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Cablegate: Clock Ticking for Garcia in the Highlands

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #1862/01 1441721
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241721Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5592
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4682
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7353
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0417
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAY QUITO 1231
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1294
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHOND/DIRONDCP WASHDC

UNCLAS LIMA 001862

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV PINR SNAR PE
SUBJECT: CLOCK TICKING FOR GARCIA IN THE HIGHLANDS

REF: A. LIMA 4516 (06)

B. LIMA 248 (06)
C. LIMA 37 (05)
D. LIMA 4968 (0..
id: 109673
date: 5/24/2007 17:21
refid: 07LIMA1862
origin: Embassy Lima
classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
destination: 07LIMA4516
header:
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #1862/01 1441721
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241721Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5592
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4682
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7353
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0417
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAY QUITO 1231
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1294
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHOND/DIRONDCP WASHDC


----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS LIMA 001862

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV PINR SNAR PE
SUBJECT: CLOCK TICKING FOR GARCIA IN THE HIGHLANDS

REF: A. LIMA 4516 (06)

B. LIMA 248 (06)
C. LIMA 37 (05)
D. LIMA 4968 (03)

--------
Summary:
--------

1. (SBU) Residents of Apurimac, a southern highlands region
and former Humala stronghold, have seen few benefits from the
Garcia government, according to interlocutors interviewed by
poloffs during a May 13-15 visit. Despite a pro-Humala
history, most elected local leaders are non-ideological
technocrats. Local NGO representatives said that this
mineral-rich region has great economic potential but also
latent possibilities for signficant mining conflicts with
highlands indigenous communities. The vast majority of
contacts warned that, if the GOP cannot deliver on its
promises, Apurimac voters would again turn to radical,
"anti-system" candidates -- to the Humalas or "someone just
like them" -- in future elections. End Summary.

2. (U) Poloffs visited the Apurimac Region May 13-15 and met
with a wide variety of local interlocutors, including
Regional President David Abraham Salazar Morote, Regional
Vice President Willer Taype, XXXXXXXXXXXX, Abancay Mayor Jose Manuel Campos Cespedes, Abancay
City Manager Colonel (retired) Raul Gutierrez Rodas,
XXXXXXXXXXXX, Abancay Public
School Director Roberto Hurtado, CARE local representative
Juan Soto, local small enterprise silk producer Jose Peralta
Huaman, and former International Visitor and Quechua
translator Alejandrina Contreras Merino.

-----------------------------
Apurimac is Humala Country...
-----------------------------

3. (U) Apurimac, one of Peru,s poorest regions, is divided
by a longstanding rivalry between its two largest cities --
the regional capital of Abancay and its largest population
center, Andahuaylas. Seventy-eight percent of Apurimac's
residents live in poverty and 40 percent lack electricity.
Infrastructure is poor. The main road that links Andahuaylas
to Abancay is a rutted, dirt track that requires half a day
to navigate and features dangerous hairpin curves that
overlook drops of thousands of feet. Along the way, one
finds isolated towns and villages with almost no basic
services.

4. (SBU) Not coincidentally, in recent years Apurimac
Residents have vocally backed some of Peru's most radical
political leaders, the Humalas. In the 2006 presidential
elections, Apurimac favored radical nationalist candidate
Ollanta Humala, who garnered 71% of the region's vote in the
second round run-off against Alan Garcia. In 2005, the
region was home to the attempted "Ethno-cacerista" rebellion
led by Antauro Humala. That radical fringe group continues
to enjoy sympathy among elements of the local population.
(Refs B-D).

---------------
...And It's Not
---------------

5. (U) Notwithstanding Apurimac's pro-Humala past, neither
Humala has a strong organizational presence in the region.
Ollanta Humala's Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP) has all but
disappeared, while Antauro Humala,s Ethnocacerista
"Reservists" continue to organize in small highlands villages
in the interior. In the November 2006 regional and municipal
elections, local voters opted not for PNP or other
ideological radicals but instead elected a series of
technocrats and locally-trained professionals who had risen
out of regional political movements. Like many of their
counterparts around Peru, the style of Apurimac's elected
regional and municipal leadership is largely non-ideological
and focused on problem-solving and promoting development.

