News from Lori's Parents

24 January 2005

In this update:

Visit With Lori

Mark recently visited with Lori and found her in remarkably good spirits following the crushing and unanticipated disappointment of the prior month. She had just completed an enormous baking project for the holidays that provided Christmas panetones to both the prison and neighboring local Cajamarca community. She was encouraged by learning that former Peruvian Prime Minister Javier Valle-Riestra had published an article criticizing the Inter-American Court for its shameful capitulation to Peruvian political pressure in her case and the grave injustice it causes her. She was also pleased to learn of similar remarks from Waldo Albarracin Sanchez, Ombudsman (Defender of the People) of Bolivia who was equally upset by the Inter-American Court's failure to protect Lori's human rights.

In an upbeat fashion, she spoke about wanting to continue her formal education from within the prison so that she will be better able to contribute to society after her eventual release. Unfortunately, prisoners don't have access to the internet and on-line course work has largely replaced correspondence courses. In the meantime, she spoke of various socio-political books on Latin America that she wanted to reread.

Lori wanted to express her heartfelt appreciation for all your support and encouragement over the years. She asked that the following message be sent.

New Year's Message From Lori

January 2005

Dear Friends,

I hope the holiday season and the start of this new year have been good for you, and I want to let you know how grateful I am to receive your interest and support, during all of the years.

A month has gone by since the Inter-American Court favored the Peruvian government in the sentence on my case, which marked a new tendency for this Court in the "post 9-11" international context. It's politics, really, the topic of "terrorism" and who is deemed a terrorist all depends on who is today's "good guy" or "bad guy."

In a "hate letter" that I just received, I was "congratulated" because the international court confirmed that I was a terrorist. As ironical as it may sound, I'm not sure I mind being depicted as such by those who torture prisoners at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, or by those who bomb cities to the ground (or approve of it happening), or by those who, in general, act upon racist and classist feeling of "superiority" as compared to others. Since they gave me the denomination, well, who cares even.

It seems this jail stay will stretch out quite a bit more; however, the world continues to be much wider than the cement and iron that enclose prisoners, and with or without the physical presence of all of those who have been forced into this strange exile from the world, I'm convinced that many others continue working to make this world a better place.

My best to you,

Lori Berenson

Lori's Letter to Human Rights Community and Community of Scholars

Lori also sent a letter to the 50+ human rights organizations in the Western Hemisphere who supported her case with an Amicus Curiae to the Inter-American Court last April and to the 100+ community of academics, writers and artists from around the world who signed a letter on her behalf during her trial in 2001 in Lima and then again to the Court this past November. The letter thoroughly assesses the Inter-American Court's capitulation to Peruvian politics and the problems faced in Peru today.

Bergen Record Runs Series of Op Eds on Lori's Case

A January 12 op ed by James Ahearn supporting the Court decision in Lori's case was severely lacking in facts and resulted in several letters to the editor, pro and con. On January 21, the paper presented two independently written op eds, one by Mark and another by Gary Handschumacher.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson