Sweden is a world famous kingdom, home of the Nobel Prize for literature, Arts, Science and Peace. This prize was established by one of Sweden's most famous subjects, Alfred Nobel who, paradoxically, was also the inventor of dynamite.
Sweden is a country with a tradition of organising main events in peace promotion and its neutrality is a long established factor of pride for its citizens. It was the only Scandinavian country to remain out of the Second World War. This "neutrality" served the Swedes well in the business of supplying both sides with war materials, steel, munitions, and other commercial goods. They even supplied the Nazi regime. Persevering in this proud Swedish tradition, BOFORS, the Swedish conglomerate, has recently been accused of illegal weapons sales to the Middle East, concretely, to Bahrain.
Seminars and Conferences against racism proliferate in Sweden. However, in a little town in the South an "invandra" - a foreigner - from the Ivory Coast was savagely beaten up by some local neo-Nazi skin head youths. The bleeding "invandra" was left for dead in the middle of a local park. His crime: to be black.
The next day, the victim died without receiving assistance from anyone. The main culprit in this outrage was dealt with with typical pacifist Swedish leniency. He was condemned to two years of daily attendance to a rehabilitation centre with the possibility of remission for good behaviour.
While pleasure seeking sex-tourism is organised by Swedish subjects so as to satisfy their sexual perversions on Thailand's children, the struggle against child exploitation has its apparent champions in a Swedish organisation by the name of RADDA BARNEN. RADDA BARNEN collects funds in Sweden ostensibly to help Third World children. However, in reality, RADDA BARNEN engages in child exploitation of an equally perverse sort: They manipulate the children for the sole purpose of propping up brutal and tyrannical regimes.
A pathetic case in hand is the blatant manner in which all RADDA BARNEN's "studies" in Peru are exclusively directed to buttress the criminal Fujimori gang.
Swedish bureaucrats are specialists in screaming about those they regard as "terrorists". However, not only were they unable to avert the assassination of Olof Palme, their Prime Minister, but it is also a fact that the tracks of the authors of this crime are lost in the labyrinthine corridors of Sweden's officialdom. The most prudent journalists have accused the Swedish police of negligence and complicity on this.
During the period of growth in the Swedish economy and when labour power was at a premium, political refugees and all kinds of migrants were given the red carpet treatment.
Today, Swedes do no longer bother to disguise their stern and unwelcoming faces from those requesting political asylum. In the case of Peruvians - who have been demonised as terrorists and Shining Path supporters - things stand quite a lot worse. Many Peruvian citizens have suffered the consequences of the xenophobic repression dealt out by the Swedish authorities.
On two occasions, two Peruvian citizens who were being taken back to Peru by the Swedish police were able to escape their custodians while the plane made a scheduled stop over in Amsterdam. They were admitted into Holland and given the status of asylum seekers. Despite the protestations of the Swedish regime, the Dutch government found their asylum requests to be well grounded and granted these people the status of refugees.
After his asylum petition was denied, the Swedish police took Napoleon Aponte directly to Peru. In Lima's airport, the feared anti-terrorist police - DINCOTE - awaited him. He was taken to a prison and tortured. A year later, and thanks to international pressure, he was released without charge. Shortly afterwards, and under renewed harassment from DINCOTE, he was forced to leave his country again.
He returned to Sweden and once more requested asylum. Again he was turned down. Finally, thanks to an outcry in the Swedish press, he was accepted as a political refugee. Today he lives legally in that country.
Another case is that of Jorge Paez. His asylum request was turned down. Paez went underground to avoid persecution by the Swedish police looking for him to implement his expulsion. While on the run he was able to alert the Human Rights Commission of the European Union to the particulars of his claim. This institution - shaming and over-ruling the Swedish government's decision - came out in favour of regarding Paez's application as genuine. David Sanchez was also turned down for asylum and ordered to be expelled from Sweden. Here too the local press took up the cudgels on his behalf and this dramatic story forced the reluctant Swedish authorities to review his case. Another poignant human tragedy is that of Amaru Zapata. This man and his family were den ied asylum. The family was forced to live underground for a whole year until the Swedish police arrested Zapata's wife and children. They took them to Arlanda airport to carry out the expulsion orders and deliver them into the hands of the Peruvian regime. In desperation, Amaru Zapata drenched himself in petrol and set fire to himself causing horrendous burns. He was taken to the Karolina Hospital in Stockholm.
Currently, there are hundreds of asylum seekers suffering directly from the repressive measures of the Swedish regime. These people, the majority of them Peruvian citizens, have been turned down for asylum and are forced to live underground. This harsh life is better - they say - than having to suffer torture in Peru's "democratic prisons".
We should support the struggle that FREDDEA, the Asylum Rights Defence Front in Sweden is developing. There is a need to unmask the hypocritical Swedish regime as violator of all international laws upholding the right of political asylum for genuine claimants.
(This article was written by a correspondent of El Diario who has lived in Sweden for a number of years).