Javier Diez Canseco

Javier Diez Canseco
Javier Diez Canseco.jpg
Javier Diez Canseco in 2001.
Member of Congress
In office
28 July 2011 – 4 May 2013
In office
28 July 2001 – 26 July 2006
In office
26 July 1995 – 26 July 2000
Member of the Senate
In office
26 July 1985 – 5 April 1992
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
26 July 1980 – 26 July 1985
Member of the Constituent Assembly
In office
28 July 1978 – 13 July 1979
Personal details
Born(1948-03-24)24 March 1948
Lima, Peru
Died4 May 2013(2013-05-04) (aged 65)
Lima, Peru
Political partyLogo PS-Perú.jpg Peruvian Socialist Party
previously of Mariateguist Unified Party, and Revolutionary Vanguard
ResidenceLima, Perú
Alma materPontifical Catholic University of Peru
National University of San Marcos, Lima
Occupationsociologist, politician, member of Peruvian Congress

Javier Diez Canseco Cisneros (24 March 1948 – 4 May 2013) was a Peruvian politician and member of the Peruvian Congress representing the Socialist Party of Peru (PDD), of which he was a founding President.

Personal Background

Javier Diez Canseco was born to a well-to-do Lima family. His parents were Santiago Luis Diez Canseco Magill and Maria del Carmen Cisneros Sanchez. He is a descendant of 19th Century military hero, General Manuel Diez Canseco y Corbacho, and is related to President Fernando Belaúnde Terry. His father, a banker, was general manager of the Banco Popular del Perú, which afforded the family a high level of material comfort.

In his first year of life, Diez Canseco was afflicted with poliomyelitis, which left him with a permanent limp in his left leg. He has credited his experiences with his disability as having helped him to come to understand inequality and injustice.[1]

He received his schooling in Lima's Colegio Inmaculado Corazón de Jesús and did his secondary schooling at the Colegio Santa María Marianistas, both religious schools. He studied law at the National University of San Marcos from 1967 to 1968, and sociology at the Catholic University (PUCP) in Lima from 1965 to 1971.[2] Although raised a Catholic, Diez Canseco abandoned the religion while at university.

Diez Canseco was elected chairman of the PUCP's Social Science Student Federation in 1970, and as head of the university's Student Federation the following year.[2] During his time at university he became a member of the left-wing party Vanguardia Revolucionaria, and soon moved out of Lima to work with mine workers in the central highlands. His militancy earned him exile to Argentina and, later, to France by the military governments of Generals Juan Velasco Alvarado and Francisco Morales Bermúdez. Later, when Vanguardia Revolucionaria merged with other groups to form the Partido Unificado Mariateguista, Diez Canseco emerged as a leader in the new party.

In December 1996, he was one those taken captive by Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) guerrillas in the Japanese embassy hostage crisis in Lima, but was released after several days. He subsequently called for a negotiated peace settlement between the government and the MRTA insurgents.

Political Life

Diez Canseco served in the Constituent Assembly which drafted the 1979 Constitution, ending twelve years of military rule. He served in both chambers of Congress from 1978 until 1992 (when Congress was dissolved following the "self-coup" of President Alberto Fujimori), from 2001 to 2006, and, as part of President Ollanta Humala's Gana Peru coalition, from 2011 to 2013. He was also a candidate for President of Peru as the head of the Socialist Party of Peru in the 2006 elections. He received 0.5% of the vote, coming in 9th place.

An avowed socialist, Diez Canseco contributed regular OpEds to the center-left daily La República. He was critical of what he saw as the caudillismo of American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA), and during the 1990s, was a vigorous opponent of the dictatorship of President Alberto Fujimori. He also denounced the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq as "neocolonialism".

From 2002 to 2006, he was chairperson of the National Congress Special Studies Commission on Disabilities in Peru, which developed legislative initiatives, public policies, and advocacy for increased state attention to the issues of people with disabilities. One of the most significant Peruvian laws addressing disability -the General Law on People with Disabibilites, enacted in December 2012- was drafted with his aid.[3]

In 1990 Diez Canseco participated in an inquiry into a government campaign of illegal wiretapping and interception of cellphone communications. In 2002, he led a congressional inquiry into the privatization program undertaken in the 1990s by Fujimori. The committee calculated that of the USD9 billion raised during the privatization process, only a small fraction ended up benefiting the state.[4]

He was also involved in investigations of human rights violations committed by both the Shining Path and the Peruvian Armed Forces during Peru's 1980-1992 internal armed conflict -including the 1985 Accomarca massacre[5]-, and was repeatedly subjected to death threats by both sides involved in the violence.

