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Cablegate: Secretary Rumsfeld's Visit to Peru: Scenesetter

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 LIMA 003429

SIPDIS

DOD FOR SECRETARY RUMSFELD FROM AMBASSADOR STRUBLE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/03/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON ETRD MARR PE
SUBJECT: SECRETARY RUMSFELD'S VISIT TO PERU: SCENESETTER

Classified By: Ambassador Curtis Struble for Reason 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) Mr. Secretary, both my country team and the Peruvian
Government are delighted that you are able to visit Peru.
Within hours of learning that you would be stopping in Lima,
President Toledo called me to say how important your visit is
to him. The President has recently become concerned about
the erosion of his security capabilities. He recognizes that
Peruvian and U.S. national security interests in South
America are closely aligned, and that his military needs both
our example (a capable security force subject to strict
control by elected governments) and our help.

2. (C) The Peruvian military is a troubled institution that,
to borrow a clich, won a war but lost the peace. In the
early 1990s, the military played a role at least equal to
that of the police in defeating the Sendero Luminoso
terrorist group -- a conflict that cost an estimated 60,000
lives. On the heels of that victory, however, the top
military leadership engaged in an orgy of corruption as the
Armed Forces "updated" their weapons systems. The most
controversial procurement was the purchase of clapped-out and
overpriced MIG-29 and SU-27 aircraft from Belarus. The
military also lost public support over its alliance with
Fujimori,s scheming and manipulative intelligence chief,
Vladimiro Montesinos, and was further marginalized by
allegations of human rights abuses during the struggle
against terrorism. After President Fujimori resigned in
October 2000 to be replaced by an opposition-led interim
government, over 30 flag-rank officers were indicted for
corruption or abuse of power.

3. (C) These scandals made the Toledo Administration
determined to clip the Armed Forces, wings. During his
first three years in office, President Toledo viewed his
military largely from a political rather than security
perspective. He reapportioned some 25 percent of the
military budget to social spending, purged senior officers
who had been overly intimate with the discredited Fujimori
regime, and ended the unpopular draft. Last January,s armed
uprising in provincial Andahuaylas by "Ethnocaceristas" (a
small but violent and racist group that models itself on
Hitler,s brownshirts) brought home to the President that he
had sapped the military,s ability to defend the state. The
Army had to use the Presidential jet to get more troops on
the ground because all of its own transport aircraft were
inoperable.

4. (C) We estimate that 85 percent of the Armed Forces budget
in 2004 was spent on salaries, food and utilities. Training,
maintenance and readiness all have steeply eroded. Although
Defense Minister Chiabra believes in keeping the current
voluntary service, about 30 percent of Army billets are
unfilled because of the inability to pay competitive wages,
even though forces have been downsized by 25 percent from
2001 levels. Concern that things have gone too far led the
Toledo Administration last year to establish a special
defense fund financed by state mining and hydrocarbon
royalties. This will effectively bump up the military budget
by about four percent, but the real importance to the
services is that it provides an alternative to having
virtually no maintenance and acquisition funds.

5. (C) The Armed Forces have made some steps towards reform.
Enhanced civilian control is reflected in the Congress's work
on updating mission priorities, i.e., conflict scenarios,
deployment of forces, national defense interests, dealing
with contraband, and pacification of social conflicts.
Additional legislation is needed to promote standardization,
civilian hiring, and in an area key to U.S. interests, the
capability to interact effectively on programming with
foreign military services. The Defense Ministry published a
"White Book" on national security this year, which although
criticized by some as mainly a collection of statistics, does
provide a context for defining Peru's future military needs.
Another encouraging, outward-looking trend is Peru's
deployment of troops for Haiti peacekeeping, its first
participation in a PKO in 30 years.

6. (C) Overall, our military relationship with Peru is better
than at any time over the last four decades. The Velasco
dictatorship,s decision in the 60's to buy Soviet created
problems that have consequences to this day: adherence to
outdated Soviet doctrine; atrophying of the logistics,
training and exchange relationships with the U.S.; an
antiquated and unreliable stock of Soviet equipment. The
situation is now ripe, however, for a new and strong
relationship with U.S. Both the Peruvian Armed Forces and
Toledo Administration share our view of threats to the
region, particularly narco-terrorist ties in Colombia and
within Peru. GOP cooperation with the GOC is the best in the
region -- Peru has deployed patrol and support units along
the Putumayo River, and cooperates closely with the
Colombians on operations. Peruvians are convinced that they
have a stake in President Uribe,s successful campaign
against the FARC. The President and the Defense Minister
have called for more regional cooperation against drugs and
terrorism and are concerned as well that the rump armed
Sendero Luminoso faction (some 250-500 combatants) may be
rebuilding.

