Wikileaks Cable Alleges Peruvian Military Ties To Drug Trafficking & Reveals U.S. Fears Over Shining Path
December 14, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — A leaked United States diplomatic cable reports that Peru’s new military head was involved in drug corruption, a charge that the general adamantly denies.
The March 2009 document, released by the website Wikileaks, was written by then-Ambassador Michael McKinley and stated that an unnamed source “saw signs that officers may have continued to cooperate with drug traffickers.”
The document referenced a 2007 meeting between Peruvian Gen. Paul da Silva and a regional fishing industry leader, Rolando Eugenio Velasco Heysen, where the two allegedly discussed drug shipments. On October of 2007, Velasco was arrested on charges that he attempted to export 840 kilograms of cocaine in frozen fish.
The cable also says corruption has “long plagued Peruvian government institutions,” including the military, and adds that the military is reluctant to initiate a serious plan to pacify one of the most notorious drug zones in Peru, known as the VRAE.
Da Silva held a press conference on Monday, where he demanded that the government investigate the matter and called the cable a “disgrace.”
Another leaked cable coming from the U.S. embassy in Peru shows that the U.S. fears a resurgence of the Shining Path insurgency. The Shining Path, or Sendero Luminoso in Spanish, is a Maoist organization that began an insurgency against the Peruvian state in 1980.
The rebellion cost 69,000 lives before it was nearly extinguished in the 1990s.
“There is no doubt that the (Sendero Luminoso) has adopted a ‘kindlier, gentler’ approach towards the local population,” an October 2009 cable said, according to The Miami Herald. It added that in the Apurimac Valley the insurgency “prefers to bribe peasants and local officials, rather than to terrorize them and even execute them, as they did in the past.”
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