A Radio For The MRTA!
17, 1996, a commando of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) occupied
the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, the capital of Peru. With
their action, the guerrillas were demanding the release of all their political
prisoners, as well as those persons falsely accused by the state of being
MRTA members. At present, more than 400 MRTA political prisoners are being
held in inhumane conditions in Peruvian jails. Sentenced to life in prison
by special courts, existence for these prisoners is virtually like being
The MRTA's action also drew attention to the neo-liberal policies of the Fujimori government and its catastrophic consequences for the people of Peru. For years, the MRTA has waged an armed struggle to better Peruvian society. The spectacular occupation of the embassy in Lima made it impossible for Fujimori to continue to deny the MRTA's existence.
In order to insure that after the embassy occupation a possibility exists for counter-information to inform the people of Peru about political developments and the revolutionary struggle, the revolutionary movement needs a form of mass media. In Europe, a campaign has been launched by the German organization Anti-Fascist Action (AA/BO) to support the struggle of the MRTA, namely to directly finance a radio transmitter for the movement. To do this, the support of many political groups and initiatives is needed.
Following the elections of 1990, which were won by Fujimor and his party "Cambio 90" (Change 90), the social situation in Peru worsened dramatically. Fujimori made grand promises before his election: he would not submit to the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he would end political and judicial corruption, and he promised to stop the dirty war being waged by the forces of repression against popular organizations, the people's movement, and the guerrilla. But these promises were all lies.
Fujimori's government pushed through an economic policy of neo-liberalism: The ownership of natural resources as well as key state industries were privatized. He was aided in this by the World Bank and the IMF, which set the guidelines for the privatizations. The "opening and adapting" of the economy to the demands of the world market led to cutbacks in the social sector (education, health, food support subsidies, etc.), massive layoffs, and a freeze on loans. The Fujimori government also paved the way for foreign investment, primarily from Japan and the USA.
The result of these economic policies, for example the
overnight ten-fold increase in food prices, led to a mass migration into
Peru's cities. The poor neighborhoods and slums grew dramatically, and
soon became home to more than 60% of Lima's inhabitants. According to figures
release by the United Nations, approximately 13 million of Peru's ca. 22
million people live in absolute poverty, and 7 million live well below
the poverty line.
On April 5, 1992, President Fujimori dissolved Congress, suspended the country's Constitution, and declared that he would rule via martial law for the next year and a half. He had the military occupy radio and TV stations and gave the military full control over the prisons. Opposition politicians were arrested and their offices were closed, as were the offices of labor unions and popular organizations. The people called this move the "Fujigolpe", adding the Spanish word for putsch ( golpe'), to Fujimori's name. Fujimori's government granted special powers to the military, police, and special units. Special laws were enacted to crack down on insurrection, for example allowing people to be sentenced in speedy trials in front of masked judges, and adding the death penalty to crimes such as subversion and treason. These are violations of international human rights accords which Peru itself is signatory to. So it's no surprise that the number of political prisoners in Peru has jumped during the past four years to well over 9,000. At the same time as these special laws went into effect, state terrorism was unleashed against the population. The government developed an effective campaign of psychological fear and intimidation. For example, joint operations were carried out by the police and military in certain neighborhoods and against entire villages, during which all houses were searched and data on the inhabitants was stored in the archives of the secret service. Anyone could be arrested without charge during these raids. This is what led to scores of people "disappearing".
The Peruvian Media
The "Fujigolpe" led to massive restrictions on freedom of expression in Peru. A new "Law Against Lies And Justifying Terrorism" was introduced, leading to the imprisonment of more than 60 journalists. A complete media ban was enforced to prevent any reports of guerrilla activity or actions by the popular movement against Fujimori's policies, and only false reports of "acts of terrorism by the guerrilla" were broadcast. This explains the reports of the alleged murder of campesinos by the MRTA, attacks which in reality never took place. Such disinformation has been part of Fujimori's strategy for years to discredit the politics of the MRTA and create uncertainty in the population. Leftist organizations have tried via their own publications to counteract this disinformation, but a lack of money and resources, as well as constant repression, have made this task difficult. In addition to print media, there are pirate radio stations operated by the guerrilla in the zones they control, and these are one means of clarifying things to the population and calling for armed struggle.
A Radio For The MRTA
To effectively counteract the politics of lies about the guerrilla, the movement needs its own media. Having their own radio would be a big step forward. It would report about actions by the guerrilla, leftist politics, and propagate revolutionary struggle. The radio would also allow the journalists thrown into prison after Fujimori's 1992 laws to do their job, because they are not allowed to work for the government-controlled media. An attempt will be made to have this radio station operate on a legal basis. Because of the high costs of such a project, Anti-Fascist Action (AA/BO) is organizing a European-wide campaign to finance the radio. Of course, not just financial support, but also political support is needed to make this project work. The project has already received support from an information network of Latin American and Italian radio stations.
