Protest the arrest of Hugo Blanco! – Send in this letter of protest now!

This morning, Hugo Blanco, ex peasant-leader and ever-present social activist, was arrested on orders of the court of Paruro, and taken to a cell in the court of Cusco. According to Peruvian law, senior citizens over the age of 70 should not be incarcerated. Mr Blanco is 73 years old and has previously suffered brain haemorrhage.

The background is an illegal occupation of land belonging to the indigenous community of Huanoquite – Paruro – Cusco – Peru, by the son of an ex-landowner. 50 years ago the landowner Paz was famous for branding his farmers with the same burning stick that he used to brand his animals. Hugo Blanco led the land struggle that resulted in the farmers themselves gaining ownership of the land.

It is this same land that Paz’ son is now illegally occupying. The police have taken the side of the landowner against the community, and have accused the farmers and Hugo Blanco of ‘Resistance to authority’. They could not accuse the farmers of land occupation, since they actually hold the deeds for the land. In this accusation, they included Mr Blanco for having supported the community on previous occasions, despite the fact that he was not even there on the day the farmers decided to take back the land that is legally theirs.

Since he was not notified that he was accused of ‘Resistance to authority’, he did not present himself to give a statement. Therefore the judge ordered his arrest. Tomorrow he will be taken to Paruro to give his statement.

We call on all political organisations, the media and defenders of Human Rights, to show solidarity and spread this news. Let us hope that this case will be solved quickly, and that it will serve to expose the systematic abuses against the indigenous, in this community as well as in many others, who are the legitimate owners of the land, but have been oppressed for centuries.

Let us also show the authorities that the national and international solidarity are aware of the increasing tendencies to criminalize social struggle and social activists in Peru.


Please send protest letters to the Peruvian embassy as well as releasing statements.

Use this letter!

Here below is a version of a letter that you can use. Please also send a copy of all letters to Lucha Indigena, the newspaper edited by Hugo Blanco, and to myself, in order to keep a record of the British solidarity.

Peruvian Embassy: postmaster peruembassy-uk.com

Lucha Indigena: luchaindigena yahoo.es

Oscar Blanco Berglund: oscar.berglund uwe.ac.uk

Dear Mr Ricardo Luna,

I/We write to you with a complaint against the police and court of Huanoquite, Paruro, Cusco, Peru for having arrested Mr Hugo Blanco, accusing him and the local farmers of ‘resistance to authority’. We know that the farmers retook land, for which they hold the deeds, but which the son of an ex-landowner illegally occupied. However, we also know that Mr Blanco was not even present when these acts took place.

I/We ask you to investigate this case, since it seems to form part of an increasing tendency to criminalize social protests and indigenous and social activists in Peru. We also ask you to help clarifying the legal ownership of the land, in order to stop this abuse of the community by the very people that should protect their rights.

Yours sincerely.


Media reaction

The international media was fast to react to the news of Blanco’s arrest. Google News syndicated this article and one from Prensa Latina. The story was also quickly reported across Latin America, notably by La República, La Jornada and Peru Informa.

The protests against the arrest of María Blanco Berglund, Hugo’s wife, was cited by the Diario El Sol de Cusco. An appeal for solidarity was also issued quickly the Congreso Bolivariano de los Pueblos (Bolivarian Peoples Congress).

See:

Peruvian Social Activist Detained

Lima, Oct 2 (Prensa Latina) Veteran Peruvian social activist Hugo Blanco was arrested by the police in the Andean southern Cusco region, members of the people’s Lucha Indigena newspaper revealed on Thursday.

According to the denunciation, Blanco was arrested on Tuesday for not appearing in court for a trial against farmers from Cusco region, accused of resisting the authorities, trying to recover lands snatched from them by a businessman.

The activist, who promoted seizure of large estate owners’ lands in Cusco in the mid 60s of the past century, was involved in the trial for supporting the farmers.

iom mf mrs

PL-13

La Republica:

http://www.larepublica.com.pe/index...

La Jornada:

[>http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2008/10/02/index.php?section=opinion&article=002a2cor]

Peru Informa

[>http://www.peruinforma.com/imwebsite/article.php?sid=43469]


See also on ESSF:

On Hugo Blanco

BLANCO Hugo

About Hugo Blanco

Articles from Hugo Blanco:

BLANCO Hugo

P.S.

* From International Viewpoint Online magazine : IV # 405 - October 2008.

* Oscar Blanco Berglund is a supporter of the Peruvian organisation Lucha Indigena. He is the son of Hugo Blanco, a veteran leader of Pervian peasants struggles who was part of the leadership of the Fourth International in the 1970s and 1980s.

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