A WORLD TO WIN    #20   (1995)


The Campaign to Move Heaven and Earth to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo:

The Battle Continues!

The capture of Chairman Gonzalo, Chairman of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP), on 12 September 1992 gave rise to a fierce and resolute battle to defend his life. Chairman Gonzalo's capture by the enemy was felt as a bitter blow to revolutionaries in Peru and around the world. In the 1960s and 1970s Chairman Gonzalo led the struggle to reconstitute the PCP and lay the basis for the launching of a People's War. After the initiation of the People's War in 1980, Chairman Gonzalo played the central role in guiding and advancing the development of the war, and became the recognized leader of millions of peasants, workers, intellectuals and others in Peru. The revolution in Peru led by Chairman Gonzalo has been a precious and fresh revolutionary wind blowing away the stench of old revisionism and presenting a new challenge to imperialism and reaction. When Chairman Gonzalo was captured, for communist revolutionaries around the world defending his life meant defending the right of the slave to rebel against their slavemasters. It meant defending revolution and communism.

On 12 September 1992 the reactionaries celebrated what they thought was the virtual defeat of the People's War. However, not only has the People's War continued despite this blow, but the international campaign to defend Chairman Gonzalo's life has reverberated around the globe and shone an even sharper light on the features of the two sides locked in mortal combat. This has inspired the masses and helped puncture the imperialists' lie that it is impossible to challenge the New World Order and that revolution and communism are dead.

Internationally the battle to defend Chairman Gonzalo's life has been spearheaded by the world's proletarian revolutionary forces, who rallied around the call of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement to "Move Heaven and Earth to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo". Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have actively taken part in this struggle in one way or another. One especially strong component of this fight has been the campaign coordinated by the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzman (Chairman Gonzalo's given name). The IEC has united and mobilized people in more than 40 countries who are outraged over the US-backed Fujimori regime's murderous treatment of this revolutionary leader and the other political prisoners, and recognize that a dangerous precedent is being set for revolutionary leaders and other opponents of imperialism and reaction around the world.

The campaign to defend Chairman Gonzalo has been a complex and fierce uphill battle. On the one side, the US-Fujimori regime, backed by reactionaries around the world, has done everything they could to humiliate, discredit, torture, and even kill Chairman Gonzalo. On the other side an unprecedented array of forces from every corner of the globe who hate imperialism and its endless reactionary schemes to crush the hopes and dreams of the poor and oppressed have stepped forward to defend his life. Faced with the continuation of the People's War in Peru and this unexpected international alliance to defend Chairman Gonzalo's life, the reactionaries, despite all their might, have been unable to attack Chairman Gonzalo with impunity. France's main newspaper, Le Monde, stated that a secret plan to kill him was halted at the last minute because of international public opinion. The US-orchestrated campaign of lies and slanders designed to isolate Chairman Gonzalo and the People's War in Peru has been punctured. And all those who have witnessed this powerful realignment of the revolutionary and progressive forces who have come to the defense of Chairman Gonzalo and the People's War in Peru have been infused with new hope for the future.

The attacks on Chairman Gonzalo have enraged people from very different political trends and ideologies. Many do not understand or agree with the need for a Maoist revolution. However, they do recognize that Chairman Gonzalo is the cherished leader of millions of people in Peru. They recognize the basic right of the people to take up arms against a repressive regime and know that by attacking revolutionary leadership the imperialists are trying to deny the people this precious right. That such a broad array of people has joined together to defend a communist leader has contributed to the fact that Chairman Gonzalo is alive today and their resoluteness and tenacity has surprised and angered the reactionaries. It has also changed the terrain for revolutionaries. In the course of taking up the defense of Chairman Gonzalo, great numbers of people have learned the truth about the People's War in Peru for the first time. As a result, there is a broad reservoir of international support for the People's War and an emerging network of activists fighting to defend it. It has also presented the Maoist forces with many new challenges to play their independent role in both strengthening the worldwide campaign and at the same time taking up more overall revolutionary communist tasks in an increasingly receptive and enriched atmosphere.

