Free from jail, not from Peru
In Peru, there is little sympathy for American Lori Berenson, the left-wing terrorist sympathiser who was convicted of aiding and abetting terrorism. Indeed, it is rare to see candlelight vigils and public angst against freeing a political prisoner. She has spent the last 15 years in jail for housing MRTA rebels who had committed armed robbery, killings, kidnappings and drug trafficking. When they captured her, the group was in the process of planning an armed takeover of Congress where they would hold the politicians as political prisoners.
She was freed from jail, but is still unable to leave the country per Peruvian law. She has applied to leave. Some, like the Mayor of Miraflores Lima, wish she would go where she could do less harm and cause less attention. Others feel it would be a slap in the face of justice.
Peru of the 80s was a lot like Colombia of the 2000s. Whereas Colombia has not completely freed themselves from the cowardly left-wing communist drug traffickers, Peru mostly has. The story starts with the current President, Alan Garcia, who was also the President of Peru during a time when his silvery tongue masked a left-wing agenda that didn't discourage, but encouraged the left-wing armed struggle.
Alberto Fujimori took over when Peru was in chaos. There were two groups that were causing havoc in the countryside and are blamed for 30,000 deaths around Peru, the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and Tupac Amaru (MRTA). Berenson was hiding not just soldiers, but the 2nd in command of the MRTA. At the time she was captured in 1995, they were planning a takeover of the Peruvian Congress where they would kidnap prominent politicians for ransom and to help meet their political agenda. Yes, the MRTA is the same group that took over the Japanese embassy and held hundreds of hostages for weeks before getting manhandled by Fujimori and the Peruvian Army.
Peru by and large, seems to have rejected the left-wing ideology that his neighbors Hugo and Evo have espoused. Much of this is from their first hand testimony of the end game of violent left wing ideologies. It is this disgust that has turned this country from a left-leaning socialist regime to a staunchly pro-freedom, pro-America country. Nothing is more emblematic of this change than their current President who has gone from a left-wing loon to a solidly pro-American free trader. While the rest of Latin America was dabbling in left wing sympathies, Peru had a choice to elect Ollanta Humala, a Chavez sympathizer, but did not.
Now they protest, not to free the convicted American terrorist, but to express disgust at the judge that offered parole. Well done Peru.
No decision yet on whether she can return to US
Judge recommends deportation of convicted criminal Berenson
Watch Lori scream slogans that MRTA is not a terrorist group but a revolutionary political movement.