Interview With The MRTA - December 24, 1996

Arm The Spirit (
Tue, 24 Dec 1996 00:16:49 -0500 (EST)

"How Long Will The Residence Stay Occupied?"

Interview With Isaac Velazco, European Representative Of The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)

Translated By Arm The Spirit

More than 200 hostages have been released. Is an end to the embassy occupation near?

No. The release of these hostages was a humanitarian act by the commando, a Christmas gesture for those non-involved prisoners of war. Those hostages which remain prisoners of war are people who are involved in the state terrorist policies of the Fujimori regime. These people include, for example, members of the national police, and judges who have passed terror sentences with no legal basis. These convicted persons are now in Fujimori's hands.

What is your political estimation of the embassy occupation?

One goal of the action was to draw the world's attention to the violations of human rights in Peru. We have appealed for years to international organizations, human rights groups, and parties. But there was no interest. At least now the world is talking about Peruvian state terrorism, torture, and the disappearance of opposition activists. That is the first success of this action.

Is it true that the MRTA commando offered to abandon the armed struggle by the MRTA altogether if Fujimori accepted the group's demands?

I cannot confirm that. Such information has not come from the leadership of the MRTA. The concept of "giving up" does not exist for the MRTA. Fujimori stated that no peace negotiations were possible. We say: There can be no peace with a government which follows policies of state terrorism and which hands over the natural wealth of the nation to multi-national corporations.

So the danger remains that the embassy - perhaps with the aid of American elite troops - could be stormed by force?

The MRTA commando is prepared for anything, even this. They will not spare the lives of the hostages if the situation so demands. Because the occupation of the embassy is not a scenario. We are talking about a real-life situation here. It is a situation of war, and there may be deaths. Furthermore, should there be a military assault on the embassy by the government, the MRTA are prepared to respond by attacking political and economic targets all across Peru.

What conditions are the MRTA political prisoners in?

Few people know that 300 political prisoners of the MRTA are in an unlimited hunger strike in prisons all across Peru right now. They are even refusing to take in liquid vitamins. Their situation is truly very critical and is deserving of international attention.

In addition to the release of 300 political prisoners and the end of neo-liberal policies, the commando are also demanding a war tax. What for?

For 500 years, the people of Peru have been exploited by colonialists and neo-colonialism, while a small class of rich people have lived in wealth. This war tax will be used to give back some of these profits for the good of the people, and the money will be donated to popular organizations. A small amount will used to keep up the struggle by the MRTA.

(Interview by Peter Nowak. Published in junge Welt, Tuesday, December 24, 1996)

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