7. (C) We have moved in recent years toward relations with
Peru built on a broad communality of interests. We are close
to signing an agreement for enhancing Peru's counterdrug
participation through the Cooperating Nation Information
Exchange System (CNIES). Despite Article 98 restrictions, we
have cooperation programs that include 1033 assistance,
provision of C-26 aircraft for counterdrug missions, and navy
sub participation in USG training exercises. We also expect
to carry out a New Horizons civic/humanitarian exercise
(NH-06) here next year with extensive GOP involvement.
Completing NH-06 will constitute an important turn-around. A
New Horizons exercise was spiked here in 2002 due to
allegations by a left-leaning Congressman (spun up wildly in
the media) that we were attempting to establish a military
base in the coca zone. When these charges were further
complicated by the failure of the then-Foreign Minister to
defend the exercise (despite prior consultations), we were
forced to stand down. NH-06 is being planned in a coastal
department governed by a leftist leader who is friendly both
to the U.S and to our military, and who is highly respected
by the local populace. Both he and we have carried out
extensive preparations and outreach designed to ensure that
NH-06 will be a winner.

8. (C) Even with these advances, Peru's failure to enter into
an Article 98 agreement has restricted our engagement on
defense issues. We are discussing with the Foreign Ministry
proposals aimed at providing the protections we require
through an exchange of diplomatic notes that would "develop"
provisions that already exist in our 1952 Bilateral Military
Assistance Agreement. This would avoid the necessity of
submitting a separate Article 98 agreement to the Peruvian
Congress, where passage would be difficult at best. This
approach has given us some negotiating momentum, but we ask
your help in stressing the importance of an Article 98
agreement in contacts with President Toledo.

9. (C) Your trip gives us a chance to highlight and build on
our politico-military agenda here. We expect Toledo and
Defense Minister Chiabra to tell you of their concerns over
the narco-terrorist link. In describing Peru,s cooperation
with Colombia, they likely will lament that in their view the
GOP does not receive the USG recognition and aid this merits.
They are liable to express interest in continuing and/or
expanding the PKO in Haiti. In addition to any global issues
you may wish to raise, we suggest you address the following
points in your meetings here:

For President Toledo:

-- Congratulations on the legacy you are leaving Peru of
responsible economic management, growth, and reform.

-- GOP defense of democracy and its stand against
transnational crime and terrorism show strong and
forward-looking leadership. A good example is Peruvian
insistence, during its mediation of Colombia-Venezuela crisis
following the capture of FARC "Foreign Minister" Granda, that
the GOV recognize its obligations to fight terrorism.

-- The GOP has understood better than anyone else in the
region that the FARC, ELN, and paramilitaries in Colombia are
a threat to the region and not just to Colombia; Peruvian
cooperation with the GOC is the best in South America.

-- Western Hemisphere security is not threatened by
neighboring countries but by criminals and terrorists who
exploit weakness of government institutions or the vacuum of
authority in ungoverned spaces.

-- We have increased our assistance and cooperative programs
during your Presidency to deal with these threats. The lack
of an Article 98 agreement has been an impediment. We are
making headway towards a solution and urge more effort, but
we are seizing opportunities for cooperation where they exist.

-- Congratulations on the performance of Peruvian forces in
the Haiti PKO.


For Defense Minister Chiabra:

-- Congratulations on the performance of Peruvian forces in
the Haiti PKO. I understand reimbursements from the UN have
been slow. We are willing to use USG good offices with UN.

-- We are impressed by level of your cooperation with
Colombia. Peru "gets-it" -- understand that the FARC, ELN
and paramilitaries are a threat to the region, not just to
the GOC.

-- (Assuming CNIES signed) Congratulations on CNIES and
integration into the regional air information exchange
network. We are prepared to send an assessment team to work
on identifying priorities for bilateral investments in
improving control of air space.

-- We are making headway in talks with the Foreign Ministry
regarding International Criminal Court jurisdiction. It
would be useful for you to let Foreign Ministry know how
important this issue is for mil-mil cooperation.

-- I understand you are concerned about signs that Sendero
Luminoso is rebuilding. What is your assessment? How will
you counter this?
STRUBLE

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