PERU: Anatomy of a Government Lie

Luis Quispe lquispe at
Sat Feb 17 23:17:21 MST 1996


The imperialist world media unleashes a campaign of lies to
attack the revolution in Peru. Reuters, UPI, CNN, EFE, NY Times,
the liberal Nacla, The Nation, etc. report that "Maoist
guerrillas kill up to 62 Indians in Peruvian jungle."  These
outlets without showing a shred evidence, and based solely on
unsubstantiated hearsay from known enemies of the revolution (the
Army, Church Hierarchy, NGOs, and Senderologists) claim that
"fighters of the People's Army and the PCP have entered up to
fifteen villages along the banks of a jungle river valley,
brutally killed 62 villagers and wounded 34 others." They say
that 150 Ashaninka combatants of the PCP were involved, others
say they were not Ashaninkas.  Reuters' article by Mary Powers
said: "`The subversives pretended to be members of anti-guerrilla
militias.  They took people into a room and scolded them for not
having done militia work, Morobeni Castro said in an interview
with Radio Programas del Peru."

The counterinsurgency advisors of the regime launched their
propaganda campaign on the Ashaninka only a day after it was
reported that gold miners in Brazil killed more than 200 Yanomani
Indians. Thus, the world attention was on the indigenous lands.
The time was ripe to discredit the PCP is involved in a bloody
war against the Army in the Peruvian jungle. These unrelated
stories were consistently linked in press accounts, and the world
media used the public opinion created by the Yanomani story
to...imply the PCP is against the native people when, in fact,
the PCP's People's Army in the region is made up mainly of
Ashaninka peasants.

The world media campaign continued for a week with front page
stories in major imperialist papers and their liberal tails
(Nacla, The Nation).  It was said that survivors of the PCP
attacks were being protected in the counterinsurgency
"settlement" of Mazamari base of the National Peruvian Police's
"Sinchi" units and their Green Beret advisers. UPI announced that
the Peruvian military was sending helicopters and speedboats on a
major offensive in the central jungle region to track down "a
column of Shining Path guerrillas accused of massacring 63
Ashaninka Indians who escaped from forced rebel recruitment." The
same genocidal Army that have strifed Ashaninka villages few days
before is converted by the "free press" in savior of their
victims.  On August 24, even the Pope said these massacres were
"new acts of terrorism by the Maoist guerrillas."

Mary Powers of Reuters again on August 25, said "Peru Troops Free
78 Indians from Guerrillas." The number is sudenly dropped in 15.
This article claimed that as government troops pursued guerrillas
through the jungle they had discovered and "rescued" 23 women, 19
men and 29 Ashaninka children "held captive by the guerrillas."
First, the reactionary Army of Fujimori bombed from helicopters
the villages where there are open People's Committees, then there
is an orderly withdrawal of the Ashaninka PCP combatants into the
forest, the Army invades the village, capture the elderly, women
and children, burned the village, relocate the captured to the
military base of Mazamari, far from the scene of events are
brought in the government controlled press, "human rights" NGOs,
foreign correspondents, and that's it. The murderous military is
converted in savior of "people kidnapped by Sendero."

Some unscrupulous journalists cook up stories: Mary Powers of
Reuters claimed that the killers "pretended to be members of
anti-guerrilla Army militias known as rondas" and scolded people
for not supporting the militias right before hacking them up!

In the last ten years, the Peruvian government has forced
peasants to join armed militias called "peasants rondas" and
ordered them to fight against the PCP.  Those who refuse are
automatically accused of being "terrorists" and killed by the
military. There is no such a middle ground, the class struggle
has polarized in which peasants have already taken sides. These
are area of intense political and military struggle and the PCP
has established support bases and open People's Committees.

Why does Powers and Reuters claim that it was the "subversives"
of the Communist Party of Peru who killed the villagers and not
"members of anti-guerrilla militias" as stated by the victims?
The answer is simple: Because the only "valid" source of
information for the imperialist press is the Peruvian and US
governments or some NGO at the service of the latter. All sworn
enemies of the revolution.

