Friday, April 27, 2012



Note: as often mentioned, using drug trade to achieve agenda. How
closely linked are Chavez, Castro, Ortega, Morales, Putin, FARC, Los
Zetas, et al? Also remember that FARC has/had a degree of sanctuary
in Peru and Venezuela.

Shining Path on new road as drug smugglers
By Kelly Hearn - Special to The Washington Times Wednesday, April 25,

IQUITOS, Peru — A rebel army that struck fear in Peru in the 1980s
has dropped its Maoist ideology and evolved into a multimillion-
dollar, cocaine-smuggling gang with suspected ties to Mexican drug

The Peruvian government, which thought it had defeated the Shinning
Path guerrillas, recently reopened an intense military campaign after
the rebels, who once styled themselves the "army of the people,"
kidnapped employees of a natural-gas company.

"This group should not be called the Shining Path," said Jaime
Antezana, a prominent Peruvian terrorism expert.

"This is a family clan that is driven by money. … It is purely a
trafficking operation that we believe has ties to Mexican cartels."

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala in early April prematurely declared
the Shining Path "totally defeated," after the arrest of two of the
group's remaining leaders in a rainforest in north-central Peru known
as the Upper Huallaga Valley.

But on April 9, in a southeastern jungle area, busloads of heavily
armed fighters belonging to a faction lead by Martin Quispe, known as
"Comrade Gabriel," took 40 natural-gas workers hostage.

The daring attack prompted a mobilization of 1,500 government agents
in U.S.-owned helicopters. The hostages were freed, but six security
agents were killed.

Mr. Quispe appeared for the first time on television, ridiculing Mr.
Humala and claiming that his guerrilla faction is now operating under
a new name, the "Militarized Communist Party of Peru."

Gen. General Jose Saturnino Cespedes of the Peruvian National Police
told The Washington Times that Mr. Quispe's group "has no ideological

"They are purely a drug-trafficking organizing," he said.

On Friday, Peru's top military officials declared a major offensive
to hunt down Mr. Quispe and his band of fighters.

His organization controls cocaine-growing operations in the Ene and
Apurimac River Valleys, a thickly forested, lawless region of
serpentine valleys in the country's south-eastern Amazon.

A U.S. official speaking on background said the group primarily buys
drugs from small-scale farmers in the region and smuggles the cocaine
to international trafficking organizations.

"They don't typically operate in a top-down, corporate-like
structure, as the Mexican cartels do," he said.

The Peruvian government suspects the Mexican cartels maintain a
shadowy presence in shipping ports along the country's southern
Pacific Coast.

There are other indications that the Mexican cartels are moving into
Peru, which the U.S. government says has surpassed Colombia in
cocaine producing potential.

In January, Peru's public prosecutor, Jose Pelaez, asked the foreign
ministry to reinstate the requirement that Mexicans traveling to Peru
obtain visas as a way to curb drug smuggling. Between 2010 and 2011,
Peruvian authorities arrested 98 Mexican citizens with suspected ties
to cartels.

Vanda Felbab-Brown, a counter-narcotics analyst at the Brookings
Institution in Washington, said in an email that Mexican drug-
trafficking organizations increasingly appear to be operating in
Peru, mostly by arranging shipments.

"Their presence does not seem to rise to the level of their actually
directing production or cultivation," she said. "More often, they
operate via local Peruvian drug enterprises."

She warned that "an increased presence of Mexican organizations could
provoke greater criminal violence in Peru."

Last year, a Peruvian prosecutor, Luis Arellano Martinez, claimed
that the Mexican Sinaloa cartel has two armed gangs operating in
Peru. In legal papers, he claimed the criminal organization is
comprised of 40 and 60 people equipped with long-range weapons,
grenade launchers, hand grenades and satellite-communications

W. Alex Sanchez, a researcher for the Washington-based Council on
Hemispheric Affairs, said that Mexican cartels are a concern, but he
believes that Colombian rebels crossing the border and Brazilian drug
gangs pose more immediate threats to Peruvian security.

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