How can an open society balance demands for security with democracy? State of Fear dramatizes the human and societal costs a democracy faces when it embarks on a war against terror, a war potentially without end, all too easily exploited by unscrupulous leaders seeking personal political gain. Based on the groundbreaking revelations of the Peruvian Truth & Reconciliation Commission, it serves as a cautionary tale for all nations.
Filmmakers Pamela Yates, Paco de Onís and Peter Kinoy masterfully blend personal testimony, history and archival footage to tell the story of escalating violence in the Andean nation and how fear of terrorism was used to undermine democracy, making Peru a virtual dictatorship where official corruption replaced the rule of law. Terrorist attacks by Shining Path guerrillas provoked a military occupation of the countryside. Military justice replaced civil authority, widespread abuses by the Peruvian army went unpunished, and terrorism continued to spread. Nearly 70,000 civilians eventually died at the hands of the Shining Path and the Peruvian military.