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Penumbra Press

book cover

Winter 2007
5 X 9 inches, 168 pages

ISBN 9781897323328

The Ambassador's Word

Hostage Crisis in Peru, 1996-1997

The Patricia Marsden-Dole International Series

David J. Goldfield

THE AMBASSADOR'S WORD IS A RIVETING impression of the 1996 hostage-taking of more than 600 people at a pre-Christmas reception at the home of the Japanese ambassador in Lima, Peru.

The brazen siege was carried out by the Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru, a group of rebels seeking to gain the release of hundreds of political prisoners from Peruvian prisons.

David J. Goldfield's dramatic account focuses on the pivotal role played by Anthony Vincent, who was Canada's ambassador to Peru at the time of the crisis. Vincent and his wife — along with an elite cast of politicians, business tycoons, senior military officials, diplomats, and intellectuals — were among the hostages. After an early release Vincent was chosen to become one of the principal intermediaries between the government and the rebels in negotiations that went on for four agonizing months. Vincent courageously sought a peaceful resolution to the standoff, putting himself at great personal risk as he voluntarily shuttled between Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and the Túpac Amaru.

Goldfield deftly situates the hostage crisis in the context of Peruvian politics under the rule of Fujimori, who was determined to stamp out guerrilla movements at all costs. The prevailing mood had been one of success, until the night of the siege, that is, when the group of fourteen rebels many just boys and girls in their teens — pulled off the daring and ingeniously planned operation that galvanized the attention of all of Peru and the international press for 123 days.

Crafted with insider detail and conveyed with brisk realism, The Ambassador's Word narrates the crisis from its bold beginning to its bloody and controversial conclusion, all the while offering an inspiring portrait of a Canadian who staked his life on his unbending commitment to diplomacy.

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