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

PERU / 17 APR 2014

An investigation into the political wing of Peru's Shining Path has revealed the extensive nature of the imprisoned guerrilla commander…

PERU / 27 JAN 2012

Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers imprisoned in Peru offered $1 million for the assassination of a Peruvian prosecutor and three…

PERU / 15 MAY 2014

Peru is poised to become the focal point of global efforts to combat the production and transportation of illegal narcotics…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…