Thursday, May 15, 2008

APRODEH: An NGO for Terrorists and Criminals.

By Nicole M. Ferrand.*

Do you sometimes wonder why we mostly hear about non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) when members of criminal or terrorist organizations are in trouble? It’s rare to read about these associations openly supporting real victims, especially in Latin America. So it was a breath of fresh air to come across the excellent article by Mary Anastasia O’Grady from the Wall Street Journal on April 28, 2008 titled “Friends of Terror in Peru” where she points out “Terrorists can advance their cause with the help of non-governmental organizations and under such headings as “human-rights” advocacy, NGO’s that share the ideology of the far left try to legitimize their buddies who, behind the scenes, continue their “armed struggle.” The kicker is that these NGOs are often funded by foreign governments and philanthropists.” Ms. O’Grady’s column is insightful and clearly shows that she understands the dynamics of the left, terrorism and non-governmental organizations in the Americas. Here is the link to her article and video interview:

With the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe, leftist movements were thrown into a temporary identity crisis. They sought to recycle themselves, forming and strengthening human rights and ecological nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s), receiving considerable funding from mainly Western European leftist counterparts. In practical terms, the new NGOs filled the vacuum created by the fall of the leftist parties. Skillfully and patiently networking their efforts to promote these issues, these associations have produced a reemergence of the left. In fact, a high ranking diplomatic official once revealed: “When leftist leaders or groups start making trouble in our countries, we send them to Latin America, to run an NGO.” NGO’s have become a major factor in international relations. There are many organizations that call themselves NGO’s, but are basically a bunch of people, who are mainly interested in making a profit off foreign aid. There are many problems with NGO’s, and these problems are now becoming more visible to the public.

In their recent meetings on April 25, 2008, the European Parliament agreed to remove Peru’s Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) from its list of terrorist organizations. A letter sent on April 23 by the Peruvian so-called “Human Rights” Association (APRODEH) argued that the Marxist-Leninist MRTA no longer exists and their argument was accepted. Why is this NGO sending a letter to the European Parliament without consulting the pertinent Peruvian authorities? Are they 100% sure that this group no longer exists? To the majority of Peruvians, this action shows that APRODEH and the majority of non-governmental “human rights” organizations are defending terrorists and insulting the armed forces that fought the terrorists who murdered thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, and severely injured members of the armed forces and police.

As described by Ms. O’Grady “the vote by the European Parliament to take the MRTA off its terrorist list has Peru in an uproar. For good reason: The MRTA is notorious for kidnapping, torturing and murdering civilians to advance its political agenda. More recently, Peruvian officials have linked it to Hugo Chávez’s ‘Bolivarian Movement,’ which seeks to destabilize democracies in Latin America, and to the Colombian rebel group FARC.” In fact Ms. O’Grady interviewed Peruvian Congressman Rolando Sousa, who headed a congressional subcommittee that looked into the activities of the Bolivarian Movement in Peru and what she reveals of this interview is quite alarming. Mr. Sousa says that “Mr. Chávez’s Bolivarian Movement sits on a three-legged stool. Two of the legs are legal, the third is not. The first leg is official Venezuelan ‘diplomacy.’ Discounted oil shipments have bought the allegiance of 19 countries in the region. Other ploys, such as the purchase of Argentine debt and aid for Ecuadorian energy projects, are likewise designed to create dependence and establish Venezuelan dominance.”[1]

Peruvian Congressman Rolando Sousa. Source: 24 Horas Libre.
s. O’Grady continues: “The second leg of the stool is the effort to establish ideological control within unions and grassroots organizations. These organizations have created a series of nonprofit “associations” like the “Houses of Alba” (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas). Openly, the associations administer eye clinics, literacy programs and health centers manned by Cuban doctors. Behind the scenes, the congressman warns, they work to indoctrinate the poorest Peruvians in the ideology of the extreme left.”[2]

