A WORLD TO WIN    #18   (1992)


Glory to the Communist Heroes of Canto Grande!

Statement by the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement on the Murder of Our Comrades in Peru's Prisons

13 May 1992

Amidst the increasingly good news of the advances in the revolutionary war in Peru has come word of a desperate, cowardly, towering crime. Battered by the rising revolutionary tide, Peru's Fujimori government has been raging for revenge. But the flunkies who rule Peru backed by the U.S.'s rulers have been unable to inflict military defeat on the revolutionary armed forces led by the Communist Party of Peru and its Chairman Gonzalo. So instead they sought to show their strength by attacking where they thought they could win most easily - the prisons where they hold captured revolutionaries. A great many of our revolutionary comrades have been murdered. But through these comrades' heroic, self-sacrificing resistance, the enemy has been robbed of any triumph.

About 500 revolutionary prisoners of war were held apart from other prisoners in Canto Grande. There, in a modern concrete dungeon where the prisoners are thrown to starve to death or die of disease, these revolutionaries made the two buildings where they were kept into a "shining trench of combat". They lived collectively, continuing to contribute to the revolution through art, handicrafts and so on and preparing themselves politically, ideologically and physically to make the greatest possible future contribution in or out of prison. Since last September, the two prison buildings holding the revolutionary men and women have been under siege by the Armed Forces. The prisoners warned, in declarations smuggled out to the world, that the government was planning to slaughter them, under cover of "regaining control of the prison" and "transferring" the revolutionaries to other jails. Fujimori, who took the government completely into his own hands through an Army coup in April, badly needed some sign of success to show his foreign and domestic backers and dispell the growing shadow of doom hovering above his regime.

Hordes of heavily armed soldiers and elite police surrounded the women's pavilion on Wednesday May 6th, hoping to first subjugate the women and then later the men. But they could not. The prison they had built was turned against them. Women standing on the tops of thick cement walls and on high rooftops amidst gunfire and explosions, scarcely visible amidst the smoke and tear gas clouds, threw down whatever was at hand at their assailants. They fought wearing home-made gas masks and using whatever they could until they beat back the assault waves, killing at least two police. Then the women gained the building where the men prisoners of war were held, and together they fought off the police until the night of Saturday May 9th. Finally, after an eight-hour pitched battle in which the reactionaries deployed all the heavy weaponry imaginable, the revolutionaries were overpowered.

We do not know how many of our comrades died in this unequal battle and how many were coldly executed after the prison was retaken. In the following days the repeatedly-revised and ever-rising government list of the officially dead constantly has lagged far behind the number of bodies foreign reporters have counted arriving in the Lima morgue. There is every reason to believe that after the battle was over the real killing began.

At noon on Sunday May 10, Fujimori personally was brought into the prison courtyard to conduct an obscene victory ceremony. Behind him could be seen prisoners, kept face down on the ground with their hands behind their necks. Whips and clubs cracked out and unleashed dogs were set on them. But still the prisoners could be heard chanting and singing.

These comrades won glory for the revolution in Peru and the world revolution. With their willingness to give their lives for the Party and the revolution, they brought to light - with their actions - at the very moment when the enemy was most determined to show his merciless strength - the strategic weakness of that enemy, and the indomitable strength of our Maoist ideology.

The U.S. imperialists and their various lackeys have been committing horrendous crimes again and again all over the world, but the situation in Peru is different. The Peruvian masses are standing up to them through people's war. The reactionary army faces not helpless victims but a revolutionary army. In a large and growing part of the countryside, the masses have established their own political power, and having achieved strategic equilibrium with the enemy they are preparing to seize power throughout the country. Above all, they have the leadership of the Communist Party of Peru and the ideology of Marx, Lenin and Mao, the ideology that enabled our comrade prisoners to fight until the end, armed at first with very little and finally nothing but their voices, and still inflict a devastating blow on the enemy. Whatever weapons the people lack they will snatch from the enemy and what strength they may lack they will build up until they sweep the vicious and putrid imperialist-dominated system out of Peru as part of sweeping imperialism and reaction off the face of the globe, and together with the rest of the oppressed of this world build an entirely new world free of classes and all oppression, the world of communism.

This is far from the first terrible slaughter suffered in Peru's people's war. The reactionaries have killed tens of thousands of people in mass, indiscriminate terror campaigns against the villages. Nor is it the first mass slaughter of prisoners of war in this war: that U.S.-owned politician Alan García, now trying to erect himself as a "democratic" alternative to Fujimori, himself had three hundred revolutionary prisoners of war killed on June 19th, 1986. We remember that day as the "Day of Heroism" in honour of those prisoners. Now once again the heroism and sacrifice of our imprisoned comrades has set an example and given heart to the people the reactionaries had meant to terrorize and dishearten, the people of Peru and people all over the world.

As the days of the reactionary system in Peru draw to an end, the foreign imperialists and their local lackeys who have so long fattened off the Peruvian masses are lashing out ever more frantically. This is how it is with revolution: the reactionaries try to turn back its advances through slaughter, while each new crime only further exposes their nature and the basis of their system and spurs on the revolution against them, until finally they are overthrown by the armed revolutionary masses.

That day, in Peru, may not be far off. Let our grief and anger spur us on, to step up support everywhere for the People's War in Peru, to bring about that day as soon as possible in that country and hasten the dawn all over the world.