In Brazil, former guerrilla (sort of) Dilma Rousseff of the Workers' Party is likely to be elected the first female president of Brazil this weekend.
She and a handful of other young militants, mainly students, took up arms to defy the military regime, in a short, lopsided struggle that began in 1968. Three years later, most of the guerrillas had been exterminated...
In 1969, when she was just 21 years old, Rousseff was the only woman among the five "commanders" of her group, the Palmares Armed Revolutionary Vanguard (VAR), named in honour of the famous 17th century Palmares "quilombo" -- a term referring to communities originally established by runaway slaves.
The VAR was one of the armed militant groups in Brazil, largely inspired by Cuba's 1959 revolution, that carried out high-profile actions like the kidnapping of the U.S. and German ambassadors, to swap them for political prisoners who had been jailed and tortured.The opposition candidate Jose Serra was also involved in "left-leaning National Student Union" before fleeing the country before the 1964 military coup.
The front-runner candidate has clarified that she did not actually take part in any armed action, in an attempt to neutralise epithets like "subversive" flung at her by the right, among other misleading depictions of her, like "anti-Christian."...
After four months in the leadership of the VAR, Rousseff was captured by agents of the dictatorship -- secret groups set up in 1969 to torture and kill opponents...When she was released from prison 28 months later, she finished her economics degree, and had a daughter with her second husband, a fellow VAR militant who had also been in prison.
In Peru. Vladimir Monesinos and three other military officers were sentenced to 25 years in jail for ordering the murders of twenty-four people in two massacres in 1991 and 1992. The killings were carried out by the Colina Group during the country's dirty war against Sendero Luminoso guerrilla group.
While Montesinios, Fujimori, several army officials and Lori Berenson remain in jail, former members of the Sendero Luminoso are preparing to compete in this weekend's elections.
They've entered several mayoral and gubernatorial races Sunday under the banner of a movement seeking a blanket amnesty for hundreds of "political prisoners," including Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman.In even stranger news, former Peruvian army major and current leader of the ultranationalist ``etnocacerista,'' Antauro Humala, intends to run for president next year in an alliance with members of the Sendero Luminoso and the MRTA guerrilla groups. His brother Ollanta is the leader of the Peruvian Nationalist Party who finished second to Alan Garcia in the 2006 presidential elections.
Led by two of Guzman's lawyers, it's run out of a small office in a Lima slum and is fielding candidates released from prison after serving sentences for terrorism and other crimes. Peruvian law allows former convicts to run for elected office.
While the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights, or Movadef in Spanish, is tiny and its rallies modest, it is provoking alarm among Peruvians who are skeptical of its nonviolent claims and fear a return to political mayhem if it were to gain a foothold in even a few municipalities.
Representative James McGovern (D-MA urged the US government to support President Funes and Police Inspector General Zaira Navas of the FMLN in El Salvador. Funes has been busy. He gave a speech at the United Nations calling for more attention to the problem of poverty. He also recently met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and asked for a more assistance in the war against drug trafficking. Tim also linked to the Share Foundation's coverage of the Residential Voting Plan in an earlier post to which I never got around.
We're not done yet.
Argentina extended asylum to a "former leftist guerrilla charged in his native Chile with assassinating a senator and kidnapping a businessman" in 1991. On the one hand, I would say that Argentina should have denied asylum to Galvarino Apablaza Guerra. He committed the murders two years after Pinochet left office because he was "an ideological leader of a branch of Chile's Communist Party" that "refused to put down its weapons" after the dictatorship's end. That doesn't sound like grounds for asylum from persecution.
On the other hand, i would have reservation about extraditing Apablaza to Chile because he "would be tried under Chile's dictatorship-era anti-terrorism law, which allows for secret witnesses, pretrial detention, military courts and other legal mechanisms they [human rights groups] said would violate his rights to a fair trial."
In Guatemala, the National Reparations Program, the Peace Secretariat, the National Institute of Forensic Science and the Public Ministry will begin exhumations in Huehuetenango next Wednesday and Thursday.
Continuing with Guatemala, the Guatemala Solidarity Network has more on the Dos Erres massacre which involved Gilberto Jordan, the former kaibil who had the book thrown at him for lying on his immigration papers (see the National Security Archive for the original coverage or me). I'm happy that Dos Erres' families and Guatemalans will get some justice with Jordan's ten-year sentence.
However, I can't say that I am comfortable giving him ten years in jail for immigration fraud when the penalty is typically 0-6 months in jail and then removal from the country. If he committed war crimes, charge him with those. If not, send him back to Guatemala where they can prosecute him. Don't use the immigration courts to punish people for crimes that they committed before coming to the US.
What do you think? Too idealistic?