Statement from the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru on:

The 10th Anniversary of Chairman Gonzalo's "Speech from the Cage"

Revolutionary Worker #1168, September 29, 2002, posted at

We received this statement from the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru (CSRP).

September 2002 marks ten years since Chairman Gonzalo and other leaders of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) were captured by the Peruvian political police in an attempt to decapitate the party and defeat the People's War in Peru. Chairman Gonzalo (also known as Abimael Guzmán) was given a sham trial by hooded military judges who declared him guilty of treason and sentenced him to life imprisonment. For the past ten years he has been kept under extremely cruel and isolated prison conditions.

The last time Chairman Gonzalo was seen and heard publicly was on September 24, 1992--the occasion of his historic "speech from the cage." The Fujimori government, in a crass attempt to shame and humiliate him, put him on display before the world's media, dressed in prison stripes and locked in a steel cage. Chairman Gonzalo turned the tables on the government by delivering a powerful speech that was broadcast in Peru and around the world and gave inspiration to revolutionaries and masses in Peru and everywhere.

In that speech, Chairman Gonzalo declared that the People's War, which was initiated in May 1980, is the road to liberation for the people of Peru. He called for the People's War to go forward despite his capture, saying: "We are fighting in these trenches, this is also combat, and we do this because we are communist! Because here we defend the people's interests, the principles of the Party, and the People's War! That is what we have been doing, what we are doing, what we will continue to do!" In the face of the oppressor's attempts to say that his capture represented the defeat of the People's War, Chairman Gonzalo said that it is "merely a bend in the road" and that "the road is long and we will travel it to the end. We will reach our goal and we will win! You will see it!"

Chairman Gonzalo pointed to the main oppressors of the Peruvian people: "There is an imperialism dominating us, principally U.S. imperialism. This is something real and everyone knows it. Where has this led us? Here and now is the worst crisis in our entire history, a crisis the likes of which has never been endured by our people. Twelve years [of People's War] have demonstrated what? It has clearly shown to the world, and especially to the Peruvian people, that the Peruvian state, the old Peruvian state, is a paper tiger. It is rotten to the core...!"

Today, ten years later, Chairman Gonzalo's words in this historic speech still ring true. The Toledo government, elected in 2001 with U.S. backing following the downfall of the corrupt and genocidal Fujimori-Montesinos regime, continues to drag the people of Peru down the road of poverty, suffering, and subjugation to imperialism. Peru has one of the hemisphere's three worst rates of maternal and infant mortality. More than half of Peru's 27 million people live on a mere $1.25 a day or less. The situation is especially bad for the peasants in Peru's countryside. Preventable diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and tuberculosis run rampant while one quarter of Peru's people have no access to medical care.

There is widespread discontent, with almost daily mass protests in the streets. The government, desperate to raise money to pay back its $28 billion debt to international banks, is trying to sell off more public utilities and other state enterprises to foreign investors. Toledo follows in the well-worn footsteps of his predecessors, enforcing economic policies dictated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

At the same time he continues the brutal so-called "pacification" campaign against the People's War, with plans to open several new military bases in the countryside, while keeping thousands of political prisoners locked away in inhuman conditions under Peru's draconian anti-terrorism laws.

The People's War is today more than ever the just and genuine road to liberation for Peru's people. It is being carried forward by the Communist Party of Peru through twists and turns and in the face of difficult challenges resulting from the capture of its top leadership and the continuing U.S.-backed counter- insurgency. On this tenth anniversary of Chairman Gonzalo's historic "speech from the cage," the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru (US) hails the revolutionary stand and powerful message he delivered that day to the people of the world calling for the People's War in Peru to continue.

In the speech, Chairman Gonzalo also saluted the advance of revolution around the world: "Maoism is marching relentlessly forward in its task of leading the new wave of the world proletarian revolution... I want to take the opportunity to salute the international proletariat, the oppressed nations of the world, and the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement. Long live the Communist Party of Peru! The People's War will inevitably be victorious!"

For ten years Chairman Gonzalo has been locked away, along with other PCP leaders, in a specially constructed underground military prison on the Naval Base of El Callao, under intolerably cruel conditions of isolation. In 1993 the Fujimori regime made an unacceptable attempt to attribute political views to Chairman Gonzalo while keeping him cut off from the outside world. The International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Abimael Guzmán (IEC) was formed at the time of his capture and initiated a mass international campaign to defend his life. The struggle to defend his life continues today, demanding an end to his isolation and that he be allowed to express his own views in person before the international media.

The CSRP calls on people living in the U.S. to support the just and heroic struggle of the people of Peru to free themselves from the clutches of U.S. global domination, and to join the struggle to end the isolation of the PCP's Chairman Gonzalo.




Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru

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