Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2018, 16:17 GMT

Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 - Peru

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 May 2013
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 - Peru, 30 May 2013, available at: [accessed 19 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: Peru's primary counterterrorism concern remained the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso or SL). Although Peru nearly eliminated SL in the 1990s, the organization is well-entwined with coca cultivation and narcotics trafficking and remained a threat to Peru's internal security. In February, Peruvian security forces captured Florindo Flores Hala (alias "Comrade Artemio"), the leader of the Upper Huallaga Valley (UHV) faction of SL. Prosecutors charged Flores with aggravated terrorism, drug trafficking, and money laundering. Because of SL's hierarchy, the capture led to a collapse in SL-UHV's structure and capabilities. While SL still operated in the UHV, it has been severely limited in scope.

A much larger and stronger SL faction occupies the government-designated emergency zone (an area in which the government has suspended certain civil rights due to an "exceptional situation") known as the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro River Valleys (VRAEM). The emergency zone expanded in 2012 to include additional territory near the Mantaro River due to the concentration of SL leadership in close proximity to this tributary. In June, Peruvian authorities also expanded the VRAEM emergency zone to include portions of the La Convencion Province in the Region of Cusco, which has seen significant expansion of SL activity over the past year. In 2012, SL-VRAEM had several hundred armed members while the number of its supporters in the urban areas was unknown. Although SL-VRAEM's leaders claimed to have split with SL founder Abimael Guzman, the faction continued to use Maoist philosophy to justify its illegal activities. Involvement in drug production, narcotics trafficking, and extortion in the form of "revolutionary taxes" provided SL with funding to conduct operations. The organization's involvement with drug trafficking also allowed SL-VRAEM to improve relations with coca-growing communities in remote areas.

Government efforts to improve interagency cooperation and to strengthen prosecutorial capacity were somewhat successful. Police units specializing in counterterrorism and counternarcotics conducted several operations with the Peruvian Armed Forces. Peru continued talks with its neighbors to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation.

In January, the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (MOVADEF), a front organization of the Shining Path founded by Abimael Guzman's lawyers, attempted to register as a political party. The National Election Board denied the registration application, citing the group's links to terrorism. MOVADEF claimed to reject armed violence, but the National Election Board found its link to SL to be clear. It was reported that MOVADEF gained further support throughout the year in trade unions and rural communities. MOVADEF also increased its international presence, staging protests in Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. They reportedly have additional chapters in Bolivia, France, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) continued to use remote areas along the Colombian-Peruvian border to regroup and make arms purchases. Peruvian government experts believed the FARC continued to fund coca cultivation and cocaine production among the Peruvian population in border areas. The Government of Peru sought to cooperate with the Government of Colombia on ways to combat the FARC's presence in under-governed areas of the border region.

2012 Terrorist Incidents: SL carried out 87 terrorist acts that killed one civilian, 13 members of the military, and five police officers. The attacks included:

  • On April 9, an SL-VRAEM group kidnapped 36 workers from the Camisea natural gas pipeline just outside the VRAEM emergency zone. In several failed rescue attempts, a total of eight security personnel were killed, 10 others were wounded, and a U.S.-owned helicopter operated by the police was destroyed. On April 14, all 36 workers were released unharmed. Some analysts claimed the Government of Peru or the pipeline operator paid a US $5 million ransom, an assertion strongly refuted by both.

  • On June 6, SL-VRAEM members briefly seized 18 Camisea pipeline workers from an area six kilometers away from the April kidnapping incident. SL spray-painted revolutionary slogans on the workers' helicopters, delivered a communiqué, and released the hostages unharmed.

  • On August 15, SL ambushed a 32-man Peruvian army patrol in a remote part of the VRAEM near the counterterrorism base of Mazangaro. The attackers killed five soldiers and wounded six others in the deadliest single attack since 2009.

  • On September 7, SL terrorists used explosives to damage an above-ground valve on the Camisea gas pipeline near Kepashiato. When a Peruvian Army helicopter approached the valve site to verify the level of damage, ground-based snipers shot and killed a soldier aboard the helicopter.

  • On October 6, members of SL-VRAEM blew up three commercial helicopters subcontracted by the Camisea natural gas pipeline operator. The helicopters were located in Echarate, a district in the region of Cusco. The SL combatants delivered a communiqué stating the pipeline operators had failed to pay a "war tax."

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Peru's Congress passed a bill in January banning convicted terrorists on parole from traveling abroad. President Humala continued reauthorizing 60-day states of emergency in parts of seven regions where SL operated, giving the armed forces and police additional authority to maintain public order.

Immigration authorities collected no biometric information from visitors. Citizens of neighboring countries were allowed to travel to Peru by land using national identification cards in lieu of passports. There was no visa requirement for citizens of most countries in Western, Central, and Eastern Europe and the visa requirement for Mexican nationals was abolished. Peruvian immigration used a database called "Movimiento Migratorio" at five points of entry to track entries and exits of travelers, but the database was limited to Interpol and a local database that tracks outstanding warrants. Peruvian immigration did not have access to Passenger Name Record data or a terrorist watch list.

Police detained 233 suspected terrorists during the year. Besides the February capture of "Comrade Artemio," significant law enforcement action included:

  • On July 5, security forces rescued 11 children from an SL camp in the VRAEM. The children, called "little pioneers," were allegedly being indoctrinated into the Shining Path. Eleven SL terrorists were also captured.

  • On September 5, Peruvian security forces killed the second-most-senior military commander of the SL-VRAEM faction, Victor Hugo Castro Ramirez alias "Comrade William." President Humala characterized his death as a "major blow" against SL.

SL founder and leader Abimael Guzman and key accomplices remained in prison serving life sentences stemming from crimes committed in the 1980s and 1990s. About 600 people remained in prison on terrorism charges or convictions.

Peru continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which provided several courses designed to build capacity in border security, terrorism-related investigations, and the role of police leadership in counterterrorism efforts.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Peru is a member of the Financial Action Task Force of South America against Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. In October, Peru's Congress passed law 25.475, making terrorist financing a separate crime punishable by up to 35 years in prison. The Government of Peru took several additional steps to implement the May 2011 "National Plan to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing." This included two pieces of legislation revamping asset forfeiture and anti-money laundering laws, both containing terrorist finance components. The passage of these two legislative decrees achieved the majority of the legislative reform benchmarks set in the National Plan.

Legislative Decree 1106, "Legislation to Fight against Money Laundering and other crimes linked with Illegal Mining and Organized Crime," empowers the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Superintendent of Banks, Insurance, and Pension Funds to freeze bank accounts in cases linked to money laundering or terrorist financing within 24 hours after a judge's approval.

The U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network continued to suspend cooperation with the FIU, because of a leak of sensitive information published by the Peruvian press in April 2011.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: Peru was an active member of the OAS and participated in the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism training and other events. Peru held the rotating presidency of the Union of South American Nations beginning June 29.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Peru has a stated goal of increasing state presence in emergency zones with the hope that such presence will be a deterrent to radicalization. The official position of the National Penitentiary Institute is that prison is meant to rehabilitate and reintegrate prisoners, especially terrorists. A psychological evaluation is required of incarcerated terrorists before parole can be granted. Many observers have expressed concern that the program is ineffective and that many convicted terrorists are not rehabilitated, but instead choose to rejoin SL upon release.

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