Several questions arise regarding the political-military strategy to be adopted to combat narcosenderismo in relation with the proposal of Vice President of Perú (Luis Giampietri) whom declares VRAE (Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers) like combat zone.
By Cesar Reyna
The fall of a MI-17 have affected the government's image. Some former generals claim that the material seized from the soldiers killed difficult the flights because the helicopter falled were carried with RPGs and high-caliber machine guns. But it is highly likely that the Terrorist of Perú (Senderistas or "Walkers") were available earlier because they have resources to acquire guns and border controls are very permeable.
It appears that the Shining Path (sendero Luminoso) is winning again as in the eighties, although the new trail bears no ideological or strategic similarities with its predecessor. The trail that we knew had a strong faith on its leader ABIMAEL and claimed the power for him. In the present, however, has no ideology (despite what commanders are talking of continuing the armed struggle, only formal speech) and trying to consolidate its position as new drug cartel. What ties these is that they employ guerrilla tactics of non-direct confrontation with the enemy in uniform and provide security on the routes used by other dealers in the VRAE.
According to former Defense Minister Antero Flores-Araoz, Sendero has 600 armed men divided into three columns. Their number must be much greater because he does not consider his associates, who are responsible for logistics and supply information. This new trail and does not kill indiscriminately, but selectively, as it has found the Armed Forces. Nor does car bombs in government facilities or dynamite pylons. It does not attack in urban centers as before because his fight is different, and has nothing to do with claims proletarian or Marxist, but the prosperity of your business. The Path to subdue the impoverished population there. The new trail is an ally of coca farmers and community leaders. The narco offer protection against payment of a quota. The service provided offers them revenue, but not as much as the development of cocaine base in his clandestine laboratories. The practice of scorched earth-destroying shacks, burning crops and killing, authorities whenever they visited a community has been neglected. While still running, but it has to do with this pathway, but the military, who refer to the peasants narcosenderistas and reveals what The New York Times (17-03-2009).
Repression not only terrorized the population, but that undermines the state. Such perception makes it natural enemy of the growers who have found in the monoculture of coca leaf, an ancient practice, its main source of income. For many growers has become a matter of life or death to defend the free cultivation of coca because Sendero has encouraged this view. La erradicación forzosa y las detenciones arbitrarias le han restado mucha simpatía al Ejército. When carrying out search and capture of Shining Path, civilians are forced to leave their villas or become collateral casualties. The FF. AA. claim, according to the Times report, which are destroying laboratories, maceration pits and cabanas for terrorists have no money or shelter.
The VRAE is the largest coca-growing region of the country, hence its importance to the Shining Path and the State, who waged a struggle for the monopoly of force. Both are seen as threats to their business and their future stability, respectively. At the moment the country is not in danger because the walkers-in-reality mercenaries or criminals do not intend to expand beyond the area. With the increased productivity per hectare of coca leaves do not need more land. Since 2007 the number rose by 4%, the biggest increase in a decade. In the long term may represent a challenge to governance and to penetrate the porosity of the institutions, which are not exactly immune to the cancer of corruption. Because our political and military authorities are receptive to this social evil should not surprise us that are purchased by major drug lords, who will allow them to operate freely, as happens and has happened in other countries.
The great challenge in the area is to disengage VRAE the population of the drug trade or, rather, the cultivation of coca, which 97% is used for cocaine production. This requires a huge job as it is the lifestyle of locals, some 17,000 families. Women and children gather the leaves and dry in the sun. First, the collected and then spread on multipurpose fields and dirt roads. The economy revolves around that culture is not illegal but its transformation into drugs. The various governments have tried to crop substitution. At one point he tried to promote the planting of organic coffee, avocados, mangoes, etc.., For agricultural exports, but has not worked at all troubled areas. Despite the opening of new markets and interesting profitability have not been able to compete with coca.
Changing economic and productive parent should be in a second phase. The solution is not to replace crops, at least not for now, since we must first eliminate the presence of narcosenderismo. The first phase of the operation in the VRAE should commit itself to root out subversive elements. This involves introducing new methods of war because fighting a guerrilla war against well-armed and aware of the jungle can not be conventional. Instead of fighting the guerrillas to soldiers should be considered clandestine operations by special forces of the Navy, Army and Air Force. Small groups may strike hard blows to the columns because they would take hikers by surprise. With the help of snipers, explosives experts and intelligence could eliminate their leaders, destroy their camps and intercepting communications. The United States may well cooperate in providing intelligence part of the FF. AA. of unmanned reconnaissance aircraft (Predator) to guide the commands (be your eyes in the sky at night and in dense forest) and convey accurate information about the location of the terrorists. These sophisticated weapons systems could easily lead to not waste the opportunity to attack an important target. EE. UU. might also provide other equipment such as infrared goggles, camouflage and electronic devices to ensure the success of operations.
In the next stage, once removed the cancer of narco-terrorism, the State could initiate a development plan of the area by building medical clinics, schools and state agencies because, without effective control of territory, we see impossible for any doctor, nurse, teacher or bureaucrat is going to work to a place so wild and dangerous.
Colaboration: Tracker analysis.
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