from Weekly News Update on the Americas

On Dec. 20, a group of about 20 guerrillas from the Maoist Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) rebel group ambushed a police contingent and killed eight agents in Aucayacu, Leoncio Prado province, in the central Peruvian region of Huanuco. On Dec. 5, alleged Sendero rebels ambushed two police vehicles farther south in the Apurimac river valley, killing five police agents and wounding a police agent and a prosecutor.

President Alejandro Toledo responded to the attacks on Dec. 21 by decreeing a 60-day state of emergency in the jungle provinces of Maranon, Huacaybamba, Leoncio Prado and Huamalies in Huanuco region, Tocache in San Martin region and Padre Abad in Ucayali region. The decree, which took effect on Dec. 23, allows the armed forces to take control of the provinces and suspends certain constitutional rights, including freedom from unwarranted searches and the rights to free assembly and travel. (Resumen Latinoamericano, Dec. 27; Miami Herald, Dec. 23; El Nuevo Herald, Dec. 24, 25; AP, Dec. 23)

Toledo accuses Sendero of links to drug traffickers; in November the government inaugurated a police anti-drug base, funded with aid from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in Palmapampa, in the Apurimac valley. (ENH, Dec. 31)

In a communique published in the Huancayo daily Correo on Dec. 23, Sendero Luminoso took credit for the two recent attacks and announced its rejection of the upcoming April 9 presidential elections, which it called “the electoral circus.” The communique, signed by “Comrade Netzel” of the “Center-Mantaro Base of Sendero Luminoso,” calls for a “people’s war” against the country’s “alleged democracy,” and urged Peruvians to boycott the elections by abstaining. The communique included criticism of various politicians, including brothers Antauro and Ollanta Humala Tasso, whom Sendero called “pseudo-revolutionaries and fascists.” (Resumen Latinoamericano, Dec. 27; ENH, Dec. 24; La Cronica de Hoy, Mexico, Dec. 24; Terra Peru, Dec. 23)

The Humala brothers led an insurrection in 2000 against the government of then-president Alberto Fujimori, who has been detained in Chile since last Nov. 6 and is facing extradition to Peru. On Dec. 30 Ollanta Humala, a former lieutenant colonel, registered his presidential candidacy for the Nationalist Party Uniting Peru. (ENH, Dec. 31) Humala’s nationalist and pro-indigenous rhetoric appears to have propelled him into first place in the electoral race. On Dec. 26, a survey by the polling firm Idice showed Humala leading with 21.7% of voter intentions against 21.2% for traditional right-wing candidate Lourdes Flores Nano of the National Unity party. The poll showed ex-presidents Alan Garcia and Valentin Paniagua in third and fourth place with 19.8% and 16.7% respectively. Idice warned that Flores would likely lose a runoff against Humala. A poll released Dec. 28 by the international firm Datum showed Flores Nano ahead with 25% to Humala’s 23%, but even Datum acknowledged that support for Flores has stagnated while support for Humala “is growing daily.” (ENH, Dec. 29)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 1


Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #117


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Feb. 1, 2006
Reprinting permissible with attribution