Indigenous Soldiers Comprise New Army Post in the VRAEM

Indigenous Soldiers Comprise New Army Post in the VRAEM

By Dialogo
August 17, 2015

The result of the VRAEM with regard to the soldiers, nothing is true for studies the youth may want to do in the future, it's only given to the sons of colonels and other high ranking officials. What is the future of the others who serve the country for years, wanting to be representatives. When they have no influence I do agree that the battalion should clean up the Tiscapa lagoon
because it surely has been dirty
and can contribute to the environment.


The Peruvian Army’s first group of indigenous Troops comprises a new command post in the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM), where the Armed Forces are combating drug-trafficking groups and other threats.

Approximately 80 Soldiers from the community of Matshiguengas, a major indigenous group that’s spread over a wide area in the departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, and Madre de Dios, are part of the country's first military contingent for native communities in emergency zones such as the VRAEM.

But the Peruvian Military's long-term goal is to recruit and train more Soldiers from native communities to serve in the VRAEM in order to help in the continuing battle against drug activity there, according to retired Peruvian Army Colonel José Goicochea Cacho.

On July 16, Peruvian Defense Minister Jakke Valakivi officially opened the Army post, where Troops “will conduct joint operations for the welfare of the area’s population and will fight narco-terrorism,” he said.

After the Armed Forces trains the young indigenous Soldiers for two months in marksmanship, physical fitness, communications, and survival skills, joint operations will be held in coordination with the Peruvian Navy, Air Force, and National Police.

The new post is part of the Peruvian Army’s renewed commitment to bolstering its efforts to dismantle criminal drug-trafficking structures in the VRAEM, Col. Goicochea said.

The Military has made great progress in its battle against the Shining Path guerrilla group, which operates in the VRAEM.

In early August, the Military and police captured two important Shining Path leaders, Alexander Alarcón Soto, aka “Renán,” and Dionicio Ramos, aka “Yuri.”

Security forces have dismantled the Shining Path’s Southern Column in the VRAEM; all that remains is the Northern Column, led by brothers José and Raúl Quispe Palomino, Vice Minister of Defense Iván Vega has told journalists.

Security forces have also made strides in reducing the level of illegal coca cultivation in the VRAEM. Coca crops in the Andean country have declined from 49,800 hectares in 2013 to 42,900 hectares in 2014, according to a United Nations monitoring report.

As a consequence of the Military’s efforts in the VRAEM, “the people (in the region) are going to see progress,” Col. Goicochea said.

Humanitarian assistance


The Armed Forces utilize a strong humanitarian component while providing security in the VRAEM; Military personnel stationed at the Peruvian Naval Base at the Port of Ocopa support free medical appointments, school materials, and social support to 90 children through the Santa Teresita Shelter.

The Military also provides the youngsters with courses in crafts and graphic arts, in addition to opportunities to participate in civil-military activities to promote patriotism.

Future opportunities


Serving in the Army not only gives indigenous Soldiers the chance to provide security in the VRAEM, but will also provide them subsequent opportunities.

Once they have completed at least one year of Military service, these Troops will have the opportunity to obtain technical certifications to protect the country’s environment and biodiversity.

Consequently, these Soldiers will be able to “combat narco-terrorism, fight illegal logging, prevent river pollution, and preserve biodiversity in the region,” Defense Minister Valakivi said. “Likewise, they will be able to create a self-defense committee under the supervision of personnel from the Valle Esmeralda Base.”

“In addition to becoming trainers in their own communities, the young Soldiers, will become leaders so that more youth may follow in their footsteps,” Col. Goicochea added.

The Troops in the country's first military contingent for native communities will also benefit from several programs offered by the Peruvian government, such as Beca 18, which provides technical or professional academic training at recognized universities and colleges to young people and registration in the nation's Comprehensive Health System (SIS).

“If the Armed Forces bolster the country’s fight against narco-terrorist organizations and the Peruvian government continues along the good path it has chosen, these people are going to see progress,” Col. Goicochea concluded.


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