The International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzmán (IEC)
The International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzmán (IEC) was established within a matter of days of the leader of the Communist Party of Peru – Sendero Luminoso, also known by the nom de guerre as President Gonzalo, was captured by the Peruvian Security Police (Dincote) on 12th September 1992.
To get a rough idea of the background to the International Emergency Committee watch the video, produced in 1994, entitled ‘You must tell the world’. (Not a particularly clear video but it does give an idea of how the IEC started out and how widespread was the support for the defence of Abimael Guzmán.)
(Apologies in advance for the poor quality of some of the scans below. Money was in short supply most of the time (hence duplication rather than printing) and often speed took precedence over quality. And, it should not be forgotten, no one at that time was really thinking of these documents being made widely available in a digital format. Many of the documents were published for an internal distribution so were, in effect, working documents.)
The trial and the events surrounding it is covered in ‘Current Issues in Criminal Justice’ (an Australian based, peer-reviewed law journal), Volume 4, Issue 3, of March 1993. Chris Everson, who had been a member of the 3rd IEC Delegation to go to Peru in November 1992, a lawyer working with the South Wales Aboriginal Legal Services at the time, wrote an article entitled ‘The Railroad and Imprisonment of Abimael Guzmán’ for the magazine.
IEC – Emergency Bulletins
from the start there was an intention to keep people informed by the regular publication of an ‘Emergency Bulletin’. This went up to a total of 61 issues. Unfortunately not a complete collection you will be able to get an idea of how the campaign developed (together with the organisation of – eventually – seven separate delegations to lobby of Presidente Gonzalo’s behalf. You will also be able to learn of the ongoing attacks of the Peruvian State against anyone who dared to stand up against the abuse of State power.
After issue No 50 the EB’s started to be published very sporadically – reflecting the struggles that were taking place with what was known as the ‘Two line Struggle’ and the move away from the long established base in London to the United States.
The only versions available for issues 59 and 60 were originally posted on the internet. They are as they were posted apart from the deletion of any hyperlinks – they don’t work now. Also there were one or two typos corrected.
The People’s War, initiated on 17th May 1980 by the Communist Party of Peru, was one of the most significant revolutionary events of the late 20th century. Although there had been many revolutionary movements in Central and Latin America since the end of World War Two the revolution in Peru was the first led by a Party that followed a clear Marxist-Leninist ideology. Through the lessons learnt and from the experiences gained in the first seven to eight years of the struggle the Party also put forward the argument that Marxism-Leninism had developed (also through the experiences in China up to 1976) to a new and higher form, that of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
Following the Maoist principals of acting like fish in water the Party (also known by outsiders under the name Sendero Luminoso – Shining Path) embedded itself amongst the exploited and oppressed in the Andean countryside and established such a power base that there was a real chance of the collapse of the capitalist state in Peru.
That was not to be due to the capture of Abimael Guzmán-Presidente Gonzalo, the chairman of the Party on September 12th 1992.
However, the Party did produce a considerable amount of material, most of it written by Presidente Gonzalo, which analysed the struggle of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist revolutionaries in a period following the success of the revisionists and ‘capitalist-roaders’ in the People’s Republic of China.
Although severely damaged by the capture of Abimael Guzmán the Party (and the People’s War) continued in Peru, with the Party continuing to produce statements and other material for a number of years. However, the dependence of the Party (from its earliest days) on a single leader meant that the struggle was never able to regain the momentum of the 1980s. The reasons for this collapse of the People’s War is something that needs investigation at some time in the future.
Those links below which are not followed by further information are to documents that were obtained by way of optical recognition software from original material. Although these documents have been checked there’s a chance that typographical mistakes might well still exist. Apologies for that.
This is not the complete collection of material. There are still a number of documents from 1990 onwards to be added. They will be in due course.
As will also be noticed the vast majority of the material is only in Spanish.
Interview with Chairman Gonzalo. Interview with the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru conducted by the editors of El Diario newspaper. The interview took place in July 1988. Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru, Berkley, 1991. 105 pages.
El Partido, la Guerra Popular y el Boicot, Comite Central, Partido Communist del Peru, Ediciones Bandera Roja, reproducido por el Movimiento Popular Peru en Francia, 1989, 191 pages. Collection of articles published between 1977 and 1988 (in Spanish).
Quien es el Presidente Gonzalo?, Colombia, 1992, 12 pages. Reproduction of three articles from the newspaper El Diario. Published very soon after Presidente Gonzalo’s capture in September 1992. (Apologies for poor reproduction.)
Gloria al Dia de la Resistencia Heroica! Primero Aniversario, Comité de Socorro Popular del Perú, May 1993, 161 pages. Unfortunately this was taken from a poor copy of the original and some pages are difficult to understand. However, the book is quite unique in the pictures that accompany the timeline – it’s almost a graphic novel. Some of the indistinct pages are of documents that can be found in other locations in this post so it’s hoped that not all information and understanding will be lost.
Luchar por un Acuerdo de Paz y Sentar Bases para el II Congreso! (Acuerdo de Paz, Lucha de Clases y Lucha de Dos Lineas), Prisoneros de las Luminosas Trincheras de Combate, Peru, November 1993, 24 pages. A potentially suspect document due to the speed at which it appeared so soon after Abimael Guzmán’s ‘letter” from prison.