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Cablegate: Between Sendero and the Gop:

R 172125Z SEP 92
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1854
INFO AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
AMEMBASSY QUITO
AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
DIA WASHDC
USCINCSO QUARRY HEIGHTS PM
AMCONSUL HERMOSILLO

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 LIMA 12419


SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD

E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR
TAGS: PGOV PTER PHUM PE
SUBJECT: BETWEEN SENDERO AND THE GOP:
LIFE ON LIMA'S OUTER FRINGE

1. CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TE...

id: 537
date: 9/17/1992 21:25
refid: 92LIMA12419
origin: Embassy Lima
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination:
header:
R 172125Z SEP 92
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1854
INFO AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
AMEMBASSY QUITO
AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
DIA WASHDC
USCINCSO QUARRY HEIGHTS PM
AMCONSUL HERMOSILLO


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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 LIMA 12419


SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD

E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR
TAGS: PGOV PTER PHUM PE
SUBJECT: BETWEEN SENDERO AND THE GOP:
LIFE ON LIMA'S OUTER FRINGE

1. CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT.

2. SUMMARY: VILLA EL SALVADOR, A SHANTY TOWN
SUBURB OF LIMA, IS SYMBOLIC OF THE BATTLE
BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE SENDERO LUMINOSO
AND THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE LOYALTIES OF A
POVERTY-STRIKEN POPULATION. BECAUSE OF ITS
LIMITED PRESENCE AND RESOURCES, THE GOVERNMENT
HAS DIFFICULTY RESPONDING TO THE SENDERO'S
SELECTIVE CAMPAIGN OF TERRORISM OR THE
POPULATION'S EXPECTATIONS. END SUMMARY.

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SHINING EXAMPLE ON THE HILL: VILLA EL SALVADOR
--------------------------------------------- -

3. POLITICAL OFFICERS RECENTLY REVISITED VILLA
EL SALVADOR, LIMA'S MOST SYMBOLICALLY IMPORTANT
"PUEBLO JOVEN" (PJ - LITERALLY YOUNG TOWN). IT
IS A FAVORITE STOP ON THE POVERTY TOURISM ROUTE
IN PERU. ONE OF THE LARGEST AND OLDEST
"SPONTANEOUS" SETTLEMENTS THAT RING METROPOLITAN
LIMA, "VILLA" IS WIDELY CONSIDERED THE
PROTOTYPICAL SUCCESS STORY OF WHAT A SQUATTER
INVASION CAN BECOME THROUGH COMMUNITY
ORGANIZATION AND HARD WORK. VILLA LIES IN
LIMA'S SOUTHERN CONE AND IS HOME TO ABOUT THREE
HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND PERSONS. FOUNDED
TWENTY-ONE YEARS AGO, VILLA HAS GENERALLY MADE
THE TRANSITION FROM A SQUATTERS SHANTY TOWN TO A
POOR WORKING CLASS "BEDROOM COMMUNITY" WITH AN
AIR OF SETTLED PERMANENCE: MANY HOMES AND
BUSINESSES ARE MADE OF BRICK OR CEMENT BLOCK;
ACCORDING TO ONE ESTIMATE 90 PERCENT OF THE
TOWN'S HOMES HAVE TELEVISION; THE MAIN STREET
AND MANY SIDE STREETS ARE PAVED.

4. WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE DAILY STRUGGLE FOR
EXISTENCE LIVED BY MOST INHABITANTS OF LIMA'S
SHANTY TOWNS, RESIDENTS OF VILLA EL SALVADOR ARE
GENERALLY CONSIDERED TO BE WELL OFF. THE
COMMUNITY IS ORGANIZED BY SECTIONS, AND ELECTED
DELEGATES TO THE UMBRELLA VILLA EL SALVADOR
SELF-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION ("CUAVES") HAVE
FOUGHT HARD, AND WITH SOME SUCCESS, TO OBTAIN
ELECTRICITY, WATER, SEWAGE AND GARBAGE
COLLECTION FOR MANY PARTS OF VILLA. VILLA'S
HARD WORK AND SOLID ORGANIZATION (AND
CONSIDERABLE INTERNATIONAL LARGESSE) EARNED IT
AN OFFICIAL COMMUNITY CHARTER AND INTERNATIONAL
RECOGNITION IN THE FORM OF A "PRINCE OF
ASTURIAS" AWARD FROM SPAIN'S CROWN PRINCE
SEVERAL YEARS AGO.

