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Cablegate: Nas Monthly Report for July 2007

VZCZCXYZ0020
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #2652/01 2152159
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 032159Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6409
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4933
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7506
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ AUG QUITO 1373
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF STATE AIR WING PATRICK AFB FL
RHEHOND/DIRONDCP WASHDC
RHMFIUU/COGARD INTELCOORDCEN WASHINGTON DC
RULSJGA/COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-CI/G-M/G-OLE//
RUCOWCA/COMLANTAREA COGARD PORTSMOUTH VA
RUWDQAA/COMPACAREA COGARD ALAMEDA CA

UNCLAS LIMA 002652

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR INL/LP
STATE FOR WHA/PPC
ONDCP FOR LT COL RONALD GARNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR KCRM ASEC PREL PE
SUBJECT: NAS MONTHLY REPORT FOR JULY 2007

---------
SUMMARY
---------
1. (U) The key developments in July 2007:

** Strikes, violent marches, roadblocks, and airport
shutdowns require heightened security measures.

** Plan VRAE, the GOP development program for Peru's main
coca growing--and most poverty ridden--area, is stalled
because the security component remains unresolved.

** As of July 31, CORAH has eradicated a total of 3,987
hectares; now operating in the La Morada/Madre Mia areas.

** The readiness posture of the helicopter fleet has improved
with assistance from INL/A and DynCorp; NAS takes steps to
avoid maintenance and parts problems.

** C-26s use the FLIR to protect CORAH from night attacks by
detecting potential hostile forces nearby.

** Interdiction operations slowed by the lack of available
aircraft due to UH-2 maintenance posture.

** Scanners are monitoring air cargo for the first time in
Peruvian counternarcotics history; seizures increase.

** NAS-trained Peruvian customs cooperates with Ecuadorian
customs; team seizes USD 106,000 and a new SUV.

** Garcia implements a package of laws to combat organized
crime, including asset-forfeiture and severe penalties for
blocking eradication.

** NGO trains high-school students to host radio call-in
shows to reach other youth about dangers of drug abuse.

** The new USEPA-approved incinerator for destroying seized
drugs was inaugurated on July 6.
END SUMMARY

--------------------------------------------- --------
SOCIAL CONFLICTS REQUIRE MORE SECURITY IN COCA AREAS
--------------------------------------------- --------
2. (U) In July, NAS/GOP field operations took place in a
context of strikes, violent marches, roadblocks, and attempts
to close down airports. The trigger was the strike by the
teachers' union (SUTEP) controlled by the radical "Patria
Roja," soon joined by a conglomeration of anti-mining and
anti-free trade groups, as well as cocaleros. At one point,
76 different protests were underway in 16 of Peru's 25
provinces. The root causes were unmet regional/local
demands, government inefficiency, and regional incapacity.
Narco-trafficking and Chavista influences may have fueled
violent protests. Pro-coca local and regional authorities
took advantage of local conflicts to advance their own
agendas. We anticipate another general strike in Pucallpa in
August as well as cocalero mobilization against eradication
mid-month. NAS has increased the security awareness level in
the field to include security training at both eradication
sites, specifically regarding night patrols and readiness to
respond to attacks. The two Army platoons that have
augmented PNP at the La Morada/Madre Mia site are forming an
outer perimeter to control key terrain around the work
area/helo landing sites. At the Santa Lucia base, increased
lighting, stepped up communications security, rehearsals for
base defense, and other measures have been taken to protect
personnel, infrastructure, and aviation assets.

--------------------------------------------- -
STRIKE SHUTS DOWN PUCALLPA AND CLOSES AIRPORT
--------------------------------------------- -
3. (U) The general strike that began June 27 in Pucallpa
(site of the NAS Main Operating Base (MOB)) to protest the
elimination of the exemption for the value-added tax for the
Amazonia region, temporarily stranded over 50 American
tourists. The strike stopped all commercial flights into and
out of Pucallpa for about a week. Large crowds gathered
around the airport, but did not enter the MOB. All MOB
personnel have been restricted to the base compound. Local
employees have been coming to work unless they felt
threatened by the crowds. The security situation is
continuously being monitored and adjusted as needed.

---------------------------------------------
PLAN VRAE, COCA GROWERS, AND EXTREME POVERTY
---------------------------------------------
4. (U) Plan VRAE, approved by the Council of Ministers in
December 2006, with a proposed budget of 148 million soles
(47 million dollars) for social programs, basic
infrastructure and agricultural development is off to a slow
start because the security component remains in the planning
stages (the Army has the lead in the VRAE emergency zone).

