The MRTA's Position on Homophobia


[The newspaper of Lesbians and Gays Against Imperialism in San Francisco recently argued that the MRTA shared an intolerance of homosexuality together with Sendero Luminoso, and that the MRTA had participated in the killing of homosexuals. In order to answer to similar misconceptions and concerns which have been raised in the past as well as today, the international representation of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) issued the following statement.]

Some years ago, the government of Peru ran a campaign to claim that the MRTA was homophobic with the intention of isolating us internationally. This is totally false. We have said so before and we would like to repeat it now because it's not so.

We recognize the freedom of persons to choose their sexual option. And we consider that their capacity of struggle or submission is what is going to go towards winning posts and recognition in the struggle.

In Peru, there exists an organized homosexual movement whose principal representative is Oscar Ugartache, a distinguished Peruvian economist, who doesn't argue for neo-liberalism, but rather he's among the most progressive sectors of intellectuals.

We measure people by their contributions and not by their religious, sexual, or cultural options. We've also said various times that the subject of homosexuality, like many others, hasn't even been debated fully in the MRTA, not because we're against doing so, but rather because the dynamic of the class struggle, the struggle against extreme poverty and the struggle to change this extreme state, hasn't left us space for these subjects.

Like religion, diverse cultural groups deserve from conscience a debate and a study, but the truth is that we don't have the capacity to resolve so many problems at the same time.

These days, and since some years ago, our essential priority has been to win back part of the space that we've all continued losing, independently of our sex - although certainly women, children, elderly people, and homosexuals are always those who lose the most. But this is a moment of struggle, to recover spaces that 20 years ago, when the application of neo-liberalism began, we already had. When we recover even a part of this space, we believe that all these sectors will be able to contribute, with their experience and better knowledge than ours, to the discussions about the problems they face.

We're not going to elaborate prescriptions for anyone, since each individual knows their own problems better than laboratory researchers. The communities themselves will present the best forms of knowing the community; let them work and develop themselves. We, organized women, will do so ourselves.

Now, since December 17, 1996, we had 14 companeros putting their lives on the line in front of the world, struggling for the freedom of prisoners, to open up these spaces of freedom of expression and thought. The state defeated us militarily, and we lost some of the best sons and daughters of the people, those who had nothing more than their lives to offer for the freedom of other human beings, who were and still are found in conditions that no human being can stand.

We ally ourselves with all the peoples and sectors that initiate a just struggle for the conquest of their rights. We are totally opposed to the patriarchal society originated by the appearance of private property, the division of society into classes, and we think it will only disappear when the causes which made it appear are ended forever. Of course, this is difficult when we are in a society that doesn't respect any human rights.

But one has to take steps in this direction.

Hasta la victoria ... siempre!

Norma Velazco,
European spokeswoman for the MRTA
May 1997

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