On March 5, a special intelligence unit of Peru’s National Police announced the arrest of Walter Díaz Vega AKA “Freddy” or “Percy”—said to be the successor of the Shining Path leader “Comrade Artemio,” himself captured weeks earlier. Comrade Freddy was apprehended in the hamlet of Alto Alianza, José Crespo y Castillo district, Leoncio Prado province, Huánuco region. The hamlet is in the Magdalena Valley, an arm of the Upper Huallaga Valley, one of two zones of the country where a state of emergency remains in effect due to Shining Path activity. Comrade Freddy, apparently betrayed by infiltrators, was transfered to the National Anti-Terrorism Directorate (DIRCOTE) in Lima for interrogation. The National Police hailed the arrest as a “mortal blow” against the Shining Path.
The campaign against the Shining Path remnant in the Upper Huallaga, optimiostically dubbed Operation Crepúsculo (Sunset), is being jointly led by two elite National Police units, the National Anti-Drug Directorate (DIRANDRO) and the Special Investigations Division (DIVINESP). Crepúsculo leaders said Comrade Freddy was preparing a campaign of “selective assassinations” against those who had assisted authorities in the apprehension of Artemio. Police now say they are hunting down a third figure in the line of succession, Daniel Arturo Atencia Beaún—supposedly named by another guerilla leader captured along with Artemio, Teófilo Huarauya AKA “Comrade Cubillas” or “Lander” who is evidently now cooperating with authorities. Other top figures in the Shining Path column were identified with the code-names of “Eder” and “Piculín.” (La Republica, Peru21, March 6; Andina, March 5, RPP, Feb. 13)
But lawmaker Jorge Rimarachín stirred controversy when he said that President Ollanta Humala was using the capture of Artemio as a “smokescreen” (cortina de humo) to distract the public from Peru’s social conflicts. He was subsequently expelled from Humala’s Nationalist Party and ruling Gana Peru coalition. (La Republica, March 9)
See our last post on Peru.
Another Senderista reported captured
In what was described by the daily La Republica without further detail as a “routine patrol,” police in Lima on March 15 reportedly captured long-wanted Sendero Luminoso car-bomb technician Freddy Alberto Pacheco Flores—said to have been behind the July 17, 1992 blast on Tarata Street in upscale Miraflores district that left 20 dead and some 40 wounded. (La Republica, March 16; RPP, March 15)
And another Senderista reported captured
Police in Ecuador on March 20 announced the arrest of accused ex-Shining Path guerilla Gelacio Luis Alberto Vieira Terranova, who had been living under an assumed identity in El Oro province near the Peruvian border. He faces charges related to a 1988 attack on police units in Tumbes, the province of Peru on the other side of the border. (Crónica Viva, Peru, March 21; AP, March 20)
Chairman Gonzalo to profit from eviction of peasants?
According to a March 18 report in Lima’s La Republica, some 40 campesinos face possible eviction from lands in Huanta province, Ayacucho region, following a legal complaint for recovery of the lands filed by the family of Augusta La Torre, late spouse of imprisoned Shining Path leader Abimael Guzmán AKA “Chairman Gonzalo.” The lands formerly belonged to a private seed company owned by La Torre’s family, Fundo Iribamba; they were expropriated during the agrarian reform in 1976 and titled to local campesinos. The family has been petitioning for return of the lands since 1995, after the Fujimori regime established mechanisms for challenging expropriations in the Agriculture Ministry. In this case, the Ministry seems reluctant to reverse the expropriation. Agriculture Secretary Eduardo Garibotto warned that as widower of La Torre (who was a member of Sendero’s Central Committee), Guzmán could receive part of the lands in question if the petition is upheld.