Canada-Philippines Solidarity Organization joins the international call for the release of Dr. Abimael Guzmán Reynoso, also known as Gonzalo, a former leader of the Communist Party of Peru which has led a decades long people’s war against the comprador Peruvian state subservient to US imperialism.
He was arrested as part of the intense state repression against the revolutionary forces and the Peruvian masses led by Peru’s then-president, fascist Alberto Fujimori who is responsible for countless human rights abuses including the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people, particularly Indigenous, poor, rural women. As a result of this repression, Gonzalo has been a prisoner since 1992 and kept in solitary confinement ever since his imprisonment began in a maximum security prison at the Callao Naval Base. He is 86 years old, and was recently diagnosed with skin cancer.
As supporters of the national democratic movement in the Philippines, we are well aware of the state repression faced by progressive and revolutionary movements. Activists in the Philippines face red-tagging and extra-judicial killings, while people involved in the armed struggle are often murdered outside of the rules of war.
Chairman Gonzalo’s first trial occurred in a military court under the Fujimori dictatorship. With his conviction voided by Peru’s constitutional court, he had a second trial in a soundproof court with no media. Two of the three judges at this trial resigned after declaring conflicts of interest. He was only finally convicted at a third trial in 2006, again under media blackout. Both men who had been president of Peru during the time of his trials have subsequently been charged with corruption. Since the time of Juan Velasco Alvarado, the Peruvian state has not been in a position to judge the leaders of people’s struggles in Peru.
The new government of Peru is led by Pedro Castillo, whose victory over Keiko Fujimori has been widely hailed as a victory for the left in Peru. However, Prime Minister Guido Bellido has recently said that he does not agree with an amnesty for members of the Shining Path, despite his comments in May where he declined to describe Senderistas as terrorists.
Both Alberto and Keiko Fujimori have been found guilty of various crimes, but the former lives in comfort in prison and the latter is still contesting the recent election as a way to escape corruption charges. We call on the Peruvian government to rectify this injustice by releasing Chairman Gonzalo and ensuring his access to medical assistance.
While we make these demands of the current administration, we recognize that as long as the underlying social conditions of oppression and exploitation exist, true reconciliation and genuine peace will not be possible in Peru, just like in the Philippines where the persistence of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism necessitates the people’s struggle for a national democratic revolution and socialist construction.
We call on all progressive individuals and organizations internationally to join this campaign to free Chairman Gonzalo and support the people’s struggle for justice.
Justice for all victims of state terrorism in Peru!
Long live international solidarity!