- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Paroled American Lori Berenson, who stirred international controversy when she was convicted of aiding Peruvian guerrillas, arrived in the United States on Tuesday morning for her first visit home since Peruvian authorities arrested her in 1995.

Berenson’s plane touched down at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey around 7:35 a.m. After going through customs, the 42-year-old did not speak to reporters as she and her 2-year-old son were escorted by Port Authority police to a black sedan with New York plates. They were joined by Berenson’s mother, and the boy looked with wonderment at the gaggle of reporters and flashing cameras.

Earlier, Berenson’s mother, RhodaBerenson, was waiting expectantly for her daughter and grandson.

“We are looking forward to the first holiday at home in a long, long time and many relatives who haven’t met Salvador are excited to see him,” she said, speaking of her toddler grandson.

“This is not a political time; this is a time for family, friends and holidays.”

She was holding a Bloomingdale’s bag containing a winter coast for her grandson, who she says has never been in such a cold climate before. She said they would head to New York City after leaving the airport.

Lori Berenson boarded a Continental Airlines flight at Lima’s international airport late Monday under intense media scrutiny, as many in Peru wonder whether she will return to the country by the court-ordered deadline of Jan. 11.

Wearing a black turtleneck, black jeans and designer eyeglasses, Berenson told an Associated Press reporter while waiting for her flight that she intended to return to Peru. Berenson was accompanied by a U.S. Embassy employee.

“I just hope we don’t get caught in a snowstorm,” she said, joking that such an occurrence in the U.S. would delay her return.

Berenson’s departure capped three days of confusion after Peruvian authorities had prevented her from boarding a flight to New York on Friday despite a court approval allowing her to leave.

The authorities said Berenson, who had served 15 years on an accomplice to terrorism conviction before her parole last year, lacked an additional document.

Peruvian migration officials finally gave Berenson another document Monday clearing her to leave the country with her son to spend the holidays with her family in New York City.

Her father, Mark Berenson, said Monday that he was eager to see her return.

“I’m just glad that they finally resolved the thing,” he told the AP by phone from New York.

Lori Berenson admitted helping the Tupac Amaru rebel group rent a safe house where authorities seized a cache of weapons after a shootout with the rebels. She insists she didn’t know guns were stored there and says she never joined the group.

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