Peru Held Hostage


UNITED STATES--The message of the Tupac Amaru rebels ... holding hostages in Peru is clear. These are ruthless Marxist revolutionaries seeking to revive their fading movement. They say they want a release of comrades now in prison, a change in Peru's economic policies and free passage back into the jungle; mostly they want the publicity that comes with such an operation. The effect of their crime, no matter how it turns out, will be to discourage foreign investment, thus deepening the poverty and inequality that feed movements such as theirs.

Washington Post

December 20, 1996


UNITED STATES--Like any act of violence involving civilians in a guerrilla war, the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement's hostage-taking in Peru was an act of cowardice. But it was an extremely well-planned one. The guerrillas, whose members fought alongside the M-19 in Colombia, obviously learned from them. One lesson was that seizing important foreigners diminishes the government's temptation to end the crisis by strafing or storming the building.

The guerrillas also chose to attack the Embassy of Japan, a country that is prepared to negotiate with terrorists and has considerable influence in Peru. They caught the Peruvian Government unprepared, after it apparently ignored warnings that the Tupac Amaru was planning such an act.

New York Times

December 24, 1996


PERU--One point that must be highlighted in the MRTA's text is that, although it maintains the tone of previous communiques, this time it has omitted any outright references to their demand for the liberation of those rebels who are in prison. Moreover, it seems that its emphasis indicates a move toward the possibility of reincorporating themselves back into civil society--the rhetoric over an "enduring peace" and the persistence in disassociating themselves from the Shining Path point to this. Perhaps this arises from the international climate created by the Guatemalan peace accord. An analogy between the Guatemalan situation and the one we live today in Lima can be postulated.


December 30, 1996


JAPAN--Ongoing economic reform and newly established democratic governments in the region have wiped out the significance of the guerrilla struggles. The Guatemalan peace accord was a result of the leftist guerrillas' decision to reinvent themselves as a legal political group in response to a change in historical trends. The accord shows that, with the changing times, international support for the guerrillas in the region has evaporated.

The guerrillas in Peru should realize that they are completely isolated both internationally and domestically. Historical trends and international attitudes demand a safe release of the hostages. There is no future for the guerrillas, no matter how hard they struggle against the trends. They should make a wise and honorable choice as did the Guatemalan rebels.


December 31, 1996


JAPAN--Respecting the principle of no compromise with terrorists, supported by the joint statement of the G-7 nations and Russia, the proper way to resolution is to support the Peruvian government, which is aiming to save the lives of the hostages. There is a good possibility that the persistent and firm attitude of the Fujimori administration will lead to a peaceful resolution of the case. The guerrillas have tried to win a compromise from the government by using Japan. That is why what we need to do now is to trust and understand the handling by the Fujimori administration, and keep close contact and cooperate with that administration.


December 31, 1996


ARGENTINA--The present armed groups are more frequently an isolated phenomenon in search of, at least, changes in the brutal policies of economic adjustment implemented in the region.

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