Re: Tupac Amaru--Tupamaros

Maggie Jaffe (mjaffe@MAIL.SDSU.EDU)
Sat, 3 May 1997 09:46:17 -0800

Dear Sixties People:

The recent slaughter of the Tupac Amaru in Peru reminds me in certain key
ways of the Tupamaros, a broadly based student-worker organization of men
and women in Uruguay, who were arrested in the late 1960s. Like the Tupac
Amaru, the Tupamaros kidnapped their enemies with military precision and
daring, in an attempt to exchange them for political prisoners.

The Tuparmos are best known for the kidnapping of Dan Mitrione, an American
cop who was in the "Switzerland of America" advising the Uruguayan Police
Force in torture techniques. President Nixon refused to trade Mitrione for
political prisoners, and Mitrione was executed by the Tupamaros. Costa
Garvas' film *State Of Siege* is based on this event. The most startling
scene in that movie is of a prisoner who is tortured in front of several
hundred policemen in a training session.

For more information about the Tupamaros, see A. J. Langguth, *Hidden
Terrors: The Truth About US Police Operations in Latin America*; Maria
Esther Gillio, *The Tupamaro Guerrillas*, and the last poem, "Police /
State," in *How The West Was One* (Viet Nam Generation / Burning Cities
Press, pub. date 6/97) which details the capture and interrogation of a
Tupamaro Guerrilla who is forced to betray her lover. Forgive the plug.

Historically, the first Tupac Amaru, an Incan Indian, waged guerrilla
warfare against the Spaniards for forty years. He was executed in the
colonial city of Cuzco in 1572.