, he was serving as Perú's Ambassador to the OAS and he reiterated to us Perú's declaration that it will abide by the decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Lori's case.

Scandal after scandal: President Toledo's approval rating hits all time low

Attacked by his enemies, surrounded by corruption throughout his administration, and unable to stop making serious political errors, President Toledo's current approval rating is around 7% and more than 90% of the citizens would like him to step down and call for early elections. President Toledo's term of office is due to last until August 2006 but many Peruvian political analysts are stating that unless he changes his cabinet and empowers a number of independents he will not be able to retain office. In December, his popular Prime Minister was forced out of office by her enemies under accusations she was a lesbian, which she denied. Last week, Perú's First Vice President was forced to resign for having given jobs, special tax benefits, and monetary favors to the family of his young girlfriend (whom he allegedly stole from his own son).

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson