A note on Peru
May 16, 2009
In heavily suppressed news where the programs continue and losses to humanity last forever, the issue of forced sterilization of third world peoples remains a partner in the war against defenceless peoples, in the gradual eradication of indigenous groups globally and the destruction of entire national groups. While former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori is found guilty of crimes against humanity and responsible for the actions of death squads, the most serious charges against him are on hold.
"Genocide Watch" a heavily funded well established mouthpiece for US policy concerning the various genocides, continues to make no mention of Peruvian women or forced sterilization.
The history of Peru suggests that the peoples' war began in the Fifteen hundreds. In the 1700's it yielded 40 thousand native casualties and 60 thousand Spanish casualties. Sendero Luminoso which first went into action in 1980 was a slightly different presentation of guerrilla ethic already known to Peruvians throughout the Sixties. The guerilla movement was countered by U.S. assistance and investment in the Seventies. Guerrilla resistance in Peru was always in defence of native ie. Peruvian interests as opposed to colonial, foreign, corporate interests. Because the rule did not care for the people Abimael Guzman's Sendero was able to organize, and native groups bonded under a socialism / communism, marxist in its inclusion and maoist in its focus on community. It offered people of European descent equality with the Indian peoples and those of both origins. Sendero Luminoso was a national resistance organization fighting a war. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru (CVR) Final Report of 2003, 80 % of the war's victims were men. Over 75% were men with wife or family to support.
Part of Fujimori's attempt to counter native Peruvian resistance was to destroy the people. It is military thinking familiar to US policy makers of the war against Vietnam and the war against Iraq. Through destruction of the people, the country's rulers facilitate the uses of a country's resources by other countries and their corporations.
Amnesty Canada's discussion of Peru's CVR report tends to blame the Sendero for the heaviest share of crimes, when that assessment is unrealistic. The CVR report was apparently produced under pressure. The CVR report leaves out all documentation of cases of sterilization which would provide evidence to those attempting to regulate crimes of government.
Avoiding here discussion of the war between Peruvian resistance forces and CIA supported government and military, where all North American information is obscured by twenty years of news management, the simpler concern of enforced sterilization of indigenous women is fairly straightforward. Programs of sterilization (ie. "National Population Program") were performed by traceable government policies and personnel trained by the US Agency for International Development and the UN's mechanisms of population control, the UN Population Fund. In 1998 the US gave seven times more financial assistance to Peru's population control program, than the next donor, UNPF. Various sources note financial assistance as well from the World Bank, the EU, the US, Japan, etc. When policies of forced sterilization became widely known the US government cut its funding.
Fujimori's programs were able to move forward under the banner of feminism, with the spin that women with the right to their own bodies are free to choose their method of contraception. While this helped neutralize international protest from women's groups between 100 thousand and 300,000 Peruvian women were sterilized. Some unwittingly. Some at "ligation festivals." Some without choice. Some as a condition of employment or benefits. Some for cash. Some as a condition of medical care, to stay alive. Some health workers were given bonuses according to the number of women they persuaded. The wide variance in estimates is at least partly due to the difference of years included in programs that started in 1996 and lasted through 2000, depending on one's sources. Given the power groups of the sources the statistics may be considered low. 22,000 indigenous men are noted as well.
In 2002 the Peruvian Human Rights Commission released its report, "Anticoncepcion Quirurgica Voluntaria Report,"or AQV report, which found the USAID partly responsible for Fujimori's forced sterilization program. The USAID has attempted to discredit the report which has the authority of the Peruvian Congress.
In 2002 Wendy McElroy wrote:"The controversy revolves around Peru’s National Program for Family Planning, which received funding from both the United Nations Population Fund and U.S. Agency for International Development. The Program included a campaign entitled Voluntary Surgical Contraception—that is, sterilization. An estimated 100,000 to 300,000 people, mostly women, were sterilized. (ifeminist)."
A clear case for applying the laws (ie. the Convention on Genocide) is put forward by Jocelyn E. Getgen in her research on why the issue of forced sterilization was excised from the Peruvian Truth Commission's report. It notes the removal from the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report of statistics and proof of two hundered thousand sterilizations. Funding was reliant on USAID, and the UN which acted as a secretary/gatekeeper for funds from northern countries. While it is difficult to trace links between the actions of specific death squads in the Americas to specific orders by the CIA or specific agent control asserted by a US Embassy, other covert agencies and black budgets, it is comparatively simple to sort out the establishment and enforcement of a genocide, as Getgen points out, against Quechua women through surgical birth control mechanisms. The Peruvian and foreign personnel responsible for these programs and who effected the programs are on public record, as are US laws against genocide.
Partial sources: "Peruvian Human Rights Commission Charges USAID and UNPFA Supported Forced Sterilzation,"July 8, 2003, Population Research Institute; "Untold Truths: The Exclusion of Enforced Sterilizations from the Peruvian Truth Commission's Final Report," Jocelyn E. Getgen, Year 2008, Paper 43, Cornell Law School Working Papers Series apprec. bepress; "USAID in Peru," Congressional briefing, Feb. 23, 1998, Population Research Institute; "Latina and Indigenous Women & Children at Risk: The Forced Sterilization of Latina and Indigenous Women and Youth in Canada, the United States and Across Latin America " Feb. 26, 2009, LibertadLatina.org; "Forced sterilization of indigenous case re-opened in Peru," Rick Kearns, Feb. 20, 2009, Indian Country Today; "UN Complicit in Forced Sterilizations, Wendy McElroy, Dec. 23, 2002, ifeminists.com; "Bush stops funds for UNFPA abuses; the U.N. population fund supports forced abortions and sterilizations," Steve Mosher, aug. 19, 2002, BNET ~ News World Communications Inc.. "Peru: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission – a first step towards a country without injustice,"AMR 46/003/2004, Aug. 26, 2004, Amnesty International Canada.
gerald and maas