On November 1, 2006, Peruvian president Alan García announced he would be proposing a new law that would include the death penalty as one sanction for terrorism in the Penal Code. As he argued, “We are not going to allow Shining Path to return and paint their slogans on the walls of our universities. Once this law is approved, anyone who commits the serious crime of terrorism will find themselves facing a firing squad. A war forewarned does not kill people.”
As one might imagine, García’s comments sparked intense debate in Peru, a country in which a series of democratically elected governments waged a twenty-year war against terrorism. President García himself presided over one of those previous administrations from 1985-1990, and he would subsequently be named as one of the political leaders alleged to have abdicated democratic authority in an effort to finish terrorism by whatever means necessary.
In its 2003 Final Report, the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission determined that the country’s twenty-year war on terror resulted in the greatest loss of human life and resources in all of Peru’s history as a republic. However, listening to President García three years after the TRC completed its work, I did not hear Nunca Más; rather, his words provoked a disturbing sense of déjà vu.