News from Lori's Parents

1 July 2009

In this update:

Lori and Salvador are Doing Well - Considering the Circumstances

Today Salvador is 8 weeks old. Lori says he has a very round face with several chins and is very, very cute and kissable. We have been to Perú to see him and we agree!!!! The stark prison surroundings in which Lori and Salvador live are mitigated by the closeness that they share and the relationship they are forming. The smile on Lori's face and the utter joy in her voice at what she describes as her "blessing" more than compensate for lack of heat, light and ambiance in the small cell in which they live.

The Riverdale Press Editorial Calls for Lori's Release

Riverdale is a New York City community bordering the neighborhood in which Lori was born. On May 28th, The Riverdale Press editorial "Prisoner of Conscience" argued for Lori's immediate release and urged readers to contact President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton on this matter.

The Riverdale Press editorial commented on the diplomatic efforts of the Obama administration that contributed to the recent release of a U.S. citizen from trumped up charges in Iran but lamented that the Obama administration has not made the same efforts on Lori's behalf. As the local Riverdale Congressman Eliot Engel (the Chair of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee) was quoted in the editorial: "It's enough already."

Lori has been wrongfully imprisoned in Perú for 13 years and 7 months and, as in the case in Iran and in a current case of two U.S. citizen journalists imprisoned in North Korea, she also has been used as a "political football." Perhaps the big difference is that Iran and North Korea are countries considered antagonistic to the U.S. while Perú is a country that even under the Fujimori dictatorship was considered an ally.

Please read the full editorial.

Continued Call to Action

Now that Lori has recovered from her Caesarian-section delivery she will be consulting with neurosurgeons about spinal surgery. There is much concern over the prospects for Lori having successful spinal surgery in Perú when post-surgical rehabilitation and physical therapy are so limited in the confines of stark prison facilities.

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton must be reminded of Lori's medical need and Peruvian President Alan Garcia must be urged to return Lori and her baby to the U.S.

Actions: Call the White House and State Department

Please call the White House and the State Department and leave the following brief message: "Lori Berenson has been wrongfully imprisoned in Perú for nearly 14 years. She has serious health issues. The U.S. Government must act to bring Lori and her baby home."

The White House switchboard "hot-line" telephone number is 202-456-1111 or the White House "comment line" telephone number is 202-456-1111.

The State Department telephone number is 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339.

Thank you for your help.

June 2009: A Sad Period for Peruvian Democracy and Hopefully a Better Tomorrow

On a totally separate issue, development in emerging democracies like Perú, which has been in transition since 2001 from a decade of the corrupt Fujimori dictatorship, is sometimes stifled by over-ambitious endeavors coupled with inherent centuries-old prejudices. On June 5th, horrific acts of violence broke out in Perú's northern jungles, tragically resulting in numerous brutal killings and severe injuries to Peruvian soldiers and police and members of the indigenous community. The violence erupted after protest by members of the indigenous community who argued that they did not have enough say in decisions involving the use of the land on which they live. Fortunately, calmness has returned and negotiations have commenced that hopefully will result in an equitable solution to the dispute between the Peruvian government and the citizens of the community.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson