Monday, 30 November 2009

Peru: Afro-Peruvians Receive Apology

Public apologies are not particularly unusual these days. The UK has recently said sorry for its treatment of Alan Turing and both it and Australia have apologised to those citizens who were abused in state care as children.

Now it's Peru's turn; it is to apologise to its black population for the centuries of discrimination they have faced.
Women's and Social Development Minister Nidia Vilchez said the government wanted the apology to promote the "true integration of all Peru's multicultural population," Associated Press news agency reported.
Peru apologises for abuse of African-origin citizens (BBC)

Unfair treatment is not merely a historical shame; even today, black Peruvians are often disadvantaged:
...only 2 percent of Afro-Peruvians obtain technical training or higher education, and just 27 percent finish high school.
Government Begs "Historical Pardon" from Afro-Peruvians for Past Abuses (LAHT)

I'm in favour of symbolic gestures such as apologies as part of other state measures such as truth-telling, reparations, and measures to ensure that injustices are not repeated.

See also The Age of Apology: Facing up to the Past ed. by Mark Gibson et al.

News Round-Up

Argentine Dirty War Victims Cautiously Embrace Trials, Hope for More (truthout)

Former Argentine dictator denies stealing babies

Medellin to hold truth commission on violence
(Colombia Reports)

Monday, 23 November 2009

Argentina: El Olimpo Trial to Start

Tomorrow sees the start of a major human rights trial in Argentina, in which alleged perpetrators from the detention centres of Club Atlético, El Banco and Olimpo will be in the dock. They include Julian the Turk. Here's the full list:

Accused Alias Authority
Raúl Guglielminetti Mayor Guastavino Civil
Samuel Miara Cobani PF [Federal Police]
Julio Simón Turco Julián PF
Raúl González Negro or Mayor Raúl PF
Eufemio Uballes Führer or Anteojito PF
Eduardo Kalinec Doctor K PF
Roberto Rosa Clavel PF
Juan Carlos Falcón Kung Fu PF
Luis Donocik Polaco Chico PF
Oscar Rolón Soler PF
Ricardo Taddei Padre or Cura PF
Juan Carlos Avena Centeno SPF [Federal Penitentiary Service]
Guillermo Cardozo Cortés Gendarmería [Gendarmerie]
Eugenio Pereyra Apestegui Quintana Gendarmería
Enrique Del Pino Miguelito Ejército [Army]
Carlos Tepedino
Mario Gómez Arenas

La banda de Suarez Mason en el banco (Pagina/12)

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Argentina: DNA Debate

I have mentioned several times ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5]) the recent court ruling that allows the compulsory DNA testing of suspected disappeared children (i.e. the now-adult adoptees who may be the biological offspring of parents killed by the military regime). The issue of forcibly taking DNA samples from hairbrushes, toothbrushes or underwear (not from compulsory blood tests) is obviously a thorny one upon which prominent human rights activists disagree.

"It's an absolute invasion of the right to biological privacy," constitutional lawyer Gregorio Badeni told The Associated Press. "No one has the right to know what I have inside my body. That belongs only to me. I can give it up voluntarily, but no one can obligate me to deliver it."

Estela de Carlotto, who heads the grandmothers group, disagrees.

By allowing officials to extract DNA from personal effects, the law "doesn't violate in any way the body or the privacy," she said. "It will surely help discover the identity of the grandchildren we have been searching for for so many years."

"If an adult doesn't want to know his origins, you have to respect it," said Julio Strassera, a former prosecutor who put top military leaders on trial.

"The state cannot leave in the hands of a young person, raised by a member of the military, manipulated by guilt, the decision of whether or not to learn his true identity," said Horacio Pietragalla, who learned in 2003 that he was taken as a baby from his biological mother, Liliana Corti.

Argentina forces dirty war orphans to provide DNA (AP)

I am sympathetic to the Grandmothers' position on this one, although I think Carlotto is a little disingenous to suggest that the privacy of the person in question is not violated. I think it certainly is, it's simply an issue of deciding that this problem is outweighed by the importance of the truth. The situation must be agonising for all those involved, and particularly for the potentially disappeared 'child' at the centre of it. When one considers how many of their adopted parents were personally involved in the crimes that led to their adoption, and that crimes against humanity were being committed, I think the genetic origins need to be clarified. One does not force a victim of abduction to decide whether or not to prosecute their kidnappers.

The majority of the disappeared children who speak in interviews speak of their gratitude in finding their biological families - but of course, it is likely to be the most confident and well-adjusted individuals who are going around giving interviews (and becoming politicians, etc).

Friday, 20 November 2009

Argentina: Honour for Victor Basterra

A survivor of the ESMA torture camp, Víctor Basterra, received an award for valour today in Buenos Aires - and well-deserved it is too.

Basterra was imprisoned in the ESMA in 1979 and, like some other skilled detainees, put to work. In his case, he was forced to photograph the military personnel working there, for ID cards and the like.

Some trusted prisoners were occasionally allowed out of the detention centres without being granted their true freedom - and if you wonder why they would ever return, you can only imagine what would have happened to their families and friends if they had not. Basterra was one of these, and he secretly smuggled out the photos he had taken and other negatives of the prisoners themselves (it is often reported that he took those images too, but he testifies otherwise - a military photographer photographed the disappeared and Basterra made copies). These photographs are essential evidence of who, both victim and perpetrator, was incontrovertibly in the ESMA during the dictatorship and were used during the Trial of the Juntas.

There is not a shadow of a doubt that Basterra was risking his life in removing evidence from the Navy's major detention centre. Moreover, this brave man continues to struggle for justice by talking about what happened to him, taking tour groups around the ESMA, and testifying in legal proceedings.

Basterra's work
The photographs of the Navy personnel can be seen here
The photographs of the disappeared also feature in the book Memoria en construccion edited by Marcelo Brodsky. Brodsky's disappeared brother Fernando is on the poster you can see in the small image above.
For background on Basterra and the ESMA, see also this article from the Washington Post: Torture Center to Bear Witness

El que "saco" las foto
s (Pagina/12)
La Legislatura distingue a un sobreviviente de la ESMA (Critica Digital)

Peru Round-Up

The site for the Museum of Memory will be officially handed over on 10 December.

Various calls
for reparations are continuing.

Fujimori's appeal is creating renewed interest, and claims that the public prosecutor is taking his side.

Monday, 16 November 2009

El Salvador: Remembering 16 November, 1989

Today is the 20th anniversary of the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador. Not surprisingly, Tim is recalling this in a series of excellent posts on his blog:

Remembering the names of the martyrs
Resources for learning about the Jesuit murders
The Subversive Cross

See also:

Spanish Judge Continues Investigation into Jesuit Case (Central American Politics)
In pictures: El Salvador Remembers (BBC)
The martyrs of El Salvador (Guardian)

The priests will be posthumously awarded El Salvador's highest honour by President Mauricio Funes today.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Peru: Developments at Rio Blanco

Blog readers and those interested in Peru news will recall that in January of this year, photographs emerged of torture inflicted on local people in 2005 by security forces at the mining camp of Majaz, now known as Rio Blanco. You can see a timeline here. The mining camp was at the time owned by Monterrico Metals and is now under the ownership of a Chinese company, Zijin Mining Group.

Peruvian prosecutors have been reluctant to follow up on the apparent perpetrators of these crimes; however, Monterrico Metals is facing legal action in Great Britain.

In the first few days of November, Rio Blanco made the news again when several people were killed there and the encampment set on fire by a group of around 15-20 people. Initial reports were of two dead, this later apparently rose to three. I didn't cover this at the time, but Otto did.

Most reports seem to assume that the attack was carried out by local people frustrated by years of having their wishes ignored and of the violence which has previously erupted at the site - except for the second Reuters report, which quotes someone, rather laughably, as saying that there is "no dispute" with the local community and points the finger at drug traffickers instead.

Two dead after attack on Peru project of Zijin (Reuters, 2.11.09)
Rio Blanco Copper mining camp attacked, two guards killed (Living in Peru, 2.11.09)
Monterrico Metals Peru Mine Attack Leaves Two Dead (Bloomberg, 2.11.09)
Peru mine killings work of drug trade: businessmen (Reuters, 3.11.09)

Human rights organisations are now concerned at state response to the latest attack. The National Human Rights Coordinator is claiming that two brothers from the local area, Filoteo and Gustavo Pusma Ibáñez, have been arbitrarily detained for the crime. Another pair of brothers, Hilario and Martín Rojas, have also been held - according to the CNDDHH, without proof of involvement. Moreover, the truck of the major of Carmen de la Frontera was attacked, allegedly by members of the group 'Integrando', which claims to be an 'NGO' and is in fact linked to the Rio Blanco mining company.

Apparently there is a heavy, and threatening, police presence in the area. The government is now also considering the possibility of establishing a military base nearby. Local groups are reacting with alarm to any suggestion of 'militarizing' the area, and understandably so. History teaches us that sending in the army to remote Peruvian communities tends not to end well. Any military presence would have to be handled very, very carefully indeed to avoid the risk of further escalation of tensions and human rights abuses against the local population, and I don't consider such sensitive treatment very likely.

Autoridades de Huancabamba emplazan al Gobierno formar comision investigadora sobre los sucesos ocurridos el 1 de noviembre en campamento de la minero Rio Blanco (CNDDHH)
Death at Dawn in a Peruvian mining camp (ENS)
Derechos y humanos: "La militarizacion del campamento minero Rio Blanco (CNDDHH)
Rechazan posible base militar (La Republica)

Argentina: "He has the same ears!"

There's now an excellent English-language article about Argentine found grandchild Martin Amarilla-Molfino, which also draws together issues of the new DNA law and the owner of Clarin, Ernestina Herrera de Noble.

As I've said before, this is obviously a sensitive issue. People are understandably sympathetic to the personal desires of the presumed disappeared children to decide whether or not they wish to take a DNA to establish their true parentage, and our initial reaction may be shock that the Grandmothers are fighting to make such tests compulsory. Yet we are talking here about crimes against humanity and clearing up an aspect of Argentina's history which has been unresolved for thirty years. With this in mind, I found this statistic particularly arresting:
In 83 of the 98 cases of missing grandchildren found by the Abuelas, the families that raised the children were in part responsible for, or at least knew about, the disappearance of the child's real parents.
So, we are not talking here about innocent adoptive parents who just wanted a family of their own, but rather people who were consciously complicit with a murderous military regime. Would you really consider murderers and accessories to murder to be suitable parents?

The postscript to the article is also sobering:
Since reuniting the Amarilla-Molfino family, the Abuelas have announced that the 99th missing grandchild has been found. In stark contrast to the case of Martín however, the discovery was the remains of Mónica Gabriela Santucho, disappeared in 1976 at the age of 14.
New DNA Law in Argentina Will Help Find the Missing Grandchildren (NACLA)

Peru: Possibility of Pardon for Fujimori

Later this month, Fujimori's appeal will be heard. One of the issues will be whether his crimes - murder and kidnap - should continue to be considered crimes against humanity. If they are not, this opens the way to the possibility of a pardon, which his daughter Keiko has said she would grant if she were elected President.

Appeal ruling could make Fujimori eligible for pardon (Fujimori on Trial)

Chile: Presidential Candidate on "Justice"

“If I make it to La Moneda (Chile’s presidential palace) I will make every measure to ensure justice is applied in an appropriate manner,” said Piñera. “Without proceedings that go on ad eternum, that never finish.”

Piñera was then duly applauded by the crowd of nearly 1,000 retired military and police personnel.

Well, he would be, wouldn't he? Human rights organisations are not amused, but comment that at least Piñera is showing his true colours. Indeed.

Chilean presidential candidate triggers controversy over human rights trials (Mercopress)

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Argentina: Appropriation of Children 'Crime against Humanity'

An Argentine court has ruled that the appropriation of the children of disappeared parents during the dictatorship, and the subsequent suppression of their true identity, is a crime against humanity. This is important because means that no statute of limitations applies to them.

The ruling comes as part of the review of a case of a former military man and a couple sentenced to between 7 and 10 years in jail for the appropriation of María Eugenia Sampallo Barragán. The couple illegally adopted her aged three months old and registered her as their biological child. The Times reported on her case last year:
“These are not my parents,” Ms Sampallo said at a press conference on Monday. “They are my kidnappers . . . there is no emotional bond that binds me to them. These are my parents,” she said, picking up photos of her biological parents.
Maria Barragan succeeds in getting adoptive parents jailed (Times)

Declaran de lesa humanidad la apropriacion de hijos
(Critica Digital)

Peru: Burials in Abancay

For the first time in the region of Apurímac, the remains of five individuals who were murdered by the armed forces in 1988 will be returned to their families for burial tomorrow.

The bodies of the victims were found in a common grave in a place known as Chaupiorcco. DNA tests have identified them as Armando Huamantingo, Manuel Niño de Guzmán Ayvar, Juan Pablo Carbajal Hurtado, María Elena Zavala Cayllahua and Simona Pérez Tapia.

A wake will be tomorrow and then the funeral service on Saturday.

Entregaran restos de desaparecidos en Abancay (CNDDHH, from La Republica)

Peru: Dialogue without Persecution

Human rights organisation APRODEH, in conjunction with the CNDDHH, has initiated a campaign called Dialogo sin Persecucion (Dialogue without Persecution) aimed at improving cooperation between the state and other actors in the wake of the Bagua crisis. They point out - correctly - that government harassment of indigenous groups will only prevent progress in the resolution of such conflicts. The campaign now has a blog with updates, and Peruvian residents can also find a sample letter to write to Garcia and other politicians.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Argentina: Disappeared Child Found

Here's one for the Spanish-speakers: an interview with found grandchild Martin Amarilla.

"Nunca di tantos abrazos en la vida" (Pagina/12)

Lat Am Events in the UK

The Peru Support Group is holding its annual conference in Oxford next week. See flyer here (pdf).

The London Latin American Film Festival is also currently underway - apologies for late notice. There looks to be many excellent films being shown. Of interest to this blog would be the documentaries Victims of Democracy (dir. Stella Jacobs), The Loss/La Perdida (dir. Javier Angulo & Enrique Gabriel) and Our Disappeared (dir. Juan Mandelbaum).

El Salvador: Progress

Two pieces of good news from El Salvador; firstly, on the twentieth anniversary of their deaths, six murdered Jesuit priests will be posthumously awarded the country's highest honour as a puclic "act of atonement" by the government. Secondly, the Funes government has also promised to investigate the assasination of archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980. See Tim's El Salvador blog here and here for more details.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Peru: Elsa Malpartida

Peruvian politician Elsa Malpartida is facing a storm this week following her admission that she was a member of Shining Path/Sendero Luminoso. The MP and former coca farmer claims she was forced to cook for the terrorists during the height of the conflict in the region near Tingo Maria.

Malpartida is now also claiming that the news stories are putting her life, and the lives of her family, in danger from Shining Path members, and this may well be true.

Naturally, there are pretty polarised reponses to these revelations. Is Malpartida a victim, like so many highland Peruvians, who was forced to work for the guerrillas for fear of her life? Or was she more willingly involved?

Part of the issue turns on whether Malpartida took advantage of the Ley de Arrepentimiento (Repentance Law) in the early 1990s. This gave former senderistas the chance to become re-integrated into mainstream society in return for officially renouncing violence and informing on comrades. Many news reports are reporting that she did turn to this legislation, although others are saying that she is denying this on the grounds that she had committed no crime.

As a politician, Malpartida must accept that the public will have an interest in her past. I don't think that it's realistic to exclude anyone who may ever have been involved with Sendero from any participation in public life; in a pervasive conflict like this one, so many were involved that cutting them all out would be very difficult. Besides, roles could be fluid and the same people could find themselves on one side of the battle at one time and then, a few years ago, on the other side. And that's without getting started on the issues of coercion and force. Nevertheless, difficult though it may be, a certain amount of openness would seem to be a prerequisite for those involved in politics - and for the 'reconciliation' part of 'truth and reconciliation' to get started.

Parliamentarian claims she was forced to be a member of Shining Path (Living in Path)
El Milagro de Malpartida (Caretas)
"Ella ha estado en el corazon del terrorismo" (Correo)
Fiscalia analiza vinculo de Malpartido con SL (El Comercio)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Colombia: Art Exhibition on Memory of War

The work of ex-combatants from all sides of Colombia's civil war forms a new exhibition at Bogota's Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition also has an excellent web site so those outside the Colombian capital can still browse the paintings.

Colombian Art Exhibit Depicts the Horrors of War
(Americas Quarterly)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Argentina: Bignone on Trial

A round-up of the international media on the Bignone trial:

Former Argentine military ruler in Dirty War trial (Reuters)
[What is going on with this sentence: "Waterboarding is a form of simulated drowning widely considered torture"?? Have we gone backwards here? When I first started reading about the torture technique employed in Argentina known as submarino, there was never any ambivalence; it was included in the list of tortures. Now that we know it as waterboarding and the US does it, there is somehow doubt and we need to qualify that "some people think" that it might be torture. People, don't give in to this mealy-mouthed crap: it is torture. There, that's about as shouty as you'll find me getting here.]

