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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09LIMA639 2009-05-04 16:29:00 SECRET Embassy Lima
Cable title:  

SHINING PATH IN THE VRAE: GOALS, METHODS, AND NEW

Tags:   PGOV PREL PINR PTER ASEC PE 
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VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #0639/01 1241629
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 041629Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0504
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 2338
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 6538
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8275
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3838
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1385
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAY 5164
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 9719
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 2520
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 2360
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL PRIORITY
					  S E C R E T LIMA 000639 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/28/2034
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR PTER ASEC PE
SUBJECT: SHINING PATH IN THE VRAE: GOALS, METHODS, AND NEW
ANTI-US RHETORIC

REF: A. LIMA 543

B. LIMA 329

Classified By: Amb. P Michael McKinley for reasons 1.4b and d.



1. (C) Summary: Although most observers describe the Shining
Path (Sendero Luminoso or SL) faction operating in the
Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE) as little more than
narcotraffickers, several analysts argue convincingly that
the faction maintains political goals more akin to those of a
terrorist organization. One prominent counter-drug analyst
told poloff that SL's primary goal is to create a liberated
area in the VRAE where SL governs and the state has no
presence. Others said the VRAE SL may even compete for
municipal offices in the next election. VRAE SL reportedly
complements its military efforts in the VRAE with political
work by cadres operating in the capital of Ayacucho region
and with an extensive propaganda effort that has adopted
strident anti-US rhetoric, which is a matter for concern.
End Summary.

Regional Political Goals


--------------------------




2. (SBU) Although a majority of observers describe the SL
faction ("Proseguir") operating in the VRAE as little more
than a powerful narcotrafficking organization (ref A),
several analysts argue convincingly that the faction
maintains political goals more akin to those of a terrorist
organization. According to this view, SL's current political
goals are less sweeping and ambitious than the ones it
espoused during its heyday in the early 1990s, but they
remain centrally important in motivating the group's
operations. One prominent counter-drug analyst, Ruben
Vargas, in a recent media interview argued that "to reduce
them (SL) to a firm of narcos is simply absurd. This is a
new Shining Path that recognizes its limited abilities.
Their military and political strategies are not to take power
but to take control over specific areas."



3. (S) Vargas (strictly protect) told poloff that SL's
primary goal is to create a liberated area in the VRAE where
SL governs and the state has no presence, similar to the
liberated area established by the Colombian FARC in the
late-1990s. In a recent written manifesto, VRAE SL described
its stronghold in Vizcatan as its Democratic Revolutionary
Support Base, which evidence from other sources suggests SL
may be successfully expanding. One DAO source reported that
SL has established four "hospitals" (probably rudimentary
clinics) in the VRAE, and another said that SL had developed
revolutionary schools to teach SL children. In a recent
media interview, VRAE SL's chief "Jose" bragged that these
"popular schools" educate locals in Maoist ideology and about
the "enemies" of the VRAE because "education is the path to
freedom." The manifesto also claimed the group has
established a system of taxation to pay for its operations
and services.



4. (S) SL may also be looking to establish more formal, legal
power in the VRAE. In a recent conversation with the
Ambassador, opposition leader Ollanta Humala reported that
his sources say SL is planning to run candidates for
municipal office in the VRAE. The SL candidates will run
under a different name, but locals will know the difference.
A security consultant with contacts throughout the VRAE also
reported that SL plans to run candidates in local elections
in alliance with seemingly legitimate parties. He said they
will nominate candidates throughout the VRAE in both Ayacucho
and other bordering regions. One possibility, he said, was a
link with the pro-coca party Hatun Tarpuy, which won several
municipalities in the northern VRAE during the 2006 elections.

Building Urban Cadres


--------------------------




5. (S) VRAE SL complements its efforts in the jungle with
political work by cadres operating in Huamanga city,
Ayacucho's capital, said Vargas. He claimed that the SL
"Proseguir" faction has several openly affiliated operatives
working in Ayacucho social movements. These operatives are
distinct from known operatives of the SL "Acuerdista" faction
that accepted SL founder Abimael Guzman's call in the 1990s
for a negotiated peace and the two factions are continuously

competing for recruits. Vargas alleged that the main leader
is Rigoberto Garcia Ortega, who heads the Ayacucho Regional
Front, a social movement that foments protests and harshly
criticizes the GOP. Vargas added that "Proseguir" is also
competing for and winning away recruits from the
"Acuerdistas" in Huamanga's university and prison.

Propagating the Ideology


--------------------------




6. (S) Vargas argued that VRAE SL's extensive propaganda
effort shows that it retains its political motives. The
faction in November 2008 produced a 45-page document,
sprinkled with quotes from Mao, Che, and Marx, that lambasts
capitalism, globalization, and imperialism. The manifesto
called VRAE SL a "Popular Revolutionary Army of Workers,
Peasants, and Students" that is continuing the revolutionary
battle that SL launched in 1980, and that is the only
authentic descendent of the Peruvian Communist Party (PCP)
founded in 1928. The document rails against other factions
that claim to be the PCP or SL, including SL founder Abimael
Guzman. VRAE SL also claims to support domestic and foreign
private investment as long as indigenous peoples are allowed
to decide the terms of contracts. SL regularly promotes its
ideology via "armed propaganda" -- distributing leaflets
throughout the VRAE and lecturing travelers at roadblocks
before releasing them. According to intelligence sources
reported in the press, VRAE SL devoted more than 25% of its
activities from January to April 2009 on propaganda
activities.

Anti-US Discourse


--------------------------




7. (C) VRAE SL over the past six months has adopted a more
strident anti-US discourse. According to the security
consultant, the USG's New Horizons military-humanitarian
mission -- conducted from June to August 2008 -- reinforced
SL's conviction that the US was planning to invade the VRAE.
When the Peruvian military launched its Operation Excellence
to take control of the northern VRAE (ref B) immediately
after New Horizons ended, SL apparently concluded that the
operation was guided by the US. Then in its November
manifesto, SL declared that the formerly "popular agrarian
democratic war" had changed to a "national anti-imperialist,
anti-Yankee, resistance" and called for the development of a
"United Democratic Revolutionary Anti-Yankee-Imperialist
Front."



8. (C) VRAE SL commander "Jose" amplified this anti-US
rhetoric in two recent interviews with local media. In the
first, Jose accused the US Southern Command of militarizing
the VRAE in search of natural resources, and called on
Peruvians to join together to eject the "Yankees" from Peru,
South America, and the world. In the second interview, Jose
said that SL's mission is to fight against anyone that is
aligned with the USG, particularly the Peruvian army and
police. He even said that if the army changed sides to
defend Peru against "the Yankee invasion", SL would fight
alongside the army. SL leaflets recently distributed in the
VRAE also reportedly used similar rhetoric: "Long Live the
War of anti-Yankee, anti-imperialist National Resistance!"

Comment: SL and Anti-Imperialism


--------------------------




9. (S) VRAE SL's adoption of "imperialism" and the U.S.
itself as central rhetorical targets is a concern. We have
no evidence or reporting to suggest SL is preparing to move
from rhetoric to action on this front (its main physical
targets in recent years have been members of Peru's security
forces -- military and police). But judging from SL's
actions in the early part of the decade, particularly a 2002
bombing not far from the U.S. Embassy that many attribute to
SL, such a possibility in the future cannot be wholly ruled
out.
MCKINLEY