The Magazine


Feb 26, 1996, Vol. 1, No. 23 • By MARK FALCOFF
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For their part, ordinary Peruvians are not amused by foreigners who have come to their country in search of revolutionary self-expression. As one nurse slightly older than Lori Berenson told the Times, "She's just another one of those liberal, naive gringas who thinks she has been appointed by God to save the world. I don't feel sorry for her." Ungenerous remarks, no doubt, but the woman who made them -- and millions like her -- have to bear the freight.

In spite of the outcry in liberal and human rights circles in the United States, it is unlikely that Berenson will serve anything like a life sentence. Her case is still subject to appeal, and extrapolating from a similar situation involving a young Italian woman several years ago, she will probably be released and sent home within a year or two. (In the meanwhile she has chosen not to avail herself of the option, available under a bilateral treaty, to serve out her sentence at a correctional facility in the United States.) Once free, she can expect a six-figure book contract, lucrative fees on the lecture circuit, and a made-for-TV movie. For Peruvians, the prospects are less brilliant: lectures from the United States, and several more seasons of altruism coming out of the barrel of a gun.

Mark Falcoff is a resident scholar and specialist in Latin American affairs at the American Enterprise Institute. Presidency.