Why would Maoist guerrillas march into a series of villages,
accuse the inhabitants of not forming anti-guerrilla militia and
then kill people for not being active enough in the
counter-insurgency? A total non-sense. That's not within the
theory of People's War rigorously applied by the PCP.

Even pro-US `counterinsurgency experts' (so called
Senderologists) admit that the PCP always takes responsibility
for its actions, (even their own mistakes -and there were some
considering the more than 500,000 political-military actions in
almost 16 years of People's War.

All the communities attacked by the military then blamed to the
PCP were located within 10 and 20 kilometers of the helicopter
base at Mazamari, where 400 militarized police called Sinchis
have been led and trained by US Green Berets commandos.  In
addition, the villages involved, including Santa Isabel, Santa
Rosa, Sol de Oro, Monterrico, Tawantinsuyo and Chiriati, are
along a 10-mile stretch of road surrounded by three other
military bases at Satipo, San Martin de Pangoa and Puerto Ocopa,
which altogether include 500 soldiers.  In other words, these
events happened in villages directly around this region's main
concentration of counter-insurgency troops.

Even the Peruvian bourgeois magazine Caretas (September 26,
1993)--which repeated the story blaming the PCP said that they
could not understand why the government troops "did not act
promptly."  So it is clear: These killings were carried out by
the continuous strifes from helicopters by the military, and the
attacks by the paramilitary rondas. The survivors in these
villages were approved by the military to show themselves to the
press as "saviors." Once the Army occupies a community, relocate
the surviving people in a military base and "elect" their new
leaders, who under the coaching of the Army slander the PCP of
committing the crimes.

Caretas reports that a unit of 100 soldiers and allies from some
ronda militias entered the town of Mazamari at 5 am. on Sunday,
August 15.  People were rudely awaked and rounded up.

Caretas writes: "Many of the residents were dragged out of their
homes, their doors kicked open.  Terrified, some...ran to ask
help from the 48th counterinsurgency command of the National
Police (the "Sinchis" of Mazamari).  The police guards on duty
said there was nothing they could do since these were actions by
army soldiers.  From the balcony of the city hall, a military
officer who identified himself as Lieutenant `Poison' called on
the people to organize themselves into rondas to wipe out the
subversives.  According to this officer, self-defence committees
were urgently needed because he had word the "terrorists" had
infiltrated the community.  City officials, among them Father
Joaquin Ferrer Beniel, argued that such measures were unnecessary
since the town was so close to the police base.  Nevertheless,
Lieutenant `Poison' gave the city officials 15 days to create
those organizations, and before leaving, he warned: "As of today,
I want you to tie up your mares, because my studs are on the
loose.  Also a curfew has been ordered and everybody must be in
their homes after 10 p.m."

Even after telling this story about Lieutenant Poison, Caretas
still repeats the official story that the killings were the work
of Maoist guerrillas, which is not surprising since Caretas is a
reactionary magazine.

But why should anyone else in the world believe that the killings
were the actions of revolutionaries, and not Lieutenant Poison's
soldiers acting with Sinchi and US approval?

The military have launched a series of "search and destroy"
missions up and down the nearby jungle valleys--using
helicopters and gunboats to search for revolutionaries and
perhaps to hunt down the Ashaninkas fleeing from the massacres.

The Sinchi countersubversive police then brought some survivors
of the army's massacre into their Mazamari base to cut them off
from contact with the revolutionary movement--and told the world
they were "saving the life" of the Ashaninkas.  Mao teaches that
revolutionaries must swim among the masses like fish swim in the
sea--and it is classic U.S. tactic to try to "dry up the sea" by
forcing peasants into armed "strategic hamlets" surrounded by

And finally, to confuse people throughout the world about these
events, the Peruvian military announced that the Maoists had
carried out a series of atrocities against Ashaninka people. And
then they put some local collaborators [some "fake" Ashaninka
appointed by the military authorities] on the radio to say
(again) that the Ashaninka people are being "killed" by the PCP.
Lies in the face of the raging People's War.
Published by The New Flag
30-08 Broadway, Suite 159
Queens, NY 11106
E-Mail:lquispe at

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