HomeNewsBriefPeru Ministers Resign After Shining Path Fiasco
BRIEF

Peru Ministers Resign After Shining Path Fiasco

PERU / 11 MAY 2012 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

A resurgent Shining Path and a botched military operation have cost the Ministers of Defense and the Interior their jobs, as it becomes clear that the Peruvian government needs to revamp its strategy to deal with the potent mix of rebels and drug trafficking.

Defense Minister Alberto Otarola (pictured above) and Interior Minister Daniel Lozada presented their resignations, before Congress could demand them. Their resignations are not so much the result of the kidnapping of 36 gas pipeline workers by the Shining Path last month, but the military operation to free them. The workers were liberated by the rebels after what President Ollanta Humala initially described as an "impeccable" operation.

However interviews with victims showed that they had been released, unpressured, by the rebels, while "Operation Liberty" cost the lives of at least nine members of the security forces, and left two policemen abandoned in the jungle. One had to wander alone, wounded, for 17 days before he reached safety. The hunt for the second missing policeman was called off by the security forces, prompting his father, Dionisio Vilca, to set out on his own, eventually finding the corpse of his son. He was forced to load the body of his son into a taxi to get it out of the area.

All of this occurred around the Apurimac-Ene valley in southern Peru (known by its Spanish initials as the VRAE), the stronghold of the·most powerful remaining faction of the Shining Path. The rebels survive, and are indeed recruiting again, thanks to control of coca production in the area.

InSight Crime Analysis

What all this shows is that Peruvian government has little to no control over the VRAE. The fact that the Shining Path were able to take on helicopters (killing a pilot), ambush security force patrols with apparent impunity and take time to chat with journalists, shows how comfortable they are in their stronghold. That the Peruvian security forces left two of their own abandoned in the jungle reveals serious problems, not only in capacity, but in leadership.

There is also evidence that the Shining Path rebels have support from many of the local communities, allowing them to track and anticipate security force operations, and disappear into the local population when necessary.

What is clear is that President Humala, a former army lieutenant colonel, needs to make radical change to his strategy and win over the local population, as 62 percent of Peruvians think that the Shining Path are winning the war in the VRAE, according to a recent poll.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCAINE / 31 MAR 2021

Military officials in Peru have announced the death of a top Shining Path commander more than five months after an…

COCA / 2 JUN 2022

Peru’s Amazon, which covers nearly half of the Andean country, is rich in biodiversity and critical to the capture of…

CHINA AND CRIME / 14 MAY 2021

The taricaya turtle conservation program in northern Peru has been heralded as bringing an endangered species back from the brink…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…