When Chairman Gonzalo was arrested, the regime boasted that it had decapitated the People's War. For two years Fujimori and the international media have trumpeted its defeat. At the same time the Peruvian regime unleashed its entire arsenal of weaponry against the People's War - new repressive laws, a psychological war aimed at creating divisions and confusions, empty promises of future prosperity, all backed up by the brutal might of the military which has waged constant war on the people. But in spite of increasingly desperate and brutal attacks, even the regime is forced to admit that they have been unable to wipe out the People's War. Not only have there been continued attacks on banks, newly privatized companies, and the electrical system which have affected Lima and other cities, but the military has suffered many losses in fierce fighting with PCP combatants in the countryside. They complain of surrounding revolutionary fighters in villages, only to have them escape through elaborate tunnel systems into the jungles. They whine about being unable to land their helicopters in the jungle without coming under fire. They justify massacres of entire villages by saying that the combatants are being hidden among the people, and that every person is a collaborator. The enemy's frustration reflects that they will never be able to crush the deep determination of the Peruvian people to stand up to their oppressors.

However, much more needs to be done to protect the life of Chairman Gonzalo as well as to support the People's War he has so powerfully led. Chairman Gonzalo's life continues to be in danger. The US continues to intensify its sophisticated strategy of low-intensity counter-revolutionary warfare in their attempt to crush the People's War. Chairman Mao said that as a protracted People's War advances, the reactionary regime must be expected to unleash increasingly desperate and brutal attacks against the revolutionary forces, and that the people must be prepared to meet unexpected twists and turns, dangers and possibilities. The upcoming April 1995 presidential elections may well be a focal point of new manoeuvers, as the various reactionaries compete with each other to try to prove to their Yankee masters that they are the best choice to preside over the attacks on the People's War.

During the past two years the many forces who have taken up this fierce battle to defend Chairman Gonzalo's life have resolutely met each new challenge the reactionaries have thrown at them, and have become increasingly steeled. They have become schooled in the enemy's unrelenting campaign of disinformation. They have played a decisive role in mobilizing people from all walks of life to defend Chairman Gonzalo, and a strong and powerful front has been formed. People from many different political trends and ideologies have marched in the streets, signed petitions, written letters and decorated the walls of the cities and the hills in the countryside. They have contributed money and have engaged in fiery debates with people who have been swayed by the lies of the enemy. IEC committees and groups made up of these diverse forces have formed in dozens of countries. Moreoever, new committees to support the People's War in Peru have been formed. To many, the battle to defend the life of Chairman Gonzalo has become integrally linked with supporting the People's War in Peru, and this has opened up a whole new vision of what is possible. Some of these fighters have stepped forward to become revolutionary communists.

The campaign to defend Dr Guzman's life continues to be an uphill battle. Even though the Fujimori regime had previously announced that his isolation would end after the legal limit of one year, they have ignored their own laws and maintained the isolation for more than two years now. No one can know exactly how the reactionary forces will next attack. But one thing is certain. The revolutionary and progressive people of the world are in a better position to meet each of the enemy's challenges, and to win.

Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo!

The capture of Chairman Gonzalo, leader of the Party and the Revolution, is part of a plan to carry out greater genocide against the people. The reactionaries dream that this will allow them to annihilate the Revolution. They do not realize that the more blood they shed the closer they come to their extinction. We demand that the genocidal Fujimori government respect his health and life.

The Communist Party of Peru will deal an exemplary punishment to all those who dare to put their dirty hands on Chairman Gonzalo.

Long Live Chairman Gonzalo, Leader of the Party and the Revolution!

Long Live the Communist Party of Peru!

Long Live the People's War!

We Will Give Our Lives for the Party and the Revolution!

Communist Party of Peru,
Lima Base
September 1992

LEFT: New Delhi, India. Meeting outside the Peruvian Embassy demanding the release of Comrade Gonzalo.

TOP RIGHT: One of many demonstrations in Kathmandu, Nepal, against the puppet Fujimori regime.

TOP CENTER: Postcard distributed in Tunisia reads: Freedom for Comrade Gonzalo captured since 12 September 92 in the reactionaries' prisons. Inside prison as outside Comrade Gonzalo remains a communist symbol inciting us to make revolution.

