US to revise defense pact with Peru

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, meeting with President Ollanta Humala in Lima Oct. 6, secured an agreement to re-negotiate Washington’s 60-year-old defense cooperation pact with Peru. Panetta said updating the 1952 accord would “improve our ability to conduct joint activities, to do training and other exchanges. Ultimately that will help us deal with shared security challenges in the future.” On the eve of the visit, the Department of Defense issued a press release broadly outlining new measures called for in the 2012 Western Hemisphere Defense Policy Statement—including plans to invite Peru to participate in a US program of Ministry of Defense Advisers (MODA), currently being pioneered in Afghanistan. “If Peru accepts, MODA will embed a technical expert in the Ministry of Defense for up to two years,” the DoD statement said. “The expert will provide consistent technical advice on issues like budgeting, acquisition, procurement, planning and strategic planning.” (Reuters, Oct. 7; Peruvian Times, Oct. 6; DoD press release, Oct. 5)

On the same day the agreement was announced in Lima, Sendero Luminoso guerillas attacked an airstrip at Kiteni, in the lowland jungle of Cusco region, burning three private helicopters used by the consortium that runs the Camisea pipeline. The aircraft were used by the company Transportadora de Gas del Peru (TGP) to dispatch maintenance workers along the pipeline in the remote jungle zone. “This most recent incident, on top of causing the total suspension of maintenance activities in the conflict zone, makes it impossible for us to respond to any emergency situation or incident that could affect transport,” TGP said in a statement. “We trust that the state will provide the resources and take the steps necessary to reestablish security in the area,” it said. (Reuters, El Comercio, Oct. 6)

See our last post on hemispheric militarization.