[Lori] Berenson wasn't under house arrest, but she might as well have been; the media frenzy surrounding her release on May 27 meant that during her first 10 days of freedom, she never went outside. A horde of photographers stormed the car in which she was driven away from the prison -- three cameramen thrust themselves into the backseat; more jumped onto the roof, leaving dents; a TV van crashed into the back. Another gantlet awaited her outside her apartment building, surging against the surrounding gate with such pressure that it buckled. For many days, the press lingered outside, interviewing Miraflorans incensed at having Berenson in their midst.
Such an outpouring of rage at a 40-year-old woman, mother to a toddler, who was convicted in her mid-20s of abetting a terrorist plot that never took place, is a measure of the degree to which Peruvians are still traumatized by the violence that convulsed their country during the years when the Shining Path warred with the military and nearly 70,000 Peruvians were killed. It also underscores the fact that terrorism, all but defunct in Peru for more than a decade, is still a hot political issue.