Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Abimael Guzman starves for matrimony

Cuban prisoner Guillermo Farinas is close to death after being on a hunger strike for nearly two months. His fasting has been done in order to call attention to 26 very ill political prisoners who he feels deserve to be liberated.

Former Peruvian guerilla leader Abimael Guzman started his own hunger strike on Tuesday. Rather than an unselfish cause like Farinas is doing, the imprisoned Shining Path founder has a more personal reason for his protest:
The jailed leaders of Peru's brutal Shining Path insurgency, Abimael Guzman and his fiancée, started a hunger strike on Tuesday to demand the government let them hold a wedding ceremony.

Guzman, 75, wants to marry his partner of the past two decades, Elena Yparraguirre. Both are serving life terms at different prisons near Peru's capital, having been convicted of commanding one of Latin America's most violent guerrilla movements.

"Abimael Guzman and I went on a hunger strike at midnight," Yparraguirre said on RPP radio. "The government must stop putting up obstacles to prevent us from marrying -- it doesn't let us go to the public registry, to the notary, to get medical exams for the wedding, nothing."
The couple registered to marry lat year but apparently bureaucratic red tape has held up the planned nuptials. Despite being labeled by BBC News as “the most reviled couple in Peru” President Alan Garcia said months ago that the couple has the right to wed.

According to Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission the Shining Path was responsible for nearly half of the country’s 70,000 murders during a bloody struggle against the state between 1980 and 2000.

Image- CPN Radio
Online Sources- EPA, Guardian UK, The Latin Americanist, Reuters AlertNet, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC News

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