Death threats and attempts on his life

In the predawn hours of 14 November 1990, twenty-four hours before the findings of the wiretapping inquiry were to be handed in, a dynamite attack was carried out at the Diez Canseco home. An explosive was detonated moments before at a neighboring house, presumably in an unsuccessful attempt to draw Diez Canseco to the front door of his home, where a second charge was detonated. The police initially suggested it had been an attack by the Shining Path, but later evidence indicated that it had been the work of the government's Grupo Colina death squad.[6]

In 1995 his name was included at the top of a list of names accompanying a funeral floral arrangement left at the entrance of the headquarters of the Association for Human Rights. The note was signed "Comunidad Colina".[6]

In March 1997, Diez Canseco's car was fired upon by heavily armed assailants wearing bullet-proof vests, but he was not riding in it at the time. The attackers took control of the vehicle, and took its occupants, Diez Canseco's chauffeur, bodyguards, and a friend, to an unknown location in Lima where they were interrogated and later freed. The assailants claimed they were police officers.[7]

In 1999, on Diez Canseco's birthday, two human skulls were left across the street from his home.[6]

Suspension from Congress

On November 16, 2012, Diez Canseco was suspended from Congress without pay for 90 days by a vote of a full session of the Congress after the Congressional Ethics Commission found that he had violated the Parliamentary Code of Ethics in presenting bill nº054/2011, which would have, according to the charges, financially benefited his daughter and ex-wife.[8][9] The motion for suspension was presented although the Ethics Commission's own Technical Board had found that no ethics violation had taken place. For his part, Diez Canseco denied any wrongdoing and accused political opponents, including First Lady Nadine Heredia, of colluding against him.[10][11]

On April 8, 2013, following an appeal by Diez Canseco the Peruvian judiciary annulled the suspension as having violated Congressional due process. The court also left the possibility open for its reinstatement pending a new, more specific, report from the Congressional Ethics Committee.[12] In early May 2013 a higher court rejected Congress' appeal and ratified the annulment of the suspension.

This was not the first time Diez Canseco was suspended from his Congressional and Senatorial duties. On December 13, 1983, he was suspended for 120 days for having snatched a document out of the official lector's hands during a heated debate on the floor. In 1988, he was again suspended on the 3rd of September for having punched a fellow congressman in the mouth, and for having violated congressional norms by speaking by telephone with a television news program during a closed session of the legislature.[13]


In early February 2013, Diez Canseco revealed that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer, for which he had been hospitalized since late January.[14] He died on May 4, 2013.


  1. ^ Javier Diez Canseco: Una vida dedicada a la defensa e igualdad de los derechos humanos Archived 2013-04-04 at the Wayback Machine, La República online, 31 March 2013. (Accessed 4 April 2013)
  2. ^ a b Biography at the Gana Peru Candidates website. (Accessed 3 April 2013)
  3. ^ "Javier Diez-Canseco" Archived 2013-07-04 at Archive.today, profile at Disability Rights Fund web page. (Accessed 5 May 2013)
  4. ^ Peru, Congreso de la República. Primer reporte-resumen, Miércoles, 27 de Octubre de 2004: ACTIVIDADES EN EL CONGRESO. (Accessed 2 April 2013)
  5. ^ Burt, Jo Marie & María Rodríguez. "El largo juicio por el caso de la masacre de Accomarca. El testimonio de Javier Diez Canseco". Huari - Boletín de estudios históricos y sociales (Centro de Estudios Históricos Regionales Andinos, Ayacucho, Peru), v. 1/no. 1 (2nd quarter of 2013), pp. 40-47.
  6. ^ a b c Diez Canseco fue blanco del Grupo Colina, La República online, 4 February 2008. (Accessed 2 April 2013)
  7. ^ Amnesty International. Document - AI Urgent Actions March 1997. (Accessed 2 April 2013)
  8. ^ Pleno del Congreso aprueba suspender a Javier Diez Canseco por 90 días. La República online, 16 November 2012. (Accessed 4 April 2013)
  9. ^ Congreso aprueba 90 días de suspensión a Diez Canseco. Archived 2012-11-20 at the Wayback Machine Correo online, 16 November 2012. (Accessed 4 April 2013)
  10. ^ Javier Diez Canseco acusó a parte del oficialismo y fujimorismo de estar detrás de su suspensión. Archived 2013-06-01 at the Wayback Machine El Comercio online, 16 November 2012. (Accessed 4 April 2013).
  11. ^ Diez Canseco afirmó que detrás de su suspensión está Nadine Heredia. Archived 2013-03-11 at the Wayback Machine El Comercio online, 16 November 2012. (Accessed 4 April 2013).
  12. ^ Corte Superior de Lima, Quinto Juzgado Especializado en lo Constitucional. Expediente 00461-2013-0-1801-JR-CI-05. Resolucion 07 del 04 de abril de 2013, Asunto: Proceso de amparo iniciado por el Senor Javier Diez Canseco Cisneros contra el Congreso de la República, El Comercio online, 8 April 2013. (Accessed 8 April 2013)
  13. ^ Es la tercera vez que Javier Diez Canseco es suspendido. Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine Correo online, 17 November 2012. (Accessed 4 April 2013)
  14. ^ Congresista Javier Diez Canseco revela que padece de cáncer, RPP Noticias, 8 February 2013 (Accessed 2 April 2013).

External links

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