Peru: Colina death squad used techniques from SOA curriculum

Techniques that Peruvian military officers learned at the Georgia-based US Army School of the Americas were used in massacres carried out by the Colina Group paramilitary commando in the early 1990s, several former Colina members have confirmed at the trial of ex-president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000). Fujimori is accused of ordering or approving a number of human rights violations during his administration, including the deaths of 25 people at Barrios Altos in 1991 and at La Cantuta University in 1992 in operations by the Colina Group. The techniques said to come from SOA manuals and classes included the use of clandestine graves and lime to bury the victims. According to the newspaper La Primera, the military officers who organized Peru’s commandos and the counterinsurgent “dirty war” were trained at SOA, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). (Prensa Latina, Feb. 8)

On Feb. 11 former Operative Intelligence agent Pablo Atuncar Cama testified at Fujimori’s trial that the Colina Group had planned to kill then-Congress member Javier Diez Canseco in 1992. The group had followed him and his security detail; they decided to machine gun the center-left politician in his car as he was leaving Congress, but the operation was called off at the last minute, Atuncar said. (La Republica, Peru, Feb. 11)

Two former Peruvian military officers who attended arms orientation classes at SOA in 1981-1982, Telmo Ricardo Hurtado and Juan Rivera Rondon, are currently being sued in federal court in Miami for leading the units responsible for the death of 69 unarmed civilians living in the Andean highlands of Peru on Aug. 13, 1985. The plaintiffs, survivors of the massacre who lost relatives, are suing under the Alien Torts Statute; they are represented by the San Franciso-based Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA). (SOA Watch, Feb. 12)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 17

See our last post on Peru.