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October 23, 1977 - Image 11

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Michigan Daily, 1977-10-23
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Poge 8-Sunday, October 23, 1977-The Michigan Daily


(Continued from Page 3)
one thing he is eager to shun, for it
can hurt the progress and direction of
what he feels should be a movement
of the masses.
But there is an underlying hard-
ness in Blanco, perhaps only to be
expected in a man who has narrowly
escaped execution in his homeland
and in Chile, who has spent years in
prison, who has been twice exiled
from Peru, who has survived on a
continent where people of his politi-
cal bent often tend to have artifically
shortened lifespans. And surviving
was seldom easy. -
In 1962, Blanco rose to the leader-
ship of the Chaupimayo Peasant
Union in the Andean valley known as
La Convencion. It is a coffee produc-
ing region, .and at that time an
upsurge in coffee prices had led
many of the larger landowners,
backed by the police, to drive
peasants off their land in order to
increase their own acreage. Pea-
sants who protested were thrown in
jail; they were isolated and-disergan-
ized. As Blanco recalls, "This led to
explosive reactions and there were

some peasants who killed landown-
ers. That was before the union
movement, the union movement
channeled all that anger and took it-
on a proper course."
The union began reoccupying the
property of the large landowners, as
well as taking over and distributing
among the peasants large tracts
which, until then, had gone unused.
The union established its own courts,
schools, and a militia to protect itself
against the landowners' private ar-
mies. But it was inevitable that the
government would react against the
In 1963, the .Chaupimayo Union,
along with similar organizations in
other areas, was brutally crushed.
Orders were issued to the Civil Guard
to shoot Blanco on sight; fortunately,
he was captured by the Intelligence
Police, whose orders were to take
him alive.
N RETROSPECT, Blanco recognizes
the weakness of the land move-
ment. Its possibilities for suc-,
cess, he says, "were just illusions
that we had, not very realistic ones.
One always tends to be optimistic,
but when we thoughts in realistic

fashion we saw how tremendously
isolated we were. "
In 1966, after three years in prison,
Blanco was brought to trial for the
murder of two policemen during the
union struggle. He defended himself
arguing that he fired in self defense
only after being fired upon, for he
knew the police had been ordered to
kill him. During his trial, held in'
front of a military tribunal, one of his
lawyers was assassinated. Blanco
was sentenced to death, but an inter-
national outcry resulted in his sen-
tence being reduced to 25 years in
prison. In 1970, after a leftist military
government had. come to power,
Blanco was released.
But Blanco refused to support the
new government that had freed him,
despite its political leanings. To do so
"would have been telling the masses
to 'put your faith in this military
government which will-resolve all
your problems.' To do that I would
have had to miseducate the masses.
We cannot sell the masses for a plate
of beans." He soon became active in
a militant teacher's strike and was
exiled to Mexico.
From there Blanco went to Argen-
tina to continue his work, but the


Argentine government, fearful of his
influence, jailed him on a trumped-
up charge of illegal residence (this
despite the fact that he still had two
months remaining on a three month
visa). Blanco calls the charge a
"scandalous lie," and then adds with
a grin, "but of course, to ask of the
Argentine government that it act in a
legal fashion is even more scanda-
lous." During his interrogation he
was questioned solely about his
political activity in Peru. He was
eventually released and deported to
Chile, which was then ruled by Salva-
dor Allende's socialist government.
When the Allende government was
overthrown by a CIA-backed right
wing coup in September 1973, Blan-
co's name was placed on the new
military junta's "death list". With
the aid of the Swedish and Mexican
embassies, as well as a few cloak and
dagger tactics, he narrowly escaped
capture and was granted political
asylum in Mexico. Blanco then went
to Europe to join the large colony of
Latin Americans in exile there.
ECENTLY Blanco has been on
a speaking tour of the United.
States, and finds himself pleased
with the "positive response" he has
encountered here. "It has been a sur-
prise for me," he says, "because not
my political self, but my affective
self, has taught me since I was very
little about Yankee imperialism,
Yankee imperialism, Yankee imper-
ialism; as if it were one indistin-
guishable block, as if Yankee imper-
ialism and the North American
people were one and the same thing.
And in that sense my affective part is
now understanding what my intellec-
tual part already understood."
Blanco has no intention of slowing
down his political activity. When not
on tour he is- organizing support for
and working among groups of exiles.
Above all he remains optimistic: "It
is true that in South America most
countries are military dictatorships
now. But personally, and this time is
the one instance I'm not speaking in
the name of the party, I think this is
the beginning of a good period." He
cites recent activity in Brazil, Peru,
Chile -and other Latin American
countries as evidence of an upsurge
among the masses.
Blanco is also hopeful that he may
soon return to South America. How-
ever, he believes that "this depends
on the North American people,
among others. That is to say, if
national solidarity and international
solidarity has been able to save my
life, to reduce my jail sentence from
twnety-five years to eight years, it's
possible that it can win for me the
right to return. That is an easier



. 1

The Campus "Dedalus,, -"The usual indictment of modern art charges it is a
meaningless fraud. I disagree. It is challenging and inventive, often beautiful, some-

times exasperating, but it is vital."
(Continued from Page 6) - aloof an
indulgences areallowed but the humani
choices are arbitrary -at best. The Sever.
StonesField Sculpture is a typical ably th
victim of this system. Donalds
I don't believe the tremendous art that
hostility generated by abstract and adorned
non-objective art has anything to do industri
with a concerned social conscience.ny gand con
Modern art is the clearest reflection interest
of the lunacy of technology. Ours is a nition of
society based on the precept that a cal wor]
perfect world can be achieved modern
through constant technological prog- sleek an
ress - that advancement ultimately sonal.
results in cultural Nirvana. But Mayb
technology has failed us, becoming not the.
cancerous in its rampant "improve- signific
ments."Our artists- the traditional rock an
barometers of the ages - have ture in(
logically incorporated and recorded resistan
this phenomenon into their art. .,There h
People complain they don't under- tive set
stand modern art, but I think they do lishmen
even more than they realize. The industri
anger and frustration incited by an The u

d'vague - unconcerned with,
al modern artists, most not-
e Minimalist sculptors like
Judd and Tony Smith, fashion
is simple, geometric and un-
. Using materials such as
al enamels, steel, aluminum
crete, these Minimalists are
ed in the negation and redefi-
f artistry. Like the technologi-
Id by which they are inspired,
1artists create works that are
nd exacting, but wholly imper-
e the Stone Field gculpture is
most convincing, appealing or
ant work of art, but the use of
d land as elements of sculp-
iicates an evolving., artistic
nce to technological designs.
ardly could be a more effec-
tting for such an anti-estab-
t - creation than blighted,
al Hartford.
sual indictment of modern art
- i is a m anvinalaPC frona T

from any aesthetic considerations, it
is responsive to the issues and ideas
which concern the public.
Not every work of art is a master-
piece and there may well be times
when it seems that public funds could
be better spent, but society's prob-
lems cannot be b.ought off. We need
our art as much as we need the pure
'sciences and the social sciences. If
modern art threatens, it is because it
confronts us and it forces us to think.

Susan Ades'- Jay-Levin


Elaine Fletcher

Tom O'Connell

Hugo Blanco:
Radical survivor
of a troubled land

Food: Scones,

Associate Editors

curd, cream,.
Tea's Up!

. 0

Books: /
of 'Atta(

l '/1V




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