Argentine ex-leader goes on trial (BBC)

Trial Begins for a Former President of Argentina (NY Times)

Argentina's last military dictator on trial for human rights abuses

Argentina: Grandchild No. 98

Today the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo held a press conference to introduce Martín Amarilla-Molfino, found grandchild number 98. Until yesterday, the child of disappeared parents Guillermo Amarilla and Marcela Molfino had never met his siblings, aunts and uncles, and they didn't know of his existence either. His mother hadn't told anyone she was pregnant when she was abducted, and she may not even have known herself. Her son was born in captivity in the Campo de Mayo in 1980. Although he had no knowledge of his biological family, he had suspicions about his origins because his adoptive father (or "appropriator" as he is known in the Argentine jargon) had worked for the intelligence services and because his place of birth was recorded as the Campo de Mayo.

Apparently, a key factor in the discovery of Martin's family was the testimony of another former member of the armed forces who provided information to the Grandmothers - interesting in the light of Chilean soldiers' offer to become witnesses against their former paymasters.

Las Abuelas presentaron al nieto numero 98 (Pagina/12)
Abuelas recupero al nieto numero 98 (Pagina/12)
Abuelas dieron a conocer su nuevo logro: recuperaron al nieto 98 (Critica Digital)

Monday, 2 November 2009

Argentina: Bignone in the Dock

The last president of the dictatorship, Reynaldo Bignone, is facing charges of abductions and disappearances in the Campo de Mayo detention centre from 1976-78. His trial, along with that of former generals Eugenio Guañabens Perelló, Jorge García, Fernando Exequiel Verplaetsen, Carlos Alberto Tepedino and Germán Montenegro began today.

Comenzo el juicio al ultimo dictador (Pagina/12)
Bignone, el ultimo president de la dictadura (Pagina/12)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Chile: Ex-conscripts Willing to Testify

"Our mission was to stand guard outside, and listen to their screams," said former draftee Jose Paredes, who described his service at the Tejas Verdes torture center in an AP interview. "They would end up destroyed, torn apart, their teeth and faces broken."

"There are things that I've always said I will take to the grave," Paredes said, his grizzled face running with tears as he named a half-dozen officers who he said gave the orders. "I've never told this to anyone."

Some Chilean former conscripts are saying that they will testify about their actions under the Pinochet regime in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Now, in general I'm against amnesty laws and the like, but I can see that there is an argument for protecting these, the lowest ranks of the machinery of terror, in order to receive valuable information about the major perpetrators. Many of the soldiers were just teenagers and clearly under extreme pressure to carry out the orders given to them - refusing could well have been fatal.

Chile: Old soldiers ready to tell secrets of coup (AP)

Peru: More on Reparations

A further article from La Republica, which I don't have time to translate - if I do, I'll come back to it later - deals with the subject of reparations to the victims of political violence and the apparent lack of interest coming from the government in pushing through this issue. As I reported earlier, the commission on reparations is now basically unable to continue work due to cuts in its budget. The article has the simple but cutting headline "My pain doesn't matter".

Mi dolor no importa (La Republica)

Peru: Memory Museum 'to be neutral'

La Republica has an article today which I will reproduce in full and then translate:

