[Marxism] Q&A: "I Can't Be a Lifelong Suspect"

Greg McDonald sabocat59 at mac.com
Mon Dec 1 14:57:02 MST 2008

"I Can't Be a Lifelong Suspect"

Ángel Páez interviews imprisoned Bolivarian Committee leader ROQUE  

LIMA, Nov 27 (IPS) - The prosecution in Peru has asked for a 20-year  
prison sentence for Roque Gonzáles La Rosa, a member of the now  
dismantled Peruvian chapter of the Continental Bolivarian Committee  
(CCB), inspired by the policies of left-wing Venezuelan President  
Hugo Chávez.
Gonzáles La Rosa and six other activists were arrested by the  
National Anti-Terrorism Directorate (DIRCOTE) at the border between  
Peru and Ecuador on Feb. 29, on their way back from Quito where they  
had attended the Second Congress of the CCB, which is alleged to have  
links with Colombia’s FARC guerrillas.

DIRCOTE informed the justice system that Gonzáles La Rosa, the leader  
of the delegation, had served nine years in prison for belonging to  
the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), the smaller of the two  
guerrilla groups involved in Peru's 1980-2000 civil war (the larger  
group was the Maoist Sendero Luminoso or Shining Path).

They also claimed he had links with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of  
Colombia (FARC).

"We are sure that he, or an emissary of his, had direct contact with  
the FARC," said prosecutor Julio Galindo, who is in charge of the  
case against Gonzáles La Rosa.

Galindo's accusation was based on reports of the content of laptops  
that belonged to Raúl Reyes, FARC’s international spokesman and one  
of the seven members of the rebel group’s Secretariat, who was killed  
on Mar. 1 in a Colombian bombing raid on a FARC camp across the  
border in Ecuador.

According to these reports, "a Peruvian" was said to have received  
100,000 dollars from the FARC. Galindo requested further information  
through the Defence Ministry, but instead of names he was given  

This month the La Primera newspaper published a report by Interpol's  
International Terrorism Division, given to prosecutor Fanny  
Escajadillo, which indicates possible links between several left-wing  
activists and the FARC, again based on information from Reyes' laptops.

Among those alleged to have relations with the FARC are Renán Raffo,  
the leader of Peru’s Communist Party, Alberto Moreno, of the  
Communist Party of Peru-Red Fatherland party, and Olmedo Auris, of  
Peru’s teachers’ trade union (SUTEP).

Nine months after the arrest of the seven activists at the border  
between Peru and Ecuador, Gonzáles La Rosa is the only one of the  
group still in jail, although the other six are still facing charges.  
He has asked to be released on bail too.

Galindo asked the court to reject this request, and at the hearing  
accused Gonzáles La Rosa of defying authority because he was wearing  
a red t-shirt, "a subversive colour" according to the prosecutor.

In an interview with IPS, Gonzáles La Rosa denied the accusations and  
defended his "right to full reinsertion into family life, employment  
and political activity."

IPS: What evidence has been presented against you?

ROQUE GONZÁLES LA ROSA: That I went to the CCB meeting in Quito. But  
I wasn't the only one, there were hundreds of delegates. That I saw a  
video of Raúl Reyes, but neither I nor any of those on trial in this  
case ever saw it. It has also been mentioned that I was a member of  
the MRTA, but that was 12 years ago.

It makes no sense, nor is it relevant, to dig into an event in my  
past for which I have served my full sentence. I have the right to  
full reinsertion into family life, employment and political  
activities. I can't be a lifelong suspect.

IPS: You went to Quito as a CCB-Peru delegate. Did you know that the  
Colombian police are saying that there is information on Reyes'  
laptop that apparently indicates that the CCB was created by the FARC?

RGLR: At no point in the trial has this been mentioned. Neither have  
the Peruvian anti-terrorist police indicated any such thing. In fact,  
the Colombian Attorney General, Mario Iguarán, who is in charge of  
the investigations into Reyes, said on a visit to Lima in June that  
an alleged mention of someone on his computer is not in itself  
sufficient evidence for accusing anyone before a judge.

This is the Attorney General of Colombia we are talking about here,  
and not prosecutor Galindo, who is laughable.

IPS: Do you disagree with the FARC, or do you support them?

RGLR: You are implying that the opposite of disagreement is support.  
What I say is that the FARC, independently of our disagreements or  
sympathies, are a moral problem that concerns all Latin Americans.  
The political violence that is bleeding Colombia to death will not be  
ended by adjectives. The FARC, the paramilitary groups and state  
terrorism must all disappear.

IPS: Víctor Polay, the founder and leader of the MRTA, has publicly  
stated that armed struggle no longer makes any sense as a means to  
power. Do you agree with him?

RGLR: That is the reason why the MRTA is not on any list of  
subversive groups, and that's why no one who has been released from  
prison has ever faced a second trial for terrorism.

It is the government and the most conservative sectors that are  
resurrecting the MRTA, raising ghosts from the past in order to  
justify their selfish and anti-democratic needs. As for Polay's  
reflections on armed struggle, they don't interest me in the least,  
because they're not a part of my personal concerns.

IPS: After serving your nine-year sentence, were you subject to  
control by the authorities?

RGLR: I fulfilled to the letter all the controls required by the  
National Penitentiary Institute, the judicial branch, the prosecution  
service and the anti-terrorist police, without fail, for over two  
years. And in 2007 I was fully rehabilitated. My criminal record was  
erased. I have no pending judicial matters.

IPS: However, the anti-terrorist police took film footage of you  
taking part in political activities.

RGLR: That's correct, but my political activities were open and  
public, as can be seen by the statements I made to the press. I  
should say that in 2006, with judicial authorisation, the anti- 
terrorist police tapped my telephones. And, as stated in the reports,  
nothing transpired from that investigation. Also, I went to live  
abroad in 2007. So where does terrorist activity fit in? (END/2008)

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