TRUE DEMOCRACY SPRING 2001 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Lori Berenson was freed from the Peruvian prison on May 27, 2010.
Who is Lori Berenson?Taken directly from her Web site http://freelori.org
Lori Berenson is a U.S. citizen, human rights activist, and free-lance journalist who currently is serving a life sentence in Perú following her conviction by a secret, hooded military tribunal, in violation of international law.
Lori was born and raised in New York City. The daughter of two professors, Lori excelled in school and had a strong interest in music. She played several musical instruments and had vocal training. Her musicianship helped Lori land lead roles in school musicals such as Auntie Mame and Jesus Christ Superstar.
She also was the voiceover in an internationally aired commercial for CARE that told of the horrors of starving children. This profoundly affected the direction of Lori's life.
Teen and young adult years
Lori's interest in music led her to attend the LaGuardia High School of Music and Art. An all-around straight-A student, Lori was honored to be one in the minority of females to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Though a well-rounded student in many subjects, Lori was most attracted to anthropology. She had a particularly influential professor, Martin Diskin, who was an expert on agrarian and economic reform in Central America. Lori visited El Salvador with a group of Quaker women in 1988 and then as a foreign exchange student in 1989.
Lori in Central America
Lori's desire to go to Central America was more than just a curious interest. At the time, a brutal, three-decade civil war had claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans alone, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of civilians who died in civil wars in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
Lori's work with Professor Diskin on income and land distribution focused on El Salvador. The unfairness of this distribution of wealth and the horrors that she had seen of the civil war convinced her to devote her time to help the Salvadoran people.
Many religious, non-religious, and student groups in the United States were offering aid to the people of Central America and Lori decided to work with CISPES -- the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador. In 1990, Lori moved to Nicaragua in order to work in the Salvadoran refuge community displaced by the war. Lori helped religious and human rights groups with projects to find the disappeared and aid those seeking political asylum. After the peace accords in January 1992, Lori lived in El Salvador.
Lori travels to Perú
Lori traveled to Perú in November 1994 and became intrigued with the rich indigenous history, culture, and also interesting political atmosphere. In April 1992, Perú had witnessed a "self-coup" and political upheaval as President Alberto Fujimori attempted to bring peace and order to the chaotic nation with strong leadership and repressive anti-terrorism laws. Lori traveled throughout the country learning about the culture and meeting many poor Peruvians (not difficult to find in a country that has had poverty rates of over 50%).
After half a decade of hands-on experience with and study of poverty and the plight of Latin America, Lori was able to obtain assignments from two U.S. publications, Modern Times and Third World Viewpoint, to work as a free-lance journalist. She secured appropriate press credentials in Lima. At the time of her arrest she was researching articles about the effects of poverty on women in Perú.
This site provides a chronological listing of events in Lori's case, complete texts of relevant news articles, reports from the State Department and Human Rights organizations on Perú's system of military tribunals as well as some recommended books.
The legal issues are discussed and we have included Perú's response and our counter response.
Please view the photo album to see Lori as she was before being condemned to live her life in a dark prison cell. We've also posted poems and songs written by Lori's supporters.
Editor's note: In the first edition of True Democracy, one of 46 demands commands the US Congress to "Stop sending money overseas to the dictators, military dictatorships, and governments which persecute ethnicities." It was my fervent hope that so many copies of the Demand page would have been sent to the Speaker of the House that no money would have been sent to Perú or Israel so brave people like Lori Berenson, Neta Golan, and Yasmine Jayal would be freed and the beginning of peace take place. However, because the K-12 public schools in the United States did not participate for the most part, the Congress ignored those of us who sent the Demand page and are, as a result, still funding atrocities of this nature.
If we don't come together as a world and demand that the public schools in the United States teach accurate American history, we will continue to have atrocities such as this in the future. Please demand that your schools teach accurate American history as there is no excuse any longer since True Democracy (La verdad sobre la democracia in Spanish) is completely free this year for that very reason.