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Monday, 30 October, 2000, 21:08 GMT
Peru rebel leader defends uprising
Anti-Fujimori grafitti in Lima
Public anger over the political crisis has been growing
Rebel officer Lieutenant Colonel Ollanta Humala Tasso has defended his uprising against the "illegitimate" Peruvian Government of President Alberto Fujimori in an interview with Peruvian Radio:

Humala
I believe there is a situation of moral, social, political, and economic crisis, in particular a moral crisis. The Peruvian army, which belongs to all of us, has been tainted by a group of generals who are mistreating the institution...

As commander of a group of men, I cannot allow this to happen, out of principle. The other thing is that I believe the exercise of the presidency by Mr Fujimori is illegitimate, especially as we prepare for elections. We have experience on how Mr Fujimori views electoral processes.

Interviewer
Commander, how would you describe the attitude you are adopting? Is it a rebellion?

Pro-Humala demonstration in Lima
Lt-Col Humala has civilian supporters

Humala
I reject that term... The commander must always represent and personify the institution, but when that person distances himself from the objectives and interests of the institution, subordinates must remain loyal to the institution and not to the person. This is how I understand an institution is kept strong.

I believe this is not the case because if Alberto Fujimori remains in the presidency in an illegitimate manner, he cannot be considered supreme commander of the armed forces...

Interviewer
Commander, do you not think you might be arrested or confronted by military forces?

Humala
I am aware of that possibility. Nonetheless, Fujimori must resign, Montesinos must be arrested and tried, and the army leadership must be removed...

Interviewer
Commander, what else can you tell Peruvian radio listeners and 25 million Peruvians?

Humala
I want to call on my comrades in arms and my friends to adopt a manly decision, as soldiers. I believe it is time for this crisis situation to be resolved.

I know that most young officers, commanders, majors, and captains agree with me. They are just waiting for somebody to make the first move, so they will continue. If I have done that, I believe I have contributed to solving this crisis.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

30 Oct 00 | Americas
Peruvian army chases rebel troops
29 Oct 00 | Americas
Reports of Peruvian rebel seizure
29 Oct 00 | Americas
Peru army officer stages revolt
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