The third illegal leg of the stool is the most dangerous. Mr. Sousa cites two groups: the “Continental Bolivarian Coordinator” and the “Bolivarian Congress of the People.” His committee found that both are recruiting and using the most extreme elements of the country, anarchists, terrorists and the radical left, to produce “the social conditions . . . the chaos” necessary to create the impression that democracy is not working. Once this is accomplished, the grassroots organizations, nurtured by the NGO’s, are standing by, ready to bring the extremists to power through the ballot box. The strategy was used in Bolivia to bring down the Sánchez de Lozada government in 2003 and bring Chávez puppet, Evo Morales to power. There is now ample evidence linking Mr. Chávez, the mastermind of the Bolivarian Movement, to terrorism, courtesy of the computers seized from the camp of dead Colombian guerrilla, Raúl Reyes.”[3]

Letter from Aprodeh to the European Parliament
The letter from APRODEH, signed by its leaders Francisco Soberón and Miguel Jugo, says that “the MRTA has been inactive for eight years, its main leaders are in prison, some have served their sentences, and dozens are no longer linked to the organization, and are living in many different places around the world.” Their claim is misleading, to say the least. Just enter the website, to see that the MRTA is very much alive. As Aldo Mariátegui, Director of the newspaper, Correo in Peru accurately points out: “The arguments of Aprodeh and of the European members of parliament who backed the decision not to include the group in the list of terror organizations is absurd, brittle and an insult to intelligence. Aprodeh argues that this group should not be included in the list “because it’s inactive.” So the crimes the MRTA committed are not considered as such in Europe because the group is, for now, inoperative? With that logic, the Europeans should not consider the German group, Baader-Meinhoff, or the Italian organization, Red Brigades, (Brigate Rosse) as terrorists because they have not operated since 1993 and 2002 respectively. And what about the active networks that the MRTA still has in Europe?[4]

The reality is that this group still has sinister plans for our country (Peru) as we have been warned by members of our armed forces (Roque González, a MRTA member was recently detained in Tumbes, a northern province, for attending a meeting of radical groups held in Quito. Other attendees were the FARC and ETA. It has been reported that at this “gathering” they coordinated violent actions to be carried out in different countries including Peru.) Why was Aprodeh so worried about the MRTA being considered by the European Parliament as a terrorist organization?[5]

Six people were arrested in Peru together with Roque González upon returning from Ecuador. They have been charged with terrorism for having attended a meeting of the Bolivarian Continental Coordinator, a Venezuelan group that is considered by Peruvian authorities as a terrorist organization. Peruvian authorities say that the seven attended the meeting to receive instructions from violent leftist groups, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), on how to destabilize Peru. FARC commander Raúl Reyes reportedly attended the meeting.

What is APRODEH?
Aprodeh is a self-proclaimed “human rights” organization registered in Peru as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). It was founded in the ‘80s as an appendix of the leftist political party “Vanguardia Revolucionaria” (VR) or “Revolutionary Vanguard” whose leader was Javier Diez Canseco Cisneros. In those times the VR operated from the offices of Diez Canseco, a representative of the political party “Unidad Democrática Popular” (UDP), or “Popular Democratic Unit,” formed by the VR, the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (Movement of the Revolutionary Left, of whom one of its members was former MRTA terrorist Victor Polay Campos) and the “Partido Comunista Revolucionario,” PCR (Revolutionary Communist Party).[6]

Javier Diez Canseco is a fervent leftist politician and former Congressman. He was among the 38 men who were released very shortly after the hostages were taken from the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in 1996 by the terrorist group ‘Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA). He openly defended this and called for the government to negotiate a settlement.
The Director of Aprodeh is Francisco Soberón, also President of the National Coordinator of Human Rights. In the ‘80s, Soberón was an adviser to Congressman Diez Canseco and was also a member of the Central Committee of the Political Bureau of the Revolutionary Vanguard. It is legal for a political party to promote an organization of human rights but the problem was that the VR was not only a political party but an organization of Marxist ideology and Leninist structure whose goal was to take power by means of an armed conflict. The “Revolutionary Vanguard” had a legal team and a military clandestine subgroup which was in charge of training future members of the so-called ‘Revolutionary Army.” Why did a political party with these characteristics need to create a pro-human rights NGO? It is inexplicable since Diez Canseco and Soberón wanted to impose an absolutist anti-democratic regime.[7]

From the political perspective of the VR, Aprodeh had a clear role in the “legal realm” which was to denounce the “repression of the bourgeois state” and accuse the government of human rights violations, to neutralize it and limit its response capacity when the moment of the “armed conflict” came. This is an old discourse of subversive groups. The terrorist group “Shining Path” gave this duty to the “Asociación de Abogados Democráticos” (Association of Democratic Lawyers) and the “Asociación de Familiares de Víctimas de Genocidio” (Association of Families Victims of Genocide).

