Peru Reiterates Commitment to Put an End to Shining Path

By Dialogo
October 26, 2011

The Peruvian government is ready to put an end to the remnants of the Shining Path guerrilla group and its alliances with drug cartels, Peruvian Prime Minister Salomón Lerner affirmed on October 24, at the start of a working visit to the United States.

“President Ollanta Humala’s administration aspires to eliminate the Shining Path remnants that are active in the area of the VRAE (Apurimac and Ene River Valley), since they are in a pernicious alliance with international drug cartels,” Lerner declared upon meeting with U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy, according to the Peruvian embassy.

Flournoy supported the anti-drug policy Lerner presented on his first visit to Washington, D.C., as prime minister, the embassy added in its statement, without comment by the Pentagon.

The VRAE, located in the country’s southeast, in the Amazon region, is considered Peru’s chief cocaine-producing region, and drug-trafficking gangs operate there along with Shining Path, a Maoist guerrilla group.

Peru expects to present a new anti-drug strategy soon, and on this visit, Lerner hopes to acquire U.S. support.

The Peruvian government has every right to reformulate its own strategic plans, the assistant secretary of state for the fight against drugs, William Brownfield, affirmed, according to another statement by the embassy.

Cocaine production in Peru has grown to surpass that in Colombia for the first time in a decade, according to a recent report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Although Peru has around 53,000 hectares producing coca, compared to 100,000 in Colombia, the variety grown in Peru produces around 325 tons of pure cocaine a year, compared to 270 in Colombia, according to the DEA in a report delivered to Congress last week.

During his visit, Lerner plans various meetings with other high-ranking U.S. Government officials.