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Cablegate: Peru: 2009 Country Reports On Terrorism

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #1723/01 3572153
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 232153Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0351
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHGE/AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS LIMA 001723

SIPDIS
S/CT: RHONDA SHORE AND NCTC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC PE
SUBJECT: Peru: 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism

REF: STATE 109980; STATE 122733

Peru

1. (U) Peru's primary counterterrorism concern remained fighting
remnants of the militant Maoist Sendero Luminoso (SL or Shining
Path), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization that wreaked
havoc on the country in the 1980s and 1990s at a cost of more than
69,000 lives. SL elements in the Upper Huallaga River Valley (UHV)
sought to regroup and replenish their ranks following significant
setbacks suffered in 2007 and 2008. Separately, the rival SL
organization in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE) maintained
its influence in the area. Both factions continued to engage in
drug trafficking, and during the year carried out more than 100
terrorist acts in remote coca-growing areas and surrounding areas
that killed at least 3 police, 26 civilians (mostly individuals
perceived by SL in the UHV as police informants or collaborators),
and 19 members of the military.

2. (U) Although the Fujimori government nearly eliminated SL in
the 1990s, the organization, now entwined with narcotics
trafficking, remained a threat in 2009. The two SL organizations
combined were thought to number several hundred armed combatants.
While today's SL is shorter on revolutionary zeal than in the past,
analysts believed leaders in both the UHV and the VRAE continued to
use Maoist philosophy to justify their illicit activities.
Involvement in drug production and trafficking provided SL with
funding to conduct operations, allowing it to improve relations
with local communities in remote areas and to recruit new members.
While SL in the UHV worked during the year to recuperate from
losses suffered in 2007 and 2008, insufficient government presence
in the more remote VRAE allowed the organization there to continue
operating:

* On April 9, SL terrorists ambushed two military patrols
in the Vizcatan region of the VRAE (Ayacucho department) and killed
13 soldiers. SL launched the ambush by remotely detonating an
improvised explosive device (IED), causing a rockslide, which
crushed some soldiers. The SL column then attacked the survivors
with gunfire and grenades.

* On August 1, a group of about 40 SL terrorists attacked a
police station in San Jose de Secce, in the highlands of Ayacucho,
outside the VRAE, killing three police and two civilians. Official
reports indicated a highly coordinated attack with explosives and
military grade weaponry.

* On September 2, SL forces downed a Peruvian air force
MI-17 helicopter near the town of Sinaycocha in Junin department,
killing its pilot, co-pilot, and one crewman. (In various other
attacks in 2009 SL had damaged helicopters with ground fire, but
this was the first instance of a downed helicopter since 1999.)

* On November 5, one soldier was killed and four others
wounded when SL terrorists attacked a provisional military base
located near where the Vizcatan and Mantaro rivers meet.

3. (U) The Army's 2008 offensive in the Vizcatan region, called
"Operation Excellence 777," continued haltingly in 2009, with the
military maintaining a number of small provisional "bases"
established in the area. Confrontations in 2009 generally
consisted in SL elements attacking Peruvian armed forces patrols or
incoming supply helicopters, but in several cases SL attacked a
military base. Several of the significant attacks perpetrated by
the VRAE faction of the SL occurred in highland areas outside of
the VRAE. Some analysts believed the attacks marked SL's attempts

at expansion, while others said they were strictly aimed at
controlling drug and chemical routes.

4. (U) Implementation of the Garcia government's "Plan VRAE,"
which called for, among other things, 2,000 troops and 19
counterterrorism bases operated under a central command was still
evolving. In August, the Garcia administration named Fernan Valer
as the civilian head of Plan VRAE. Plans for new health,
education, and infrastructure investment in these isolated
communities where the state lacked presence were not fully
implemented, but authorities made some improvements to roadways and
rural electrification.

5. (U) Government efforts to improve interagency cooperation,
especially in intelligence, and to strengthen prosecutorial
capacity were somewhat successful. Police units specializing in
counterterrorism and counter-narcotics conducted some joint
operations with the Peruvian Army in the UHV. Police captured one
high-ranking SL terrorist in the UHV.

6. (U) President Garcia continued reauthorizing a 60-day state of
emergency in parts of four departments where SL operates,
suspending some civil liberties, and giving the armed forces
additional authority to maintain public order. There was no
movement on President Garcia's 2006 proposal calling for the death
penalty for those convicted of acts of terrorism, but in October
Congress passed a law removing parole and other benefits for
convicted terrorists.

7. (U) The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) has not
conducted terrorist activities since the 1996 hostage taking at the
Japanese Ambassador's residence in Lima. Efforts to reconstitute
an organizational structure were not in evidence in 2009, though
former MRTA members established a political party called the Free
Fatherland Party ("Partido Patria Libre") to compete in future
elections, and sought alliances with other political parties.

8. (U) SL founder and leader Abimael Guzman and key accomplices
remained in prison serving life sentences on charges stemming from
crimes committed during the 1980s and 1990s. In September,
Guzman's attorney published a book of Guzman's handwritten
manuscripts as compiled by Guzman's common-law wife, Elena
Iparraguirre, who is also incarcerated for terrorism charges.

9. (U) The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
continued to use remote areas along the Colombian-Peruvian border
to rest, regroup, and make arms purchases. Experts believed the
FARC continued to fund coca cultivation and cocaine production
among the Peruvian population in border areas.

10. (U) There is no known presence in Peru of Middle Eastern,
South Asian, or other extra-regional terrorist groups.

11. (U) Embassy Lima POC is Jessica Huaracayo,
huaracayojm@state.gov, +511-618-2514.
MCKINLEY

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