"I am thankful to IEC for providing me with the latest information about the case of Dr Guzman. I think that after the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee (1920-1927), this is the next big movement that spread throughout the globe. I received the statement... and got more than 50 signatures, mostly from human rights activists and lawyers. "

- Lawyer, Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, India

TOP LEFT: Punjabis as well as people from other parts of India are brought together by the Joint Committe for Comrade Gonzalo's Release

From Kerala, India

The slogan of our procession read "Our Solidarity with the Revolutionary People of Peru is Indomitable". Copies of Dr Guzman's speech were distributed along the route.... At the culmination of the procession an effigy of Fujimori, with the badge "Man-Eater", which also symbolizes the rulers of India, was burned and the head of the Fujimori' was beaten to smithereens...

"The Bagong Alyansan Makabayan (BAYAN) declares its wholehearted support for the campaign to defend the life and rights of Dr Abimael Guzman, and demands the release of all political prisoners in Peru... The raging armed revolution in Peru can in no way be considered as terrorism, as the Western mass media claims, but a liberation movement of the people seeking profound social change....<"

7 March 1993, Manila, Philippines

BAYAN organization (2 million members)

"Today Peruvian working people are living under the yoke of the US-sponsored Fujimori regime. On Oct 31, 1993 the US-backed Peruvian government is holding a referendum under the farce of creating a new constitution, but in effect to secure the approval of the people to reinstate capital punishment. In opposition to their referendum, and as part of the most urgent world-wide struggle to protect the life of Dr Guzman, the great leader of the Peruvian working people, we, using our power derived from production, have stopped work for one day and devote one day's wages to the Campaign."

Worker's representative Ozcan Dogan, Ankara, Turkey,

Yil Isi Sitesi Factory (a radiator factory)

TOP RIGHT: IEC delegates to Philippines and Japan with students after an IEC forum in Manila University.

"We, political prisoners in Bucaramanga, Colombia... want to greet and show our voice of militant solidarity; and at the same time we condemn the government of the dictator Fujimori, for the cruel outrage against Dr Abimael Guzman Reynoso, Chairman Gonzalo...."

Highlights of the International Campaign to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzman:

Highlights of particular activities cannot begin to convey the totality of what people around the world have done as part of the international campaign to defend Dr Guzman's life.

Much of this activity has been coordinated and reported on by the more than 50 IEC Emergency Bulletins. Using these as an organizer, supporters in dozens of countries have carried out independent and creative activities for more than two years. Hundreds of programs and meetings have been held. Thousands of book tables and information centres have been set up. Tens of thousands of people have signed the IEC Call, as well as other petitions and letters of protest. Strong appeals have been made to human rights organizations demanding that they take a stand; when they have refused they have been exposed. Peruvian embassies and consulates have been picketed and even occupied. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest. Millions of leaflets have been distributed, and posters and banners have appeared on the walls of hundreds of cities around the world. Songs have been composed. Leaflets and news articles have been published in both the mainstream and alternative media. The IEC video "You Must Tell the World" and "People of the Shining Path" have been shown on battery-powered VCRs in small villages nestled in the Himalayas, to peasants in the steaming jungles of Colombia, behind the walls of ivy-towered universities in America and in ghettos from Berlin's Kreuzberg to Los Angeles and Calcutta. To say that millions of people have heard the truth about Chairman Gonzalo and the People's War in Peru for the first time during the past two years is no exaggeration.

September 1992 As news of Dr Guzman's arrest flashes around the world, people immediately demand that his life be respected. Within days, tens of thousands sign the IEC Call to Defend the Life of Dr Guzman.

24 September 1992 Dr Guzman's historic "speech from the cage" is broadcast around the world.

October 1992 In Lima, the first IEC delegation of international lawyers is refused entry to the secret trial of Dr Guzman, but their presence makes media headlines and informs the Peruvian people of the worldwide campaign. Dr Guzman's "trial" by a military tribunal of hooded generals is denounced worldwide. The government, which had made plans to execute Dr Guzman on 15 October, is unable to carry them out in the spotlight of international public opinion. Supporters around the world pledge "one day's wages" to support the campaign. The second delegation is arrested by the secret police, DINCOTE, detained for 30 hours, and expelled.

