Peru is now 11 years removed from the publication of the final report of the Commission on Truth and Reconciliation. In Peru there are two distinct and competing visions of the past that are present in any attempt to memorialize, commemorate or pay tribute. With much work yet to be done and many of the recommendations of the report yet to be carried out, I want to share some of EPAF’s thinking on the issue of reconciliation and memory in Peru:
“In Peru we can recognize at least two flagship memories, each of which responds to political interests and different visions of how to deal with the past. On the one hand, there is the so-called ‘memory of salvation’, made official by the government of Alberto Fujimori during the 1990s; on the other hand, the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), made public in 2003.”
The “memory of salvation” vision gives total and unreserved credit to the Armed Forces and Fujimori’s government for the defeat of the Shining Path and the MRTA. From this point of view, the Armed Forces and Fujimori saved Peru from terrorism and therefore a debt of gratitude is owed them. Any attempt to point out their human rights failings is an act of ingratitude and (inadvertent or deliberate) favors subversion. Most importantly, this approach prizes order over democratic values and human rights.
“The memory still defended by human rights organizations reached its most complete form in the Final Report of the TRC. The Report is consistent with the demand for justice for the victims whether those responsible were members of subversive organizations or State agents. It is important to highlight the report’s role in the recognition of the victims. Truth Commissions usually offer alternatives to common sense, expanding the official language of the State and incorporating voices that previously were not considered to be victims’ voices. In contexts where the perpetrators of human rights violations invent ways of denial in the public sphere, memory is clearly seen as an instrument for political influence in the pursuit of justice.”
These two very different visions have dominated the discourse over the past 11 years and continue to affect the lives of the victims of the conflict and the direction of EPAF’s work.
I want to thank Jesus from EPAF for his input, words and thoughts on this topic and I would encourage everyone interested to take the time to learn more about the report here:
Posted By Thomas Bradley (Peru)
Posted Sep 12th, 2014