Monday, January 16, 2012

Forced Sterilization revealed in Peru

The latest scandal of mass forced sterilization is unfolding in the Latin American country of Peru. Just like the case of Brazil where millions of young women (particularly blacks) were systematically sterilized without their knowledge (see Church Arise! Vol 6 No 4, 2003), an estimated 300,000 young Peruvians were surreptitiously sterilized over a period of at least ten years, during the government of Alberto Fujimori.

Sterilization of young men and women in Peru first started as a state policy with generous funding from the US (USAID) and the UN (UNICEF). Initially, people were encouraged to volunteer, but gradually as pressure mounted on the health practitioners to meet up certain “targets” , doctors began to perform surgical sterilization on people, whenever they had the opportunity (as during caesarian delivery of babies) – without informing the patient! A notable case was Victoria Vigo who later sued the doctor and was awarded damages of about £2,000. During the trial in 2003, the doctor reportedly claimed he was only following instructions and that the practice of sterilising patients – with or without their knowledge or consent – was standard among Peru's public healthcare providers. Peru's Medical Association concurred, but insisted that its members were pressured into carrying out sterilisations, including under the threat of losing their jobs.

What is bringing back to life this once closed investigation into the issue of forced sterilizations is the case of Mamerita Mestanza. The 33-year old mother-of-seven died in 1998 from complications that developed during sterilisation surgery which health officials allegedly harassed her into accepting. In 2001, the Peruvian state agreed to an out-of-court settlement with the family of Ms Mestanza, including a compensation payment of $100,000. The case was shelved in 2009 after it was deemed to have lapsed under the statute of limitations. However, prosecutors have now reclassified the sterilisations as a crime against humanity, meaning there is no time limit for perpetrators to be brought to justice. Fujimori (already serving a 25 year jail sentence) and his three health ministers Eduardo Yong Motta, Alejandro Aguinaga and Marino Costa Bauer could therefore be facing fresh trials soon.

Victoria Ugo described the pain of helplessly watching the State intrude in the most personal aspects of her life. "Of course it has changed my life. …The instinct to be a mother is so powerful. Having that snatched away from you takes away your whole purpose in life, your reason for being."

Historically, men have always been fascinated with the idea of trying to play God in the lives of their fellow men. In vol 6 no 4 we reported on an “on-going covert mass sterilization program sponsored by the US and targeting 13 developing countries, including Nigeria and Brazil.” Brazil’s response to that development included a formal congressional inquiry which unearthed such an extensive rot that made Brazilian authorities to complain that the level of US population assistance had become “overwhelming and unnecessary!” In Volume 13 no 4, we reported on the clamour by a British Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences that “unfit” members of society (i.e. the mentally and morally ”unfit”) be permanently sterilized. (see Also a few weeks before then, Bill Gates had called for “massive sterilizations of the world”, suggesting that vaccines be laced with sterilizing chemicals. According to Bill Gates, vaccines, if used aggressively, could help the world do “away with 1.5 billion people” (see vol 13 no 2 or / for details on this apparent slip of the tongue)

An online Search for the words “forced sterilization” (on Google, for instance) will yield dozens of records of incidences of official forced sterilization spanning several countries – from America to Australia (for example, see Reportage often comes up only years after such mass sterilization has ceased. Curiously, the only place for which no such records exist is black Africa. Could it be that such mass sterilization programme is still on-going on the continent?

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