The Thistle Volume 13, Number 2: Dec., 2000/Jan., 2001.

All the News That's Fit to Print

CIA Involvement in Peru

According to Police Col. Benedicto Jimenez, who led the operation for capturing the leader of the left-wing Shining Path guerillas, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency provided money and equipment for the operation. However, Jimenez denied that CIA agents participated directly in the planning of the rebel leader’s capture in September 1992 in a safehouse in a middle-class Lima suburb.

Quoting Jimenez, “Their role was limited to logistical and training support, but the matter of planning and making the decisions, that was up to us, those who were managing the intelligence groups.”

For years many organizations had speculated that the CIA played a role in the operations leading to the arrest of rebels. Jimenez’ statement has been the first confirmation of the speculations.

In Washington, the CIA declined comment on Jimenez’ statements but called attention to a March 1996 report that appraised the state of U.S. intelligence. The report said U.S. intelligence has played key roles “in helping other countries identify and/or arrest several notorious terrorists,” including the head of the Shining Path.

Jimenez led a special “anti-terrorist” police unit established in 1990 whose sole goal was capturing Guzman, whose rebel group had been involved with car bombings and assassinations of officials for more than a decade.

According to Jimenez, the CIA trained his officers in “counterinsurgency techniques” and supplied cars, surveillance equipment and up to $5,000 a month for expenses.

Jimenez said: “The capture of Guzman was a historic event that began the pacification of Peru. Many minds, many wills, many hearts participated in it, I think the CIA should get its piece of the glory, too.”

Meanwhile, new Interior Minister Antonio Ketin Vidal, who was Jimenez’s boss in Peru’s counterinsurgency police in 1992, announced the retirement of 170 high-ranking police officials on Thursday. Defense Minister Walter Ledesma who is a retired army general, said 14 air force generals also would be sent into retirement.

Fujimori Fights to Stay in Japan

Peru’s former president Alberto Fujimori is hoping to use his Japanese nationality to stay in the country, escaping prosecution in Lima. Meanwhile, a Peruvian congressional commission is planning to issue an international warrant for Mr Fujimori’s arrest if he ignores a second summons to testify before a panel investigating his former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, for a range of offences. Fujimori has stated it to many news agencies that he is intending to stay in Japan.

There have been allegations linking Fujimori and Montesinos with criminal activity. According to Jorge del Castillo, a Peruvian congressman, the two men had several million dollars in a joint secret bank account in the Cayman Islands. Although Fujimori denies any involvement with Montesinos who has been charged with several crimes ranging from corruption to genocide, it seems unlikely that he will comply with the order to attend commission hearing in Peru.

Fujimori, who maintained his rule in Peru in undemocratic ways for several years is waiting for a decision from the Japanese justice ministry regarding his status. He is hoping that he will be granted citizenship due to his Japanese origins. Regarding him holding Japanese nationality, he said “I hope that very soon the Japanese government will confirm that this is the case, and as a consequence, in the face of this persecution, I can exercise my status of Japanese national.” Japanese Justice Minister Masahiko Komura said a decision would be sent to the foreign ministry early next week and would be considered by the whole cabinet.

New Governor of Chiapas Promises Peace

The first opposition governor to be elected in Chiapas was inaugurated on December 8, praising the Zapatistas and calling his predecessors “tyrants”. Pablio Salazar promised to release all prisoners of conscience including the Zapatistas as his first move as the governor.

In his inaugural speech, Salazar praised the Zapatistas for having noble goals and remarked that “The ones who went to war were those who wanted authentic democracy, true peace and freedom without limits”

Many paramilitary groups have been stationed in the Chiapas after 1994, forcing many poor Indians to flee communities across the state. The people of the Chiapas were also subject to continuous oppression by these forces. Salazar blamed the previous government for the violence in the Chiapas. He remarked that “Those who went to war were forced to do it. They were forced to do it by hunger, authoritarianism and desperation”. Salazar also said the past government had given arms to paramilitary groups, who often drove Indians from their communities, and sometimes massacred them. He promised that “the government will never again be used as an instrument against the people.”

Protests at EU Summit

At least sixty thousand protestors gathered in Nice, France last week, where the EU leaders were holding a summit about the future of the bloc, to protest globalization and the inadequate nature of the Charter of Fundamental Rights that was going to be discussed on the first day of the summit. “We are here to block the summit” said the protestors; “Europe is not a piece of merchandise”.

The protestors were met by a significant police force in the Mediterranean city whose mayor is an ex-member of the French ultra-nationalist National Front. The venue allowed for the demonstrations was too small to accommodate all the protestors. Several thousand protestors coming from all over Europe, especially Italy, were stopped by the French border police and not let into the country despite diplomatic efforts by the Italian government. A similar procedure was used by the Czech authorities who did not allow several trains carrying protestors from all over Europe to enter the country at the end of September to protest the IMF/ World Bank.


The Thistle Volume 13, Number 3: Dec., 2000/Jan., 2001.