The Sides of Justice in Peru
Regarding the Opinion page article "Justice: a Victim in Peru," Oct. 27: Neither of the authors has contacted, as they state, the Embassy of Peru in Washington for information on the trial of Abimael Guzman Reynoso, leader of the Shining Path revolutionary movement in Peru. Moreover, the article makes inaccurate references to several facts, which perhaps leads to the authors' lack of information of which they complain.
If Mr. Guzms trial by a military tribunal is questioned on its independence from the armed forces fighting Sendero Luminoso, then it would be impossible to find a tribunal, be it civilian or military, in which to try Guzman. The fight against terrorism in Peru is not some idea in the back of people's minds, but a struggle for survival which encompasses all Peruvians: peasants as well as urbanites, rich and poor, those who wear uniforms and those who do not.
Sendoro has murdered judges, prosecutors, priests, pastors, and nuns, among others. By following the authors' bizarre line of argument, no civilian court could judge Guzman either. The presence of United States Attorney Leonard Weinglass and other legal observers in Peru was not objected to by Peruvian authorities; it was rather the Peruvian people who in a spontaneous manner expressed their outrage at the self-declared aims this group made public. Furthermore, there is no provision in international law that obligates sovereign states to accept observers into their judicial proceedings. Jorge Valdez C., Washington Charge d'Affaires of Peru, Embassy of Peru
Regarding the Opinion page article "Justice: a Victim in Peru": Most of us should agree with the author's points of view about the secret trial of Abimael Guzman Reynoso, leader of the Shining Path revolutionary movement in Peru. But the authors take only a fraction of the facts to make their case. They also report incorrectly that legal counsel was not allowed to see or speak to Mr. Guzman. It was allowed.
The Shining Path has killed over 25,000 people, has crippled over 100,000 innocent citizens, and has choked the economy by blowing up power stations, bridges, and industries, costing the country over $22 billion - as much as the country's foreign debt, which they cannot repay.
The authors classify the Shining Path as revolutionary guerrillas. This is wrong. They are killer criminals; guerrillas spell out their political philosophy. To my knowledge, this is criminal, not guerrilla, not revolutionary. Flavio J. Mazzetti, Colorado Springs, Colo.