Lori Berenson, free after 15 years in Peruvian prison

March 2, 2011

This week’s New York Times Magazine features an 8.300-word piece by Jennifer Egan on Lori Berenson, the US woman who served 15 years in a Peruvian prison for abetting a left-wing terrorist plot in Perú:

In 1980, when Lori was 11, three American nuns were murdered in El Salvador. “That stayed in my head,” she told me. “I remember hearing about it, seeing a movie about it, saying: ‘Wow, it’s terrible, it’s not fair. They were helping poor people.’ I wanted to be a nun. Of course, you can’t do it if you’re not religious. You adopt another kind of religion, I guess, and that was sort of what I did.” … Her political views, expressed in periodic statements from prison that her parents posted on their FreeLori.org Web site, haven’t measurably changed over the years; on the contrary, her discovery of a world built on oppression, exploitation and imperialism has — in Berenson’s view — been ratified by her experience in Peru. “I realized that behind suffering was politics. It wasn’t just like, Oh, these people are poor and they’re destined to suffer. No. There are interests behind that — political, economic — in having a social class be relegated to dying in misery, and being exploited, and being harmed, and suffering repression.”

More here.