El escritor peruano Mario Vargas Llosa, quien preside la comisión de alto nivel encargada de la construcción del Museo de la Memoria en su país, aseguró hoy que este proyecto incluirá de forma objetiva y neutral todas las visiones sobre los años del terrorismo (1980-2000). Vargas Llosa dijo que el Museo de la Memoria presentará a todas las víctimas "sin ninguna excepción, parcialidad o sectarismo".
"De tal manera que quienes han expresado desconfianza estoy seguro que van a quedar tranquilos cuando vean la objetividad, la neutralidad, con que ese museo va mostrar el sufrimiento que causa el fanatismo y la falta de legalidad en una sociedad", agregó.
Así, el escritor responde a las críticas generadas con la decisión de construir ese museo, algunas de las cuales provienen del interior del propio Gobierno, y que siempre apuntan en la misma dirección: una supuesta parcialidad del proyecto en contra de las Fuerzas Armadas.
Entre los principales opositores al Museo de la Memoria están el vicepresidente peruano, Luis Giampietri, el titular de Defensa, Rafael Rey, y su antecesor, Ántero Flores Aráoz, así como sectores conservadores, como el arzobispo Juan Luis Cipriani y la política Keiko Fujimori.
El escritor peruano enfatizó que "es importante que una sociedad tenga viva la ocurrencia del pasado, sobre todo si ese pasado ha engendrado secuelas tan atroces como las del terrorismo. Eso es muy importante de cara a las nuevas generaciones".
Vargas Llosa también destacó que el Museo de la Memoria sea construido en el distrito limeño de Miraflores, barrio que fue escenario en 1992 del atentado con coche bomba en la calle Tarata, uno de los más grandes y traumáticos ocurridos en Lima.
La construcción del Museo de la Memoria, que fue aprobada el pasado 31 de marzo tras un mes de polémica, será financiada con una donación de dos millones de dólares del Gobierno alemán, aporte que fue rechazado en un primer momento por el gabinete peruano.
La violencia en Perú entre 1980 y 2000 se saldó con 69.280 muertos, según el informe final de la Comisión de la Verdad y la Reconciliación, que atribuyó casi la mitad de las víctimas a Sendero Luminoso y al menos un tercio a "agentes del Estado" (policías y militares).

The Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, who is heading the high level commission charged with the construction of the Museum of Memory in his country, today insisted that the project would include all viewpoints of the years of terrorism (1980-2000) in an objective, neutral fashion.
Vargas Llosa said that the Museum of Memory would present all victims "without exception, bias or sectarianism".
"In this way, I am sure that those who have expressed their concern are going to be reassured when they see the objectivity, the neutrality, with which this musuem is going to show the suffering which fanatism and the lack of legality causes in a society," he added.
This the author responded to criticism directed at the decision to build the museum, some of which has come within the government itself, and which always points in the same direction: the supposed bias of the project against the Armed Forces.
Among the principal opponents of the Museum of Memory are the Peruvian Vice President, Luis Giampietri, the Defense Minister Rafael Rey and his predecessor, Ántero Flores Aráoz, and conservative factions such as the archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani and politican Keiko Fujimori.
The Peruvian author emphasised that "it's important that society keeps alive what happened in the past, above all if this past has engendered such terrible consequences as terrorism has. This is very important for future generations".
Vargas Llosa again pointed out that the Museum of Memory will be built in the district of Miraflores, in Lima, the suburb which was the scene of the truck bomb in Tarata street in 1992, one of the largest and most traumatic to occur in Lima.
The construction of the Museum of Memory, which was approved on 31 March after a month of fierce debate, will be financed by a donation of two million dollars by the German government, an offer which was initially refused by the Peruvian cabinet.
The violence in Peru between 1980 and 2000 left 69,280 dead, according to the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which attributed almost half of victims to Shining Path and at least one third to "agents of the State" (the police and armed forces).

Such calls for 'objectivity' are in fact nothing more than thinly-veiled attacks on the entire idea of any form of public commemoration that deviates from the state-sanctioned, military parade type. The use of descriptions such as 'neutrality' is utter fiction. The critics will accept nothing less than a eulogy to the bravery of the security forces who managed to slaughter over 20,000 civilians in a twenty-year period. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the TRC report and the Yuyanapaq photography exhibition already contain details of the deaths of servicemen and their grieving relatives and really give ample time to the atrocities of the Shining Path and the (far less active) MRTA.

Now, I don't blame Vargas Llosa for his comments, because he is trying to appease some powerful people here. But to go a little further than his statements, I would say that there is a limit to this 'presentation of all points of view' which he mentions. There is a widely-held misconception that a lack of bias means giving space to all shades of opinion, however extreme. If a few people adhere to a genuine belief that the Earth is flat, do we need to devote fifty percent of geography lessons to debunking this view, for the sake of 'fairness'? No, because given the limited amount of time and resources available, we can go with the consensus - that the Earth is round - and not be hijacked by a tiny minority.

It is truly disgusting that top figures in government can continue to rail and scaremonger against a project accepted and approved by the government itself; and it is high time that President Alan Garcia told them to shut up, get over it, and stop justifying crimes against humanity. I have no hope that he will, because there are some pretty murky incidents from his own first term in office which he would rather received as little public attention as possible, but this would be the decent thing to do.

Vlargas Llosa asegura que Museo de la Memoria sera objetivo y neutral (La Republica)