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Thursday, April 24, 1997

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  • Peruvian Hostage Standoff Ended: "Rule of Law" In Peru

    Continuing yesterday’s Democracy Now report: In a secret raid, 140 Peruvian troops stormed the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in Lima as MRTA rebels played soccer in the home’s reception room. Including many "young boys and girls", MRTA members were found after the raid to have been shot in the head execution-style, and none of the resistance group survived, regardless of age. The attack ended a 126-day resistance and protest against the junta’s imprisonment of political opposition, atrocious prison conditions, and IMF & World Bank imposed austerity programs. After the attack, President Fujimori was shown on television wearing body armor, and stepping over the bloody remains of members of the rebel group, still lying where they died, including their leader, Nestor Cerpa, active in Peru’s labor movement since the 1970’s. While expressing relief for the release of the hostages who survived the raid, Congressman Conseco shared his concern that military force used in the raid is also used to crush dissidents, threaten political opponents, eliminate critical media, and fortify corruption within the government. In November of 1996, a critical television station was bombed by Peru’s intelligence service, similar to the bombing of Congressman Conseco’s home, an assertion corroborated by agents who publicly claimed credit for the latter. Sr. Conseco condemned the raid as a violation of the Geneva Convention, and an atrocity. Reportedly, a short wave radio transmission captured the attempt of the 4 youngest MRTA members to surrender before they were killed. The governments of the U.S. and Japan have hailed the raid as a "success".

  • Ninth Labor Notes Conference: Latino Workers In The Labor Movement

    About 15,000 Mexican workers came to the United States as a result of a Ford Motor Company recruiting drive, including Elena Arrada’s grandfather. Baldemor Velasquez discusses how companies continue a long history of circumventing laws regarding minimum wages and child labor, and successes in organizing farm workers and opposing unfair exploitation of workers. Ms. Arrada discusses the economic dilemmas caused by strikes, and the need for labor to establish community partnerships for creating bridges between strikers and scabs, and preventing social rifts that can harm communities for decades.

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