6. (SBU) Interviews with a variety of local leaders
confirmed their pragmatic bent. Regional President Salazar,
an industrial engineer by training, spoke earnestly of his
support for Peru Trade Promotion Authority (PTPA) and the
export opportunities it will bring. Abancay Mayor Manuel
Campos launched his political career when he formed a group
of local professionals, including architects and young
engineers, called "All United for Abancay," that did pro bono
work refurbishing rural schools. Andahuaylas Mayor Molina is
a former lawyer who has assembled a team that includes
agricultural experts.

--------------------------------------------- ------------
Ominous Signs: Humala, Narcotraffickers, Mining Conflicts
--------------------------------------------- ------------

7. (SBU) Post-2006 election Apurimac remains peaceful, but
Poloffs heard indications of potential future difficulties:

--XXXXXXXXXXXX told Poloffs that Antauro Humala,s Ethnocacerista "Reservists" are organizing in the hillside villages around his town. XXXXXXXXXXXX is an isolated town in the center of Apurimac, accessible only by the dirt road that links Andahuaylas and Abancay.

--All local officials complained of narcotrafficking.
Apurimac is a transit zone for drugs produced elsewhere.
XXXXXXXXXXXX spoke of caravans of expensive 4x4 pickup trucks
passing through his town in the night. XXXXXXXXXXXX pointed out a discotheque he had recently closed down
just off the town's central plaza, "XXXXXXXXXXXX" which he described as noisy and offensive in a
conservative local culture and an obvious money-laundering
operation. XXXXXXXXXXXX also said that narco-money was pushing up
property values in the town center. He noted that a building
on the town square had recently sold for USD 200,000. He
asked rhetorically, "Who but narco-traffickers has that kind
of money out here?" (Note: The combination of new discos and
rising property values paralelled what residents of Huanta
and Ayacucho had reported last November about
narco-penetration of their local economies, though these
forces remain incipient in Apurimac (Ref A). End Note.)
School Director Roberto Hurtado said drug use among youth in
Abancay remains low to non-existent "for now," but could soon
spread into the area from nearby Cusco.

--Mining Conflicts Latent. CARE Representative Juan Soto
told Poloffs that Apurimac faces an imminent challenge in the
mining arena. Many foreign mining firms are finding that
the region is rich in mineral deposits, and will soon seek
permission from the Ministry of Energy and Mines to develop
these resources. The Ministry has few if any back-linkages
to the highlands, Quechua-speaking communities that live in
potential mining areas.

-----------------
Where,s the Beef?
-----------------

8. (SBU) Apurimac's residents are perplexed at the lack of
government action almost one year into the Garcia
Administration. Leaders in Andahuaylas spoke of planned
government projects, but nowhere did Poloffs see evidence
that any were underway. Locals were dismayed by President
Garcia,s recent visit to Andahuaylas, particularly his
announcement of a plan to "study" a long-awaited project to
pave the road between Andahuaylas and Abancay. Upon hearing
that the project remained under study, many in the crowd
heckled the President. Also of concern was the central
government's alleged divide and rule approach. Abancay Mayor
Campos maintained that both the Regional President and the
central government pour resources into the Andahuaylas area,
where the majority of Apurimac's voters (60 percent) live.
He alleged that the Regional President had received
construction equipment from the GOP that he was refusing to
share with the Abancay Municipality because, the Mayor
charged, he wanted to address Andahuaylas' needs first.

--------
Comment:
--------
9. (SBU) Apurimac is a highly traditional, conservative
region whose political history features bouts of intermittent
radicalism. The message from local contacts was clear: if
visible, concrete action from the GOP in infrastructure,
health, and education does not come soon, Apurimac's
residents could turn again to the Humalas or to "someone just
like them."
STRUBLE

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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