Arts & Entertainment

US Declassified documents denounce Peruvian government’s counterinsurgency strategies

Washington, Aug 29 (EFE) – The US National Security Archive, an independent organization founded in 1985 by journalists and academics, released 22 declassified documents on Monday detailing the Peruvian government’s counterinsurgency strategies.

The files come 20 years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) released its findings on the Peruvian conflict.

The documents that reflect state efforts to protect members of the Peruvian security forces responsible for human rights abuses, were posted on the archive’s website.

In a file dated October 3, 1984, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research mentions that “the military, unable to eradicate Sendero Luminoso, now complains of unnecessary constitutional restrictions on its operations.”

Then adds “the armed forces appear unable to win militarily and may be tempted to try to physically destroy Sendero Luminoso by eliminating anyone suspected of being a member or sympathizer.”

Peru’s bloody internal armed conflict (1980-2000) was a struggle between state forces, the Maoist Shining Path group, and the Marxist Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) that resulted in approximately 69,000 deaths.

However, in the first declassified documents by the National Security Archive, dated May 3, 1981, the CIA minimized the incidents and believed that the violence would not escalate to the intensity of the mid-1960s.

Just over a year later, on September 13, 1982, the agency correctly predicted that a military coup against Belaúnde was unlikely, but continued to underestimate Sendero Luminoso when it stressed that it would surely be “destroyed” in a confrontation with the army.

In Contrast the 1984 State Department document, Peru was in a political stalemate and predicted military-civilian tensions for the 1985 elections.

“Sendero Luminoso is ruthless and not open to dialogue, and considers the entire Peruvian political system – democratic or not – bankrupt (…). The military is pushing for an all-out war against the guerrillas, free from the constraints of the constitutional order. The liberals call for alleviating the causes of subversion through extensive economic development, which Peru cannot afford in its current financial situation”.

Human rights violations became evident in the late 80s and 90s documents.

The May 24, 1988 declassified document shows that Armando Villanueva del Campo, then president of the Council of Ministers in the first government of Alan García (1985-1990), stated that he “did not care if the military executed every Shining Path guerrilla it captured,” as long as it was done “discreetly.

Villanueva also told officers that any attempt to investigate the massacre of at least 33 peasants in the Cayara district of Ayacucho, controlled by the Shining Path, “would be immediately defeated.

The file dated April 29, 1994, points out, using data from the United States Southern Command, that anti-terrorist operation Aries ended with numerous civilian casualties, when the troops killed and raped the inhabitants of the towns near the city of Tingo Maria.

The NGO adds that the Peruvian executive’s reluctance to “discipline” officials caused diplomatic problems with Washington, and pointed out that although the worst human rights violations occurred at the beginning of the Alberto Fujimori regime (1990-2000), some continued afterwards in regions with strong insurgent activity.

“Unfortunately, the current political crisis in Peru shows that the problems and legacies of Peru’s violent past are still very much present today,” the Archive publication concludes. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button