Movadef, or the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights, which has been accused of being a sort of screen for the terrorist group Shining Path, continues in the spotlight and not just in Peru, but also abroad. This time it caused the “resignation” of the Peruvian ambassador to Argentina, and demands for questioning of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
On October 31, it became known that Movadef had participated in a meeting [es] in Argentina between the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. In September, Movadef organized a protest in front of the Peruvian embassy in Mexico with signs and red flags. During both events, members of Movadef claimed to be victims of political persecution and advocated for the freedom of their leader Abimael Guzmán.
It isn't the first time Movadef has been known to proselytize abroad, but this appears to be the first time they have tried to form alliances on an international level. While on one hand, the government has condemned [es] Movadef's activities in other countries, they have also announced the adoption of a bill to stem the activities of pro-terrorist groups.
However, the matter escalated after it was learned on November 2 that the Peruvian ambassador in Argentina, Nicolás Lynch, had received representatives of Movadef in the Peruvian embassy in Buenos Aires. Various congress members [es] and politicians of different parties quickly demanded his ouster. Interestingly, these events had occurred in January, and he had told the Foreign Ministry about it.
As a result of the media scandal, the ambassador was called to Lima to explain the meeting, given that, as the Foreign Minister stated, [es] there was an order to not receive, and to avoid any dialogue with, members of Movadef. However, this response did not prevent requests [es] for questioning of the minister himself.
On November 3 it was revealed that Ambassador Lynch, after arriving [es] in Lima that day and meeting with the Foreign Minister, had submitted his letter of resignation and it had been accepted. Even so, some politicians were of the opinion [es] that Lynch should have been removed from his post and that the Minister should be asked [es] for a clarification [es] about whether the meeting with Movadef had been kept from the public.
As in the mass media, the majority opinion on blogs is zero tolerance for Movadef. For example, Fabber, the blogger for Océano de Mercurio, commented [es] on these statements by Lynch: “The embassy is the home of all Peruvians” and “I can't judge them” [es] (in reference to Movadef):
Es verdad que cualquier ciudadano del Perú puede acercarse a la embajada para resolver un trámite o ser ayudado ante un apuro en el país extranjero donde exista representación oficial. No importa en lo que crea o no crea [...]. Aquí no interviene lo que cree, sino su necesidad de resolver un asunto que puede estar al alcance de la delegación. Pero esto, y es algo que debe saber cualquier embajador, dista un abismo de recibir una delegación de un actor político pernicioso con el cual nuestro país tiene una posición no solo de enfrentamiento directo, sino que ha sido y sigue siendo su víctima.
It's true that any Peruvian citizen can approach the embassy to get paperwork done or get help in a pinch in a foreign country where there's official representation. It doesn't matter what one believes or doesn't believe [...]. Here it doesn't matter what one believes, it is about the necessity to resolve a matter that may be within reach of the delegation. But this, and it's something that any ambassador should know, crosses a line to receive a delegation from a pernicious political player with whom our country has not only a position of direct confrontation, but has been and continues to be its victim.
The blog Neoliberal Cusco criticizes the appointment of people on the left and writes [es]:
Que complicados son los izquierdistas, ¿son genios o son idiotas? Al final, podría creer que a pesar de su estupidez ideológica, son más inteligentes y hábiles que la mayoría de nosotros, que si necesitamos trabajar (y mucho) para lograr las pocas cosas que vamos alcanzando. Sin embargo, actos como el de Lynch me traen a la realidad. Los imbéciles somos todos, que permitimos que estos mediocres vivan como ricos gracias a nuestro trabajo.
The leftists are so complex–are they geniuses or idiots? In the end, you might think that despite their ideological stupidity, they are more intelligent and clever than most of us, who need to work (a lot) to achieve the few things we have. However, acts like Lynch are a reality check. The fools we all are, we allow these mediocre people to live high thanks to our work.
Professor Gonzalo Gamio, meanwhile suggests [es] in his blog that the issue is not being discussed in depth beyond the scandal:
No se puede derrotar al MOVADEF si no se libra una batalla política basada en la recuperación de la memoria de los crímenes de Sendero Luminoso. Allí están las evidencias, los testimonios. El Informe Final de la CVR y otras investigaciones han documentado rigurosamente estos hechos. Se trata de una lucha contra la impunidad y la amnesia. Resulta lamentable constatar que muchos seguidores de este grupo prosenderista son jóvenes que no tienen conocimiento de lo que vivimos en el país en los años del conflicto. [...]
MOVADEF cannot be beat if a political battle is not waged based on the recovery of the memory of Shining Path's crimes. There is the evidence, the testimonies. The TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Committee] Final Report and other research has documented these facts rigorously. This is a fight against impunity and amnesia. It is regrettable to note that many followers of this pro-Senderist group are young people who have no knowledge of what we lived in this country during the years of conflict. [...]