November 1992 3rd IEC Delegation arrives in Peru and meets with members of the Association of Democratic Lawyers. Shortly thereafter, Dr Guzman's lawyer, Dr Crespo, is arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.

February 1993 The IEC South Asia Regional Conference is held in Kathmandu, Nepal. Two weeks later, more than 1,000 people from 33 countries attend the IEC Founding Conference in Germany.

April 1993 The 4th IEC Delegation is welcomed by shantytown residents in Lima, who ask them to "go back to your countries and tell them what you have seen and what you have heard here."

14-15 May, 1993 - International Days of Action Powerful unified actions denouncing the treatment of Dr Guzman and demanding respect for his life and health are carried out simultaneously by supporters in more than 20 countries.

July 1993 A team of international lawyers meet to support 3 petitions on behalf of Dr Guzman, other political prisoners, and democratic lawyers which were filed with the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) by lawyers in Lima.

12-24 September 1993 Coordinated international activities mark the first anniversary of Dr Guzman's capture. Activists arrange for Dr Guzman's "speech from the cage" to be disseminated round the world - on radio, in newspapers, in leaflets, and through street theatre.

August-November 1993 Two international lawyers argue for support for the petitions filed by the Lima lawyers at an IACHR session. Sweeping range of activities against the official reinstatement of the death penalty in Peru and the government's intention to use it against Dr Guzman and other imprisoned political leaders. 5th Delegation arrives in Peru to demand an end to the isolation of Dr Guzman, which by Peruvian law was to have ended on 12 September 1993. Formal requests to visit Dr Guzman are filed by international lawyers in the IACHR case.

January-February 1994 Lawyers from Colombia and Mexico maintain a prolonged presence in Peru in pursuit of breaking the isolation of Dr Guzman.

March 1994 - IEC East Asia Speaking Tour Three IEC delegates meet with organizations of peasants, workers, students, political prisoners, women, and human rights groups in the Philippines and Japan.

April 1994 The IEC video, "You Must Tell the World", is released.

19-20 May 1994 Coordinated international days of action demand an end to Dr Guzman's isolation, respect for the basic rights of political prisoners, freedom for lawyers, and denounce US intervention in Peru.

12-24 Sept 1994 International Days of Action marking two years since the capture of Dr Guzman's focus on denouncing the US-Fujimori regime for refusing to allow Dr Guzman to meet with his lawyers, his family, his medical doctors or his friends, and demand an end to his complete and total isolation.

Sept-Nov 1994 Thousands sign a Demand to End the Isolation, which is published in newspapers in many countries.

Nov 1994 International mobilization against the Peruvian regime's genocidal military offensive, which Fujimori proudly called a "Little Vietnam"!

ABOVE: Caracas, Venezuela. Following the resolution of the IEC founding conference to spread the campaign in Latin America, IEC Colombia took the message to Venezuela and Ecuador as well as other neighbouring countries where they were warmly greeted.

ABOVE: "Long Live the PCP". Part of the internationalist and anti-imperialist contingent of May First 1993 demonstrations. Montréal, Canada.

BELOW: Graffiti on the Hills of Tamil Nadu, India, calls on people to join the international movement to release Comrade Gonzalo.

You Must Tell the World!

The dramatic story of the IEC campaign with footage from many countries.

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TOP ROW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Members of the 5th delegation: Haluk Geregek, Turkey; Martin Heiming, Germany; Peter Erlinder, US; and Mario Bustamente, Mexico.

Dhaka, Bangladesh: Recreation of Chairman Gonzalo's historic cage speech. The Banner floating over demonstration of International Days of Action, reads "Buildup revolutionary struggle in order to seize our own power along the Maoist ideology."

Pakistan: 1992; Demanding the freedom of Comrade Gonzalo along with political prisoners in South Africa.

London, UK. September 1994.