A Day in the Trial of the Century
By Carolina Huamán Oyague
(family member of La Cantuta victim)
It’s difficult to describe the mix of feelings that overcome me today; almost 15 years and five months have passed since that morning when a premonition abruptly woke me and drove me to my sister’s room. I looked for her, desperate and full of anxiety. I had never imagined all the horror that would come after. For me, pain is still July 18, 1992. So many years have passed and today, finally, Fujimori is seated in the defendant’s chair. Today, finally, the light at the end of the tunnel is no longer so faint; though hazy, I can read Justice. Some would hope that it is only a word, but it embodies a combination of actions and compromises that we decide to make.
Seated in this court room, I see who was principally responsible for the kidnapping, torture and murder of my sister. Today he is before a court, the time has come for him to be accountable and face justice. His mocking smile is no longer spontaneous, but feigned, in order to maintain his circus; his clowns try a thousand different scripts, but the show does not work anymore; the absence of his popular stage becomes more evident. Before the lack of arguments, the clowns remove their masks and act, like those who lack valid reasoning; they make themselves up and show themselves as they are, as they always were behind cameras ensnared by corruption. They are no longer accompanied by that false power with which, over all these years, they tried to bend us, incapable of understanding that power is not made by exercising force over others. Real power is internal; is able to create, to convert ideals into reality, and permits us to leave our Utopia because we are reality. The executioners could not finish with our ideals, despite such infamy. Even with the extreme that they took us to, we did not lose our capacity to bear fruit, to grow in the spirit. It has been our perseverance and above all an immense love for our loved ones to not give in.
Day to day I listen attentively to the declarations of the defendant Fujimori, while multiple events come to my mind. With each answer, a train of images charges my memory. Today he wants us to believe that he was a neophyte, a victim of discrimination, a gift, a defender of human rights; saying that his information channels gave him mistaken facts. It sounds humorous, considering the control he exercised, that today he tries to erase our memory; but those who remember the militia support for the coup d’état, his famous, celebrated phrase dissolve, the climate of impunity that he incited, giving orders and promoting laws that would impede us from reaching justice. So many times I was at my mother’s side before some government institution, demanding justice, but they never heard our cries, much less stopped to see our tears, because I remember their response to the horror that he called only a simple excess…what sister are you talking about, that person does not exist, she fled with her boyfriend. Their tanks at the head of their victorious general to intimidate Congress, their accomplices closing the path to our mothers dressed in black, the delivery my sister’s remains in a cardboard box, their forbidding her to be buried, the fraudulent sentences from the military, their midnight laws, the Cantuta Law, the threats my family received, the harassment and stigmatizing by their purchased press. I remember how he discredited the Armed Forces because in his government, there were no friendly soldiers, only fear of everyone in a uniform. I never thought about the human rights of Peruvians when he sent our soldiers to fight a futile war while he trafficked arms to the enemy with his partner, Montesinos.
The defendant Fujimori tries futily to play dumb when they remind him of statistics, names, acts of horror, the halo of barbary that his death squadron left; and five minutes later his egocentrism betrays him. Then he reminds us that he was in everything; in every village, in every activity that determined the events, reminding us that he was omnipresent and omnipotent. It is impossible for him to conceal his pride, but history teaches us that it is this ill-fated attitude that prints black pages in the memory of humanity and carries all those self-proclaimed saviors to failure.
So many sentiments converge within me during these times; sadness and impotence left by the malevolence of mankind, the absence that will never be filled. But there is also happiness and solidarity found in the gestures and expressions of beings who are incapable of being indifferent with their neighbors, who could not help but feel indignant, who were in that way our strength and a sign to keep going forward in the fight for justice, no longer just for our family members, but for all of the Cantutas that today are represented in this one trial.
The visualization of Alberto Kenya Fujimori and all that he represents converts everything in a whirlpool of emotions, images, memories, affronts without mea culpa or even a simple apology. That’s how my smile comes out easily upon the ludicrousness of his arguments. I wish tears did not run down my cheeks, but sometimes they come and it is impossible to stop them; they arrive along with all the vividness and with the hurt of seeing human beings like the former dictator Fujimori, capable of restoring human misery, incapable of seeing the magnitude of acting mistakenly, of one negative impact provoked in the other, self-involved and blinded purely by the ambition of power and money.
 Law that allowed cases to be tried in Military Tribunals instead of Civil Court through the approval of the Fujimorista majority in the Supreme Court, who decided where the case would be tried. This was applied to the La Cantuta Case.