5. HOWEVER, LIFE IN VILLA IS BY NO MEANS EASY.
VILLA RESIDENTS MUST PAY A MINIMUM OF 0.50 SOLES
(1.36 SOLES CURRENTLY EQUALS 1 U.S. DOLLAR) FOR
THE CHEAPEST BUS TRANSPORTATION TO LIMA.
PRINCIPAL WAGE EARNERS, WHO AVERAGE PERHAPS 10
SOLES A DAY IN EARNINGS, SPEND AT LEAST 10
PERCENT OF THAT ON TRANSPORTATION. THE RANKING
POLICE SERGEANT ON DUTY AT VILLA'S ONLY POLICE
STATION TOLD POLITICAL OFFICERS THAT ON HIS
OFFICIAL SALARY OF 7 SOLES A DAY HE MUST PROVIDE
SUPPORT FOR HIMSELF, HIS WIFE AND FOUR
CHILDREN. CLAIMING THAT HIS COLLEGE-AGE SON
NEEDED THE EQUIVALENT OF 3 SOLES A DAY TO ATTEND
THE UNIVERSITY, AND HIS PRINCIPAL LUNCHEON MEAL
MIGHT COST TWO SOLES, HE SHRUGGED WHEN HE ASKED
RHETORICALLY HOW HE WAS EXPECTED TO SUPPORT THE
REST OF HIS FAMILY ON THE REMAINDER OF HIS LEGAL
SALARY.

6. ACCORDING TO THE POLICE OFFICIAL,
ABSENTEEISM IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF VILLA EL
SALVADOR WAS RAMPANT BECAUSE FAMILIES IN THE
TOWN WERE REQUIRED TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN OUT TO
WORK AT AN EARLY AGE RATHER THAN TO SCHOOL. IN
ANY EVENT, THE POLICE SERGEANT DISMISSED MOST OF
THE TEACHERS IN THE LOCAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS AS
UNDER-QUALIFIED AND UNDER-MOTIVATED OUTSIDERS.
MEDICAL FACILITIES ARE EQUALLY LIMITED.
RESIDENTS DEPRECATED THE QUALITY OF MEDICAL CARE
AVAILABLE TO THEM, NOTING THAT THE NEAREST
HOSPITAL WAS NOT ONLY DISTANT, BUT NOT EVEN
FULLY FUNCTIONING.

7. WITH UNCERTAINTY OVER THE VALUE OF THE
NATIONAL CURRENCY, THE DOLLAR HAS BECOME THE
PREFERRED MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE FOR TRANSACTIONS IN
VILLA EL SALVADOR. CITY OFFICIALS ESTIMATED
THAT BUSINESSES OR HOUSES ON THE TOWN'S MAIN
STREET SOLD FOR 4,000-5,000 DOLLARS, WITH PRIME
CORNER LOCATIONS GOING FOR AS MUCH AS
TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. ALL TRANSACTIONS
ARE IN DOLLARS. ABOUT 60 PERCENT OF PERU'S
MONEY SUPPLY IS IN DOLLARS.

PROBLEMS IN CAMELOT: SENDERO WITHIN THE GATES
---------------------------------------------

8. SENDERO LUMINOSO IS TRYING TO TAKE OVER THE
TOWN'S GOVERNMENT. THREE FACTORS SUPPOSEDLY
MADE THE TOWN IMPENETRABLE TO THE SENDERO
TERRORISTS: THE LEADERSHIP'S CLOSE TIES TO THE
POPULATION, THEIR LINKS WITH TRADITIONAL PARTIES
OF THE LEFT, THE TOWN'S COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONAL
STRUCTURE, AND ITS LEVEL OF ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT. FOREIGN AID TO VILLA EL SALVADOR,
AS A "MODEL SLUM," WAS ALSO HELPFUL.

9. HOWEVER, VILLA'S REPUTATION AS A REDOUBT
AGAINST SENDERO WAS LITERALLY EXPLODED WITH THE
ASSASSINATION OF VICE-MAYOR MARIA ELENA MOYANO
ON FEBRUARY 15. NEXT, VILLA'S CITY HALL AND
POLICE STATION WERE ALMOST COMPLETELY DESTROYED
BY A SENDERO LUMINOSO CAR BOMB ON APRIL 8,
1992. ALSO DAMAGED IN THE ATTACK WERE NEARBY
BUILDINGS INCLUDING A COMPLEX HOUSING A SCHOOL
AND VILLA'S COMMUNITY RADIO AND TELEVISION
STATION. IN ADDITION, IN 1992 AN SL-ASSOCIATED
SLATE ALSO LEGITIMATELY WON AN ELECTION IN THE
MICRO-INDUSTRIAL PARK TO REPRESENT THE PARK IN
VILLA'S GOVERNMENT. PERUVIAN SENDERO EXPERT
CARLOS TAPIA SUBSEQUENTLY DESCRIBED VILLA EL
SALVADOR AS A SHINY APPLE THAT CUT OPEN REVEALED
ITSELF TO HAVE BEEN INFESTED WITH SENDERO WORMS.

