Peru and Amnesty Internation

Godenas at Godenas at
Wed Feb 14 18:22:50 MST 1996

Michael, we have already seen that, practically since its inception in the
1960s,  Amnesty International has taken a clear and deliberate class stand on
the issues of human rights, which has to include a people's right to change
their government by whatever means necessary.  This has included relations,
at the highest level,  with various governments, including much
behind-the-scenes maneuvering, on behalf of Amnesty, with various official
bodies as well as Non-Governmental Organizations.  Amnesty International has
thus evolved into a semi-official public organization that is becoming
increasingly indistinguishable from the interests of western capital.  It now
has "official" status with the UN and the European Community, among others.
 While AI continues to claim to be "above politics", its bias' is clearly in
favor of the neo-liberal ideology currently sweeping the "community of
nations."  AI is not a disinterested body standing above class, impartially
meting out praise or condemnation, regardless of politics.  It is, in fact,
deeply involved in both the day to day politics of western capitalism, as
well as in the larger structural scheme of the realignment of the world
economy.  In fact, any standards that Amnesty applies across the board to
insugencies fighting neo-libeal or reactionary governments must, of
necessity, be badly flawed.   
Amnesty's position on Peru, for example, follows closely that of the US.  In
1991, the Bush Administration, to gain greater leverage with the incoming
Fujimori regime (whom they feared would not be forthcoming with the
"reorganization" of the Peruvian economy favored by "our" losing candidate,
Vargas LLosa), temporarily suspended its aid program, supposedly for "human
rights" violations.
Later that year, AI issued its famous "between two fires" reports, claiming
that the Peruvian people were victims of both the PCP and the government in
about equal measure.  In fact, much of this report was based, not on facts
gleaned from the ground in Peru, but from US sponsored NGOs filtered through
various State Department reports.  The following spring, shortly after
Fujimor's "self-coup" (which is widely believed to have been orchestrated by
Bernard Aronson, the State Department's "representative" to Lima), alarm
bells went off in Washington, Bonn, and Tokyo, that a siezure of power by
"Sendero" was imminent; Aronson appealed directly to the NGOs, including AI:
"the international community and respected human rights organizations [sic]
must focus the spotllight of world attention on the threat that Sendero
poses."  Amnesty obliged with a report that went far beyond its 1991 "between
two fires" potboiler.  It accused the PCP of killings AI itself had
previously attributed to the government!!!  Its sources, however, remained
virtually the same, information gleaned by anti-PCP "emigres", as well as
from government and foreign supported "NGOs" in Lima.  At the same time,
there was a change in command in AI's Secretariat responsible for Peru
affairs.  Sir Peter Archand arrived in Lima to virtually endorse the Fujimori
government's self-coup, and re-emphasized AI's belief that the Peruvian
regime "had a duty" to eradicate "terrorism."  These are not the actions of
an impartial organization (Professor Proyect's meanderings aside).  
What is needed is an alternative organization dedicated to human rights--an
organization that merges class position and revolutionary politics and
creates a standard above and beyond that used by AI and similar outfits.
 Your analogy re Algeria is very helpful.  Might we not, as marxists, create
a viable leftist alternative to AI?  What do you think?
                                        Louis Godena  

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