The defense of the rights of political prisoners
The defense of the rights of political prisoners is inseparable from the struggle for democracy and social liberation. It is an important part of the political struggle against imperialism and local reactionary States. It has been a crucial struggle between oppressors and oppressed . If we want to understand the real importance of it, we will need to remember the seriousness of the general crisis of the system and the devastating effects worldwide. The intensification of the global offensive of imperialism against the peoples has became worse in the imperialist countries, but mainly in the semi-colonial countries. Worldwide, the capitalists move to defend their interests and try to make the people pay the bill this current crisis.
Inside dominated and semi-colonial countries, the exploitation of workers increases as much as the level of unemployment; the looting of wealth and natural resources too, causing hunger and misery for the majority of the population. In the imperialist countries, the consequences of this situation are strikes and struggles for rights and much more exploitation of migrant workers, called “illegal”. In Latin America, dominated and exploited by imperialism, especially U.S. imperialism, the crisis takes on greater proportions. Some newspapers and magazines insist on asserting that Brazil is the sixth world economy, for example, but the reality denies such analyzes and it speak for itself. According to studies by Statistical Yearbook for Latin and Caribbean America/2013, the poverty rate in Latin America and Caribbean in 2012 was 28.2 % and indigence was 11.3% .
In Brazil, 16.27 million people (8.5 % of the population) live in extreme poverty, while 4.8 million have nominal monthly income equal to zero! Meanwhile, the ILO (International Labor Organization) released projection for the unemployment rate in Brazil, which should remain above the global average until 2016. The imperialism, in attempting to overcome all obstacles to maximizing profit, is attacking nations and seeking the complete domination and annihilation of forces are fighting against the system. However, it is an unsustainable system that every day increases violent actions against the exploited and oppressed people, especially against militant masses and the revolutionaries, in all continents. In Brazil, the prison system plays in large scale the brutal violence of the Bourgeois Landowner State against the poor people in general.
Prisons are concentration camps, overcrowded, where conditions are totally inhumane, and where many prisoners die victimized by constant torture and police violence. Today, there are more than 560.000 prisoners; among them hundreds of peasants who are imprisoned because of their struggle for land, which has grown considerably in Brazil. The State has tried to mischaracterize the political meaning of their fight accusing them of common criminals. Many peasants have been hunted and murdered before being arrested. It was the case of peasants Gilson Goncalves, Elcıo Machado, Luiz Lopez e Renato Nathan, among others. Many of them have arrest warrant issued. Since June 2013, when burst a huge popular and militant demonstrations across the country, the forces of repression have made hundreds of prisoners; hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths.
More than one hundred media workers were injured by the police, especially some independent journalists. The ruling classes, with the support of reactionary monopolies of communication now attempts to criminalize the popular struggle and to legitimize the inhuman treatment of protesters and political prisoners. Several lawyers who defend political has been threatened with death or jail, accused of collaboration with those “criminals”. The fair rebellion of the Brazilian people carry on, so new repressive measures are being taken. The current government has put the army in the slums of Rio de Janeiro.
The plan is to extend the repression to the people with armed forces on the streets in major Brazilian cities because the world cup that will started in June. New laws such as the Anti-Terrorism Law, Crime Disorder Act in Public Place, World Cup General Law, and Ordinance of the Ministry of Defense Assurance Law and Order . All of these laws qualify “the social movements as opposing forces”, but end up it has unmasked the farce called Democratic State of Law in Brazil; that is nothing more than a police State. At the same time, a terrible prison regime, similar to type F cells in Turkey, has been adopted there against the leaders of the criminal gangs, but it is going to be extended to political prisoners. The name this regime is DDR/Differentiated Disciplinary Regime – total isolation of the prisoner, who can only speak to the guard and is constantly watched by cameras.
This is the case of one foreign political prisoner in the Brazıl: Mauricio Norambuena , former leader of Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front ( FPMR ), from Chile. He was arrested in Brazil in 2002. After that he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for kidnapping, with political goal, a Brazilian businessman. Norambuena was brutally tortured and has been tortured until now. He has been submitted to the DDR for more than 10 years, which violates the “minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners Rules” of First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Prisoners. That cruel practice of torture has been serious consequences to physical and psychological integrity of prisoners.
At this time, is being developed a national campaign for the punishment of torturers and murderers of the fascist military regime, as already happened in many countries in Latin American, but not in Brazil. According the official data from the ‘Commission of the Dead and Disappeared’ that huge barbarity, in numbers, was : 354 tortured and summarily executed, whose bodies are still missing (mainly of peasants in the countryside); 20.000 political prisoners, many of them tortured until death; 10.000 people who responded to police-military surveys; 707 people who had criminal prosecution for crimes considered against national security; 130 people were banned and almost 5.000 civil toilers were dismissed. Although the situation of political prisoners in Brazil and on the world is abominable, the resistance behind prison bars is unabated.
In many countries there are examples of integrity, moral and revolutionary force, under the worst conditions of abuse and mistreatment. The resistance inside of prison has existed, but ıt has grown with the emergence of proletarian ideology because class consciousness also has grown more and more. The greatest example of resistance to be remembered not only in Latin America but all the world, it is the experience of the Communist Party of Peru, PCP, against the most cruel attack on the rights of prisoners in Peru.
On June 19, 1986, terrible massacres took place in the prisons of Lurigancho, El Fronton and Santa Barbara, in the capital, Lima. The government of President Alan Garcia then ordered the attack against prisoners, who resisted bravely from the prisons, called by them the ‘Luminous Trenches of Combat ‘. That episode ended with the deaths of more than 250 political prisoners. The resistance of the members of the PCP was a political decision.
It was taken to try to prevent the transfer to other prisons and annihilation of prisoners. For this, the resistance had the goal to continue the hard fight against oppression inside the prisons. After that, the PCP set on June 19 as the ‘Day of heroism’, to be celebrated worldwide to honor those who had fallen as martyrs inside the presidio; among them the comrades Yovanka Pardave Trujillo and people’s lawyer Tito Valle Travezano, both important leaders of PCP.
On May 9, 1992, under the Fujimori government, a new combative clash occurred in prison Castro and Castro. After four days of siege, the Peruvian armed forces bombing the prison, where at least 42 leaders of PCP fell cowardly killed. There was a list of leaders; they were identified and summarily shot. Groups of prisoners came out with their hands up in surrender, but they were murdered in “cold blood”. Eternal Glory to the heroic combatants who fell in the history for their class and their people!
On the other hand, since September 1992, Abimael Guzman, the Chairman Gonzalo, head of the PCP and Peruvian revolution, is hostage to the Peruvian State in absolute isolation inside a concrete cell located in the basement of the presidio of Callao, in metropolitan region of Lima. During many years the Peruvian ruling class and imperialism has tried to defame their revolutionary integrity accusing him as author of the ‘Peace Letters’ and as a capitulator rather than revolutionary, but always denying him the right to express himself publicly for to make his position known . The ‘Luminous Trenches of Combat’ in Peru – before the massacres, which were answered with a brave resistance – has been an important experience of resistance in the prisons.
We know that where there is oppression there is resistance and where there is proletarian ideology has existed organized resistance; it be able to transform prisons into powerful fighting fronts. Finally, we call upon the democratic and progressive forces to develop international campaigns:
1) By recognition of the condition of political prisoners, and prisoners of war for the revolutionaries;
2) By protect all rights of political prisoners;
3) By their liberation.
Cebraspo Brazilian Centre of Solidarity to the People’s Struggle
Istanbul, 26/27 April 2014
International Symposium on Prisons, Istanbul, 26-27 April 2014-05-06