POLICE RARELY VENTURE INTO THE CITY
-----------------------------------

10. POLITICAL OFFICERS VISITED THE SHELL OF THE
STILL FUNCTIONING POLICE STATION. THERE ARE
SOME 70 POLICEMEN WORKING IN THREE SHIFTS FOR
THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY. ACCORDING TO THE SENIOR
POLICE SERGEANT INTERVIEWED, POLICE ONLY VENTURE
OUT OF THE STATION IN PAIRS, HAVE NO VEHICLES
(THEIR PATROL CARS WERE DESTROYED BY THE CAR
BOMB), AND HAVE NO TELEPHONE. THE POLICE
OFFICIAL REPORTED THAT IT COULD TAKE UP TO AN
HOUR FOR ANY REINFORCEMENTS TO ARRIVE ONCE THEY
HAD BEEN REQUESTED USING THE ONE RADIO LINK
AVAILABLE AT THE STATION. SINCE AT LEAST A
DOZEN POLICE GUARD THE MUNICIPAL CENTER AT ALL
TIMES, AT BEST ONE OR TWO PATROLS ARE AVAILABLE
FOR RESPONDING ON FOOT TO ASSISTANCE CALLS FROM
THE COMMUNITY AT ANY GIVEN TIME. ALTHOUGH THERE
ARE SCHOOLS WITHIN SIGHT OF THE POLICE
HEADQUARTERS, THE OFFICIAL INDICATED THAT NO
COMMUNITY OUTREACH TO STUDENTS WAS ACTIVE OR
CONTEMPLATED.

11. THE POLICE IN VILLA EL SALVADOR HAVE LITTLE
EXPECTATION OF REINFORCEMENTS FROM LIMA IN THE
EVENT OF TROUBLE, AND AT LEAST ONE POLICEMAN
ADMITTED TO A MODUS VIVENDI WITH SENDERO. THE
OFFICER TOLD POLOFFS THAT HE LIVED IN VILLA WITH
HIS FAMILY -- SENDERO KNEW HIM AND HE KNEW
THEM. HE EXPLAINED THAT WHILE HE OFTEN HAD
FRANK DISCUSSIONS WITH "THEM" ABOUT CURRENT
EVENTS, HE AVOIDED PHILOSOPHICAL DEBATES AND
SAID BOTH SIDES "KNEW HOW TO MANAGE THINGS"
BETWEEN THEM.

VILLA'S LEADERS STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL
-------------------------------------

12. MICHEL AZCUETA, FOR TWENTY YEARS THE MAYOR
OF VILLA EL SALVADOR, ESTIMATED THAT IN THE AREA
OF VILLA EL SALVADOR PROPER AND THE ADJOINING
SHANTY TOWN, THE SENDERO LUMINOSO HAS BEEN ABLE
TO ESTABLISH A MAJOR PRESENCE WITH PERHAPS 7-10
ACTIVIST MEMBERS AND APPROXIMATELY SEVENTY
ACTIVE SYMPATHIZERS IN THE COMMUNITY.

FUJIMORI REMAINS POPULAR
------------------------

13. AZCUETA, WHO WAS ELECTED IN 1989 ON AN
OPPOSITION SLATE AS A LIMA CITY COUNCILMAN,
ACKNOWLEDGED PERUVIAN PRESIDENT FUJIMORI
RETAINED HIS POPULARITY WITH THE RESIDENTS OF
THIS OUTLYING COMMUNITY. FUJIMORI'S PRINCIPAL
APPEAL, IN AZCUETA'S VIEW, WAS HIS CAREFULLY
CULTIVATED IMAGE AS A "NON-POLITICIAN." THE
INHABITANTS OF HIS TOWN, REMARKED AZCUETA, WERE
FED UP WITH POLITICIANS AND TRADITIONAL POLITICS
SINCE THE COUNTRY'S POLITICAL STRUCTURES AND
PROCESSES HAD PRODUCED LITTLE IN THE WAY OF
CONCRETE BENEFITS FOR THEM.

