We’re extremely happy today because for twenty years the release of Lori Berenson has been a priority for the Office of the Americas. We have worked with her and her family for these two decades, and now we’re happy to see her finally back home in New York with her six year old son Salvador.
I’d like to tell you a little bit about that experience, because it is the experience of political prisoners in the United States and all around the world. We assembled a group, some of whom will be familiar to our audience. It was set up by the Office of the Americas, and I organized it. It was with the Reverend Walker, Director of Pastors for Peace. He was an international Martin Luther King who did great work internationally for peace. Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, was with us. She brought into the prison a recording device, I’m not sure the prison authorities were aware of the recording equipment…With us also was Kristin Gardner, a classmate and friend of Lori Berenson, and Annie Byrd, director of Guatemala Partners, and Patricia Todd, a librarian.
We arrived in Lima, and our first stop was to meet with US Ambassador. He told us that we should not go to visit Lori. He referred to her as if she were some kind of terrorist. He said, “Do not go there, we don’t want to offend President Fujimori,” who has of course since been indicted and convicted. We don’t want to offend Fujimori because he has given the US permission to have a military base in Peru. That makes him a good guy. Read More