The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

In Peru:
A Crime against Women

Apr 4, 2005

Since 2001, Alberto Fujimori, the former president of Peru, has been living in Japan, supported by one of the Japanese mafias, which has a link with the Moon religious sect and the CIA. Fujimori ruled over Peru from 1990 to 2000 as a virtual dictator, imposing a true shock treatment with extreme privatization of government services. What people called the "Fujishock" plunged the poorest people into an even more miserable situation than before. He is also charged with assassinating 24 civilians accused of being members of the Shining Path guerrilla group. But one of Fujimori’s greatest crimes was the forced sterilization of more than 300,000 women and 25,000 men.

They were victims of what Fujimori pompously called a "program of reproductive health and family planning," which he launched in July 1995. "Peruvian women must be the mistresses of their destiny!" the president proclaimed. He said that families with low incomes and low levels of education would now have access to family planning, which the classes with high incomes already enjoyed.

Two months after he launched his "reproductive health" program, he added a "sterilization" section which took on a particularly revolting character.

In order to make sterilization more attractive it was made free. All the government ministers–not only the one in charge of the "Promotion of women" but also the army and police–threw themselves into the campaign. They organized "festivals of Fallopian tubes" in the countryside and in the slums. They praised the modern family with few children. All information was in Spanish, but the women, the majority of whom were Indian, couldn’t read it, either because they were illiterate or only spoke the Indian language Quechua.

In local dispensaries they used food distributions to lure candidates for sterilization. This was irresistible in a country where poverty affects 44% of women, and where 18% of women are in extreme poverty. The campaign was carried on for several months. The World Health Organization (WHO) was full of praise for Peru’s "success" in birth control. So was U.S. AID (the Agency for International Development).

In total, from 1996 to 2000, 331,600 women were sterilized and 25,590 men had vasectomies.

After the departure of Fujimori, the new health minister, who was close to the Catholic church, launched an inquest. His report admitted that "these people were taken in by pressure, blackmail and threats, even by the offer of food, without their being properly informed, which prevented them from making their decision with full knowledge of what was happening." But, repeating the dictums of the church, he refused to grant poor women full freedom of choice concerning birth control and abortion.

Abortion, in fact, remains prohibited. The women of the wealthy areas don’t have to worry about this since they can pay a doctor for an abortion. On the other hand, women of the poor neighborhoods risk death if they have an abortion.

The fact that the principal victims of the sterilization campaign were poor and Indian women didn’t interest the government’s ministers. The poor women of Peru not only don’t have access to a health system equivalent to that of rich women, as Fujimori promised them, but they barely have the right to life and the right to give life.