End-of-Year Letter from Lori Berenson

My Pregnancy is a Blessing for Me

Penal de Huacariz

30 November 2008

Dear friends,

As 2008 and my 13th year in prison come to a close, here I am awaiting my transfer to the maximum security women’s jail in Chorrillos, Lima.

It is indeed sad for me to be leaving Cajamarca after 7 years of beautiful scenery, fresh air and a hospitable community attitude that still prevails to some extent, in spite of the damage done to the "atmosphere" of increased wealth, unaccompanied by local development, due to the presence of giant mining companies.

Although the great mineral wealth is taken out of Cajamarca’s hills, only a small fraction of it trickles down to benefit the area, through the stipulated percentage returned to the local government, additionally to certain jobs temporarily created in the service sector.

The environment met smog, and the water met with many years of contamination with minerals and chemicals. One wonders how bad the contamination of values and of community pride has been.

Worse is to think what will happen once the mineral extraction leaves the hills barren, the water sources contaminated, highways destroyed by the excessively increased transit, when there were and are ways to prevent it.

But, sadly, I will soon leave Cajamarca, due to the need for specialized medical care that I’ll have done once I give birth. My pregnancy is a blessing for me, and motive for much happiness to me and my family.

Although I don’t see the political crisis getting better here, there’s a saying that says "no hay mal que para bien no venga" (there isn’t an evil/bad thing that doesn’t happen for a good reason).

Wishing you all a happy holiday and the best for 2009, for you and our suffered humanity.

In peace,

Lori Berenson

Note: Lori was transferred to Santa Monica de Chorrillos Prison in Lima on the night of 8 January 2009.