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More Making a Difference Activities

Helping Political Prisoners in Peru

In addition to making a difference by letting the governments know how you feel about the wrongful imprisonment of political prisoners, make a difference in one lonely woman's life. Lori would love to hear from you, to know that she has not been forgotten in her solitary cement cell in the Andes. It would raise her spirits to receive letters, postcards, and photos from supporters, BUT please remember to follow these certain rules and restrictions on letters or the prison authorities won't let her see them:
  • All writing must be in Spanish, so that the prison guards can read it.
  • All letters are read by censors before Lori receives them.
  • You should not discuss her case, anything political, or any recent news item.

These are some Spanish phrases you may find useful in you letter to Lori.

Querida Lori Valor - Bravery
Esperanza - Hope
Buena suerte - Good luck
Salud - Health
Mis mejores deseos para ti - Best wishes
Espero que estes gozando de buena salud - Wishing you good health
Animo y buena suerte - Keep your spirits up
Recibe mi sincera solidaridad - My sincere solidarity
Te envio mis mas sinceros abrazos - I send you my warmest feelings
Espero poder saludarte personalmente muy pronto - I very much hope to say hello to you personally
Vaya con Dios - Go with God
Me despido por el momento - Goodbye for now
Atentamente - Sincerely yours

If trying to write a letter in Spanish is a bit daunting, you can use a free translation service available over the Internet! Here's how:

  1. 1.Remember you can't write about her case or politics or the news!
  2. 2.Go to, and type your note to Lori in the space provided. Or, you can write your letter in your word processor, and then cut-and-paste the text directly into the area in your browser.
  3. 3.Select the appropriate translation (English to Spanish)
  4. 4.Press the Translate button.
  5. 5.Your message is automatically translated!
  6. 6.Cut-and-paste the translated text into your word processor (or Notepad, etc). To do this, highlight the text, then select Copy from your browser's Edit menu. Switch to your word processor, then select Paste from its Edit menu.
  7. 7.Print your letter.
  8. 8.Send it directly to Lori's parents.

Since there is no way of knowing how long Lori will be held in her current prison, the best way for her to receive mail is through her parents. To have them deliver correspondence to Lori on their next visit, please send mail to:

The Committee to Free Lori Berenson
320 E. 25 Street, #2AA
New York, NY 10010

TEACHERS: A card, consisting of a folded sheet of paper with the signatures of all the students would be appreciated, and indicate to Lori how many people are thinking about her and are aware of her plight.

There are several things you can do to help political prisoners in Peru. These include Lori Berenson and Baruch Ivcher, who Kavitha wrote about in her dispatches this update, Get Political, Go to Jail! and An American in the Alcatraz of Peru.

Anyone can write to the President of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, and other officials in Peru. Anyone can also write to the President of the United States, though it might be more effective if you are American. Finally, if you are American you can write to your Senator or Representative. When you write, it is best if you think for yourself about a few of the things that you care most about. Maybe you think the conditions these people are living in are too harsh, maybe you think the judicial process was flawed, etc. You should be specific about the people you know about, especially Lori and Baruch, who Kavitha wrote about.

These are some examples of specific things you can focus on:

  • Demand that the Peruvian government cease its persecution of Baruch Ivcher, dismiss all charges against him and members of his family, and return to him the properties that the Peruvian government has unlawfully confiscated.
  • Demand that Peru comply with the recommendations of the UN Committee for Human Rights and international bodies by releasing all innocent prisoners immediately and providing new trials for all those who were convicted by military tribunals of treason and terrorism charges.

If you write to President Clinton, be sure to ask him to demonstrate his stated commitment to human rights and pressure Fujimori into complying with Peru's international human rights obligations.

In particular, President Clinton should bring up the situation of American journalist Lori Berenson who was convicted of "treason" by a faceless tribunal. For more information, see the UN Committee Report on Peru and the Lori Berenson webpage.

Please write or call President Clinton at
The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone 202-456-1111
Fax 202-456-2461 (Attention: Helen, Agency Liaison 6)

Please write President Fujimori and the Minister of Justice at
Mr. Alberto Fujimori
President of Peru
Palacio de Gobierno Plaza de Armas
Lima, Peru

Dr. Alfredo Quispe
Minister of Justice
Justice Ministry
Scipion Llona 350
Lima, Peru
Tel./Fax.: 0051 - 1 - 4223577

Also, please send a copy to:
Asoc. Andina de Derechos Humanos
Andean Human Rights Association
Tel./Fax: 040 3904512

A letter is now circulating in the Senate that urges a humanitarian release for Lori. The letter is cosponsored by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Democrat, New York) and Senator Jim Jeffords (Republican, Vermont).

You can see a copy of this letter and all of the Senators who have signed it. Please call your Senator in Washington DC (202-224-3121) and ask the operator to be connected to your Senator's office. Tell the receptionist you are a constituent and want to speak to the Legislative Assistant dealing with foreign affairs. Tell the Legislative Assistant you would like the Senator to sign the letter being circulated by Senators Moynihan and Jeffords which seeks a humanitarian release for Lori Berenson. Tell the Legislative Assistant to contact either Margaret Sloane in Senator Moynihan's office at extension 44451 or Hillary Hoffman in Senator Jeffords' office at extension 45141 to receive more information.

Note, the material on this page was compiled by Kavitha Rao from the following websites:
Free Lori Berenson
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch

Monica - The Land Down Under: The Silver Mines of the Cerro Rico
Team - "My Poetry Will Mke Me Great": Behine the Words of Cesar Vallejo
Abeja and Kevin - The Food of the Gods: Our Poetry in Peru
Kavitha - Get Political, Go to Jail!
Kavitha - An American in the Alcatraz of Peru
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