UPCOMING CONSTITUTIONAL AND MAYORAL ELECTIONS
--------------------------------------------- -

14. AZCUETA DEMURRED WHEN ASKED IF HE PLANNED
TO BE A CANDIDATE IN THE UPCOMING CONSTITUTIONAL
ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS. HE WAS UNCERTAIN WHO MIGHT
RUN, NOTING THAT A LIKELY TACTIC OF THE SENDERO
LUMINOSO GUERRILLAS WOULD BE TO ENGAGE IN
INDIVIDUAL ACTS OF VIOLENCE AND ASSASSINATION
AGAINST LOCAL CANDIDATES IN OUTLYING AREAS WHILE
USING CAR BOMBINGS IN LIMA FOR THEIR PROPAGANDA
VALUE. ATTACKS AGAINST INDIVIDUALS, IN ADDITION
TO DEMONSTRATING THE GOVERNMENT'S INABILITY TO
PROVIDE LOCAL CANDIDATES AND OFFICIALS WITH
PROTECTION WOULD HAVE SEVERAL EFFECTS, IN
AZCUETA'S VIEW. IN ADDITION TO ADVANCING THE
SENDERO STRATEGY OF SHOWING THE GOVERNMENT
IMPOTENCE, RANDOM ASSASSINATIONS WOULD LIKELY
DETER THE BEST CANDIDATES FROM SEEKING OFFICE.
THE RESULT, IN AZCUETA'S VIEW, WOULD BE
SECOND-BEST OR MEDIOCRE CANDIDATES TAKING THEIR
PLACE. SUCH A GROUP OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS UNABLE
TO RESOLVE PERU'S PROBLEMS, OR EXACERBATE THEM,
WOULD FIT INTO THE SENDERO'S STRATEGY, CONCLUDED
AZCUETA.

15. COMMENT: VILLA EL SALVADOR ILLUSTRATES THE
GOVERNMENT'S DIFFICULTIES IN FIGHTING SENDERO
LUMINOSO. THE RELATIVE PROSPERITY THAT BRINGS
TELEVISION ALSO BRINGS THE RISING EXPECTATIONS
OF GOOD LIFE OF THE "TELENOVELAS" DEPICTED ON
THE SOAP OPERAS AND DEMANDS FOR SERVICES THE
GOVERNMENT CANNOT PROVIDE.

16. THE PERUVIAN GOVERNMENT HAS ONLY A LIMITED
PRESENCE IN A TOWN WHICH IS PART OF THE
CAPITAL'S METROPOLITAN AREA, PERHAPS 45 MINUTES
FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE. WHAT CONTACT THE
AVERAGE RESIDENT OF VILLA EL SALVADOR HAS WITH
THE GOVERNMENT IS LIKELY TO BE NEGATIVE, I.E.,
THE TAX COLLECTOR COLLECTING MONEY OR THE
POLICEMAN DEMANDING A BRIBE. SENDERO IS
CAPITALIZING ON THE GOVERNMENT'S LIMITED
PRESENCE BY PICKING AND CHOOSING TARGETS OF
OPPORTUNITY TO FURTHER ISOLATE THE GOVERNMENT
FROM THE PEOPLE. AT THE SAME TIME, THE
SELF-HELP AND LOCAL INITIATIVE OF THE RESIDENTS
OF VILLA EL SALVADOR SHOW WHAT CAN BE DONE
WITHOUT, OR DESPITE, THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT.
SENDERO IN VILLA EL SALVADOR IS FIGHTING TWO
ENEMIES: LOCAL LEADERS AND THE GOVERNMENT.
SENDERO HAS MADE CONSIDERABLE HEADWAY IN RECENT
YEARS.

17. EVEN THOUGH THE ARREST OF SENDERO LUMINOSO
FOUNDER AND LEADER ABIMAEL GUZMAN ON SEPTEMBER
12 MAY TEMPORARILY DISRUPT THE ORGANIZATION'S
OPERATIONS, THE STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS--POVERTY,
ECONOMIC STAGNATION, RACISM, UNRESPONSIVE
GOVERNMENT--UPON WHICH IT HAS FED REMAIN. AND
EVEN IF VILLA EL SALVADOR TURNS THE CORNER, TE
NEXT WAVE OF POTENTIAL SYMPATHIZERS, NOW SITTING
ON THE SAND HILLS ABOVE THE TOWN IN CARDBOARD
HOUSES, WILL ALREADY BE DEMANDING ITS SHARE OF
THE ECONOMIC PIE.


QUAINTON##

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

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