Who Funds Aprodeh?
In 2007, according to government records, Aprodeh received funding from Oxfam America, George Soros’s Open Society, the John Merck Foundation, the city of Barcelona, the Dutch embassy and a U.S. government agency called the Inter-American Foundation, among others. Last week, the Peruvian government asked Aprodeh to explain how its NGO status allows it to intervene on behalf of terrorists, as it did in the European Parliament.[8]
Sadly for now, Aprodeh has been successful in their goal to diminish the power of the Peruvian armed forces which can no longer freely fight terrorism since its members continue to be persecuted by judges and prosecutors who have been convinced by Aprodeh and other NGO’s, that the military and the police are murderers while the terrorists are let out of jails labeled as “social fighters and victims of the state.” In fact, Gloria Cano, an Aprodeh director, represented four Chilean MRTA members as their lawyer. It is this same organization that is the main promoter of the judicial persecution against the brave commandos of “Chavin de Huantar” who successfully rescued the hostages from the Japanese ambassador’s residence in 1997. Aprodeh never believed in the democratic system but takes advantage of it to protect the terrorists and neutralize the armed forces.

We need to keep in mind that the foreign employees of NGOs are infused with a certain degree of idealism. On the other hand, the locals that work with them are often leftist fanatics for whom this is their only way to make a living. They use the radical left’s double standard, which excuses terrorist atrocities but holds democracies strictly accountable for any defensive actions they take to defend themselves. The members of these associations should be made accountable and respond to the law just like everyone else. The Peruvian Congress is now investigating Aprodeh and their actions since the Peruvian people are outraged by what happened. If Aprodeh did break the law by lobbying on behalf of the MRTA then they must be held fully accountable for what they have done and their deeds exposed. Administrative sanctions should be applied and their license revoked according to the law. Aprodeh is supposed to be a Human Rights association and there is plenty to do in a poor country like Peru.

Analysts agree that the reason for Aprodeh’s action is to legitimize MRTA so that its members can run for political office and they can be viewed as a legitimate opposition party instead of a terrorist organization. This was Chavez’s aim at trying to have the FARC removed from the terrorist list. If it is not designated as a terrorist organization, then it can be potentially even more effective in working to bring down the Uribe government. Instead of writing letters on behalf of terrorists, why didn’t Aprodeh create programs to help people, such as providing aid to the real victims of terrorism, or to the victims of the earthquake that shook Peru in August? NGO’s should be fully investigated and the sources of funding disclosed to the public so that no hidden agendas are carried out in the name of ‘human rights.’

Nicole M. Ferrand is a research analyst and editor of “The Americas Report” of the Menges Hemispheric Security Project. She is a graduate of Columbia University in Economics and Political Science with a background in Law from Peruvian University, UNIFE and in Corporate Finance from Georgetown University.
[1] Friends of Terror in Peru. April 28, 2008. The Wall Street Journal. By Mary Anastasia O’Grady.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Clausuren Aprodeh. April 24, 2008. Diario Correo, Perú. By Aldo Mariategui.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Aprodeh. By Víctor Robles Sosa. May 3, 2008. Políticamente Incorrecto.
[7] Ibid.
[8] O’Grady – Ibid.


Don G said...

An excellent article, I´m very pleased that the efforts of the "Revolucion Bolivariana" to destablize neighboring countries is finally under scrutiny, operations like the "Casas del Alba" need to be shut down, and the non Peruvian staff be deported. I hope this is followed through.

viagra online said...

What the hell is aprodeh? please give me an explanation.