In the blog of the National Coordinator for Human Rights, the activist Rocío Silva Santisteban opines [es]:
Obligar a Nicolás Lynch a renunciar ha implicado darle demasiada fuerza al Movadef, que ahora enarbolará esa cabeza como una victoria. Lynch debió renunciar [antes] [...] Que haya recibido al Movadef es una torpeza más. [...] Mi clara posición sobre Lynch no significa, por supuesto, que no pueda dejar de decir que ha sido masacrado mediáticamente con torpe cálculo político.
Forcing Nicolás Lynch to resign means giving too much strength to Movadef, which now will hoist his head as a victory. Lynch should have resigned [before] [...] That he met with Movadef is just one more blunder. My clear stance about Lynch, of course, does not mean that he wasn't massacred by the media through clumsy political calculations.
In Ideele Radio's blog, the analyst Alberto Adrianzen, interviewed about the subject, said [es]:
En el gobierno argentino trabaja gente que ha estado vinculada a los montoneros; en Uruguay hay un presidente que ha sido guerrillero, que es [José] Mujica. En Brasil, hay una guerrillera que ha sido presidenta de Brasil, Dilma Rousseff, entonces este tipo de relación, más allá de que te guste o no, es entrecomillas [en esos contextos] normal”, explicó. “Creo que Lynch ha reaccionado a este contexto y no ha reaccionado a este contexto que tenemos en Lima, lleno de fascistas autoritarios, que no entienden otra cosa que la represión.
The Argentine government hires people who have been tied to Montoneros [translator's note: Marxist urban guerrilla group]; Uruguay has a President, [José] Mujica, who was a guerrilla. In Brazil, there is a guerrilla who has been President, Dilma Rousseff, so this type of relationship, whether you like it or not, is [in these contexts] “normal”, he explained. “I think Lynch reacted to that context and not to the context that we have in Lima, full of authoritarian fascists, who don't understand anything but repression.”
More or less along the same lines, Silvio Rendón from the blog Grancomboclub thinks that the climate in Lima is turning repressive [es] and “McCarthyist” [es] and warns [es] of yet another divide in the never very well united Peruvian left.
La mayor parte de sector caviar [izquierda adinerada] se sumó a la campaña de las derechas e incluso encabezó el pedido de la cabeza de Lynch, como el toledista [simpatizante de Alejandro Toledo] Ronald Gamarra y Rocío Silva de la CNDDHH [Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos]. Es un sector parece creer que encabezando el discurso represivo no le harán nada. Sin embargo, hubo otro sector que se desmarcó de tal postura, desde luego que no por el MOVADEF o por la libertad de expresión o la libertad de ejercicio de derechos políticos, sino por su afinidad con Nicolás Lynch, al fin y al cabo, uno de ellos. Un sector caviar advierte que el clima represivo acabará incluyéndolo.
Most of the limosine liberals (moneyed leftists) joined the right's campaign and even led the demand for Lynch's head, like the toledista [supporters of Alejandro Toledo] Ronald Gamarra and Rocío Silva of the National Coordinator for Human Rights. This is a group that believes that leading the repressive discourse will not affect them. However, there was another group that distanced itself from that position, certainly not for MOVADEF or for freedom of expression or for the exercise of political rights, but because of its affinity with Nicolás Lynch, who in the end, was one of them. A warning to the moneyed group that the repressive climate will end up including them.
Meanwhile, Facebook user El Comerrio brings up [es] a doubt worth looking into:
No solo El Comercio, sino que ninguno de los otros diarios “importantes” de la capital (La Republica, Correo, Peru21) publicaron la noticia antes. ¿Se estaba guardando esta “bomba” para usarla en el momento adecuado? Sea como sea, genera suspicacias que esta noticia no haya sido publicada antes. Sospecho que a partir de aquí se viene una campaña fuerte contra las ONGs defensoras de derechos humanos.
Not only El Comercio, but none of the other “important” daily newspapers (La Republica, Correo, Peru21) published the news before. Were they holding this “bomb” to use it in the right moment? Whatever happened, it is suspicious that this news wasn't published before. I suspect that from here on, we will see a heavy campaign against NGOs defending human rights.
Meanwhile, on November 8 the Foreign Minister spoke before Congress to share the foreign policy actions to curb Movadef's progress, for which he requested [es] a private meeting. Moreover, the President of the Council of Ministers declared [es] that Movadef's days are numbered. The President of the judiciary came out [es] in favor of declaring the group illegal. There will more than likely be news in coming days.