Join The Campaign!
You can support the campaign with the name of your political organization or initiative. Your name and emblem can then appear on the support poster. Also, please spread the word about this campaign! The organizers are asking for a donation of 50 German marks for the cost of 50 posters. Further posters and pamphlets can be ordered as well. All orders and signatures of support are being handled at the following address:
Autonome Antifa (M)
c/o Buchladen Rote Strasse
Solidarity Bank Account
Europeans can donate to the campaign "A Radio For The MRTA!" as follows:
Stichwort - Key word: "Das schweigen brechen"
Konto - Account number: 100 700 368
Bank: Sparkasse Gottingen
BLZ - Routing number: 260 500 01
A Brief History Of The MRTA
The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) are part of a long tradition of anti-colonial liberation struggles. They see themselves as a organization of the people, and they stress the importance of working together with other organizations such as trade unions, workers' groups, students, and peasants.
The goal of this cooperation is the creation of a popular front movement, on the basis of which a new, socialist society will be created. The MRTA feels that this goal cannot be achieved through parliamentary politics alone, which is why the organization went underground shortly after it was founded and began forming armed units. The economic vision of the MRTA is a mixed economy based on communal planning. This would allow for limited private ownership, but an emphasis would be placed upon communal ownership.
1984: The MRTA is founded by organizations from the radical-left,
including the MTA and the MIR-IV.
1985: The pirate radio station "November 4" broadcasts MRTA communiques and calls for the people to boycott the elections and support the armed struggle.
February 1987: The MRTA occupies seven radio stations in Lima and reads a communique against the increasing militarization of the society.
July 1988: An MRTA commando kidnaps retired air force
general and businessman Garcia.
October 1988: The MRTA commandeers a truck full of chickens and distributes the food to striking miners.
February 1989: Police arrest MRTA leader Victory Polay and imprison him in Canto Grande prison in Lima.
April 28, 1989: The military surrounds a large MRTA unit. After heavy fighting, which included air force bombings, the guerrillas were captured and executed that same day on the orders of the commanding officer. Around 62 people, including 20 civilians, were murdered by the military.
End of the 1980s: The MRTA becomes increasingly active in rural areas. In the San Martin department, a strong popular movement against the central government in Lima has been formed.
January 9, 1990: An MRTA commando shoots former Defense Minister E. Lopez Albujar, the man who ordered the April 28, 1989 execution of MRTA prisoners.
July 1990: Victor Polay and 46 other comrades escape from Canto Grande prison via a 315 meter long tunnel.
April 1992: A leading member of the MRTA, Peter Cardenas Schulte, is arrested.
May 1992: The police raid a computer center of the MRTA and gain important information about the movement's internal structure.
June 10, 1992: Victor Polay is arrested again.
November 30, 1995: After Fujimori has declared victory over terrorism and the death of the MRTA, 30 Tupac Amaristas are arrested after a plot to occupy the Peruvian Congress, holding its members hostage in exchange for jailed MRTA militants, was foiled.
December 17, 1996: An MRTA commando occupies the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, under the slogan "Breaking the silence! The people want them free!", and take all the guests at a reception in honor of Japan's Emperor hostage. Most of the hostages are soon released, but the commando continued to hold 72 people, including the brother of President Alberto Fujimori, several generals and heads of police divisions, Peru's Foreign Minister, Supreme Court judges, Members of Congress from the ruling party, and the Ambassadors from Japan and Bolivia.
April 22, 1997: A raid is launched on the embassy compound by American-trained Peruvian special forces. All 14 members of the MRTA's "Commando Edgar Sanchez", including the group's leader Nestor Cerpa, are executed. Their bodies are never shown to the public or to their families.
Struggle Against Neo-Liberalism!
Neo-liberalism is not a new form of capitalist economics.
Neo-liberal policies, which have been brutally practiced for decades by
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, are a form of
imperialist exploitation. The term "liberal" confuses many people, since
it is often associated with progressive politics. But freedom under neo-liberalism
is not for people, rather for capital. The function of the state is to
be reduced to providing internal and external security. All forms of social
policy are to disappear, since they degrade the conditionsfor capital and
create regional disadvantages with respect to the world market. Without
regard for the effects on the population, budgets are slashed, cut, and
rationalized away. Neo-liberalism is a modern day form of Manchester capitalism.
These days, there is increasing competition between states in the interests
of international capital. Even the "welfare states" among the industrialized
nations are seeking to secure their competitiveness by slashing social
programs. In the so-called Third World, for example in Latin America, these
policies, with all their catastrophic consequences, are a continuing form
of imperialist exploitation.
MRTA News On The Internet
MRTA Solidarity Page:
News in German:
Source: Autonome Antifa (M)
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