Seven prominent leftist political exiles, including two army generals, returned to Peru on Sunday (16 April) under a government amnesty.
Seven prominent leftist political exiles, including two army generals, returned to Peru on Sunday (16 April) under a government amnesty. They were headed by retired General Leonidas Rodriguez Figueroa, who, as an army colonel, was one of the main architects of the 1968 military coup, which steered Peru on a left-wing nationalistic course. He, and other key officers, were deported to Mexico in January 1977 for opposing the pragmatic, middle-of-the road policies of General Francisco Morales Bermudez, who ousted the late General Juan Velasco Alvarado in 1975. Four days earlier, on the 16th of April, former Peruvian guerrilla leader Hugo Blanco, deported by the military government two years ago, also returned under the amnesty.
SYNOPSIS: The return of General Rodriguez came as a result of the political amnesty decreed last month by President Morales. The amnesty, which is to benefit some 20 deportees, was decreed shortly after an electoral jury ruled last month that exiles could stand for election to a constituent assembly. Polling is to take place in June, and in 1980 there will also be general and presidential elections General Rodriguez will stand for the Socialist Revolutionary Party (PSR), the party he formed shortly before his exile.
General Rodriguez flew into Lima from Panama with three other deportees, including a Marxist guerrilla, and a union leader. He was carried shoulder high through some 2,000 supporters as he left the airport. And later, at a brief news conference, he said he would fight for the ideals of the 1968 revolution, which his party represented.
Hugo Blanco also plans to stand as a candidate in the June elections. On his return, the 47-year-old Marxist leader said that although he regarded the elections as a farce he would represent the Peasant, Student, Worker and People's Front (FOCEP), a loose movement made up of 18 leftist groups. At an airport news conference he said socialism was the only solution to Peru's economic difficulties. It was Blanco's guerrilla movements in the Andes in the Mid-Sixties that led to the 1968 coup.