5. (U) In July, the Ministry of Defense issued a Report by
the VRAE Multi-Sectoral Group (10 Ministries and DEVIDA) on
the "Program for Developing the Valley of the Apurimac and
Ene Rivers." The Report included statistics on extreme
poverty rates in the VRAE, that undermine the myth that coca
is the most lucrative crop for peasant farmers. The VRAE is
the principal coca producing area of Peru--coca has doubled
there in the past 8 years to 16,000 hectares. Along the
Apurimac River 60 percent of this previously diverse
agricultural area is under coca production. Extreme poverty
rates remain higher there than in the rest of Peru (44.85
percent in the VRAE compared to 16.1 percent overall). The
Report states that the poorest farmers--47 percent who have
between 1-3 hectares--are the most dependent on coca. Eighty
percent of the houses in the VRAE have no drinking water; 77
percent have no electricity, and over half the households are
chronically undernourished. According to the Report, crop
productivity is lower than in the rest of the country due to
deforestation, depleted soil caused by coca cultivation, and
indiscriminate use of chemicals (e.g., the national average
for rice production is 4,100 kilos per hectare; in the VRAE
it is barely 800 kilos per hectare).

--------------------------------------------- -
CORAH OPERATIONS CONTINUE IN CONFLICTIVE AREA
--------------------------------------------- -
6. (U) As of July 31, CORAH has eradicated a total of 3,987
hectares and eliminated 23,487 square meters of seedbeds. On
July 7, CORAH moved further south to the La Morada/Madre Mia
areas, which was expected to be more conflictive than
Yanajanca. So far this month, one CORAH worker was injured
by a booby trap (IED) in the field; five other IEDs were
found and disarmed. On seven different days, shots and
explosions were heard close to CORAH's cantonment area.
CORAH expects to complete operations in the La Morada/Madre
Mia areas in August. The eradicators will likely move to the
Tocache area to support Alternative Development activities
while maintaining the current pace of eradication. Moving
CORAH to Tocache should also allow us to reduce flight hours,
since it is closer to the Santa Lucia base.

--------------------------------------------- -------------
MORE UH-2S ARE FLYING; MAINTENANCE CRISIS AVERTED FOR NOW
--------------------------------------------- -------------
7. (SBU) The helicopter fleet maintenance posture has
improved since last month's report. Poor readiness was due
to a high demand for air support for CN operations east of
the Andes dictated by security conditions. The high
operations tempo required scheduled and unscheduled
maintenance of the UH-2s, grounding some helicopters. The
UH-2 fleet exceeded the planned monthly flying hours for over
two months because the PNP MI-17s were down for unscheduled
and phase maintenance or were being used by President Garcia
and other GOP officials. The UH-2s have to fly up to three
times as many hours to accomplish what a heavy-lift MI-17 can
haul in one load. After strong intervention by the NAS
Director, the GOP assigned two PNP MI-17s to support the
eradication efforts at Santa Lucia.

8. (U) Operations in conflictive areas have required a
significant increase in flying hours to transport security
personnel. Violent cocalero attacks and SL ambushes required
a much larger protective force to accompany the eradication
brigades. In the recent Yanajanca operation, 1000 people
were inserted and extracted from the area by helicopter,
causing a higher flying tempo at longer distances from the
base.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
C-26 AIRCRAFT USED TO PROTECT CORAH FROM NIGHT ATTACKS
--------------------------------------------- ----------
9. (SBU) The C-26s continue to fly over eradication
operations areas to take FLIR images of the surrounding area
to detect potential hostile forces nearby. The Peruvian
Joint Command is tasking the C-26 for FLIR images of the CN
areas in the VRAE. Currently, one C-26 is in Oklahoma to
have ARINC install a digital camera to augment the FLIR
capability during CN/CT missions. The C-26 will be flown
back to Peru at the end of August. In recognition of the
excellent cooperation between the GOP, NAS, and the FAP, the
FAP presented NAS Director Keogh with a decoration for her
support of FAP C-26s.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
ECO-FRIENDLY INCINERATOR FOR BURNING DRUGS INAUGURATED
--------------------------------------------- ----------
10. (U) The new USEPA-approved incinerator for destroying
seized drugs was inaugurated on July 6. The clean-burning
incinerator replaces an antiquated one that spewed fumes and
ashes, which prompted community protests that shut down the
facility several times. The shutdowns resulted in warehouses
packed full of seized drugs slated for destruction. The
Minister of Interior and Ambassador Struble participated in
the ceremony.

----------------------------------------
INTERDICTION SLOWED BY LACK OF AIRCRAFT
----------------------------------------
11. (U) Interdiction operations this month slowed due to the
lack of aircraft caused by the maintenance issues described
above. Interdictions continued in the VRAE out of the
Palmapampa police base and in the Upper Huallaga out of Santa
Lucia. The figures are:

July 2007 Since 01/01/07
VRAE Huallaga VRAE Huallaga
--------------------------------------------- ---------------
Laboratories Destroyed 23 6 187 50
Chemicals Destroyed, kg 5539 145 86632 8565
Arrests Made 1 6
Weapons Seized 1 15
Vehicles Seized 3 5

12. (U) The DIRANDRO Road Interdiction Group, DEPOES-3,
operating from Ayacucho, has conducted 28 interdiction
operations with the support of canines. The figures are:

July 2007 Since 01/01/07
--------------------------------------------- ---------------
Cocaine Base Seized, kg 39.6 189
Chemicals Seized, kg 64.5 5942
Arrests Made 1 34
Weapons Seized 1 4

--------------------------------------------- ----------
MARITIME SEIZURES SURPASS LAST YEAR'S IN ONLY 7 MONTHS
--------------------------------------------- ----------
13. (SBU) Interdiction operations by Peruvian Customs and
Police at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport (JCIA)
seized 203 kg of cocaine HCL in 68 incidents this month. In
the past 7 months, this NAS-sponsored project has seized
2,724 kg of cocaine HCL, and made 448 arrests (364 men and 84
women) of which 217 were internal carriers ("mules") and 45
were smuggling cocaine in their luggage or cargo. This
year's seizure rate to date has already surpassed last year's
record of 2,074 kg. As of July 30, the container
scanner--reconfigured for air cargo palettes--has been
deployed at the airport to monitor air cargo for the first
time in Peruvian counternarcotics history. An x-ray body
scanner will also be operational at JCIA by mid August, along
with a mobile x-ray van that screens cargo.

14. (SBU) NAS training and equipment resulted in
Peruvian-Ecuadorian cooperation to arrest a passenger in
Quito airport carrying an undeclared USD 106,000. On July
20, the Chief of the Peruvian Customs at JCIA advised the
USCBP Advisor that a Quito-bound passenger was carrying a lot
of money, but there was no time to count it before he boarded
the plane. The Customs Chief asked the NAS/USCBP Officer to
alert his counterpart in Quito. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) in Quito coordinated with Ecuadorian
Customs to detain the traveler and seize the money when he
did not declare it on arrival (a violation of Ecuadorian
law). When the Ecuadorians discovered the traveler had a SUV
parked at the airport, they also seized the vehicle.

15. (SBU) For the month of July, the Peruvian Postal System
(SERPOST) seized 24 kg of cocaine HCL in the out-going
international mail.

--------------------------------------------- -
GARCIA PASSES NEW ORGANIZED CRIME LEGISLATION
--------------------------------------------- -
16. (SBU) In April, Peru's Congress delegated to President
Garcia its authority to implement a package of laws to combat
organized crime. The new laws went into effect on July 24,
although they are subject to review by Peru's Congress for a
period of two weeks. Among them is the non-penal asset
forfeiture law that should prove to be a potent new weapon to
combat money laundering and organized crime. NAS and the UN
Office on Drugs and Crime joined forces with Peru's Ministry
of Justice to develop this new legislation and to secure its
passage. The law authorizes the Peruvian government to seize
illegally earned assets if a defendant, after due judicial
process, cannot prove the legitimacy of the assets in
question. NAS will continue to work with the GOP to provide
training to prosecutors and other law enforcement authorities
who will implement the new asset forfeiture law.

17. (SBU) Significantly, the crime package modified an
existing statute to make impeding the eradication or
destruction of illicit drug crops, or the destruction of any
other assets used to make or transport illicit drugs, a crime
punishable by 6-12 years in prison. This law will strengthen
the hand of the government in dealing with cocaleros who
attempt to disrupt eradication of illicit coca.

--------------------------------------------- ---
DR PROGRAM HELPS YOUTH REACH OUT TO OTHER YOUTH
--------------------------------------------- ---
18. (U) NAS staff traveled to Trujillo to monitor a
demand-reduction program called "Family or Drugs, You Decide"
that is in its second year. CEDRO, the NGO running the
program, travels with a mobile exhibit to 7 coastal cities to
educate people about the danger of drugs. In each city,
CEDRO has trained a group of about 30 high-school students to
host a one-hour (or more) radio call-in show that discusses
drug abuse and other concerns of adolescents. CEDRO has
similar programs in communities near USAID's alternative
development programs. This highly effective youth outreach
program is being duplicated in the six community anti-drug
coalitions in Lima. NAS is planning to start a coalition in
one or more of the coastal cities in early 2008.
WUNDER

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