The head of the U.S. military’s Southern Command visited Peru’s biggest coca growing region, and expressed the U.S.’s commitment to the fight against the Shining Path guerrilla group.

General Douglas Fraser met with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala to discuss bilateral efforts to confront security threats from organized crime and terrorist groups, including the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso). The two countries vowed to increase military cooperation on efforts to attack transnational criminal networks operating in Peru.

General Fraser visited Peru’s biggest coca growing region in the central Apurimac and Ene River Valley, known by its initials in Spanish, VRAE.

Since taking office in July, President Humala has discussed his government’s strategy to address security threats in the VRAE. The area is the stronghold of the Shining Path, which began as politically-motivated Maoist insurgency, but has evolved into a narco-terrorist organization that funds its operations by taxing VRAE’s coca farmers and escorting cocaine shipments from the region.

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