US military bases for Peru?
Peruvian Defense Minister Rafael Rey Sept. 1 denied reports that he is seeking US military bases in the country, saying his words had been distorted. Rey caused a media splash when he spoke to RPP radio news earlier that day in defense of US plans for military bases in Colombia, saying that they did not pose a threat to the region, and adding: "In Peru, the collaboration with the North Americans against narco-trafficking is very positive, and unfortunately we cannot count on North American aid for the anti-subversive struggle, which is now mixed with the narco-traffic in the zone of the VRAE." (RPP, Sept 1)
The VRAE—for the Apurímac and Ene River Valley—is a coca-growing region on the eastern edge of the Andes which has seen a recent resurgence of Shining Path guerilla activity. Vice President Luis Giampietri called upon Peru's Congress Sept. 3 to officially declare the VRAE a "combat zone." (Notimex, Sept. 3)
See our last post on Peru and the VRAE.