Potential Hot Spots: Maoist Drug Lords in Peru

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December 26, 2005: As the Colombian drug gangs get hammered by the Colombian army and police, Peruvian drug gangs have been able to increase their share of the cocaine business. With more money (over $100 million a year) coming in, the drug gangs have been able to buy more politicians, and gunmen. Some of the muscle is coming from the revived Maoist rebel group, Shining Path. The dug money has been so attractive, that some Shining Path have dropped the pursuit of Maoist revolution, and gone after the drug money. Peru, which had earlier destroyed the Shining Path, when it was a purely political organization, now faces wealthy and well armed drug gangs, using the revived Shining Path as a security force.

December 23, 2005: Shining Path guerrillas attacked a Peruvian military helicopter in south Peru. Two policemen were wounded in the incident.

December 22, 2005: The Peruvian government declared a "regional state of emergency in six provinces, including Huanuco, San Martin and Ucayali. The state of emergency will last for 60 days. The immediate cause of the declaration was a Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) guerrilla attack on December 20 when a Shining Path faction ambushed a Peruvian paramilitary police unit in Huanuco province. At least eight police officers died in the attack. The mountain and jungle area in which the attack took place is known for its coca production. While the Shining Path is a "Maoist" Marxist political organization, it is known to have ties to cocaine producers. Peru's anti-drug agency (acronym is DEVIDA) issued a statement that said that Shining Path is "in league" with Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers. The guerrillas protect drug growers and traffickers in exchange for money and weapons.

The government also said another five officers had been killed in the central provinces in actions occurring since December 5th.

 

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