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Rebels and cocaine revive old war in Peru ^ | March 17, 2009 | SIMON ROMERO

Posted on 03/23/2009 10:24:05 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe

The war against the Shining Path rebels, which took nearly 70,000 lives, supposedly ended in 2000.

But here in one of the most remote corners of the Andes, the combination of a renewed military campaign, a resurgent rebel faction and a lucrative cocaine trade may be sparking it back to life.

The drizzle-shrouded jungle of Vizcatán, a 250-square-mile region in the Apurímac and Ene River Valley, nine hours by four-wheel drive along switchbacks from the Maoist rebels' Andean cradle of Ayacucho, is Peru's largest producer of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.

The Shining Path controls a large part of the cocaine trade here, and as Peru's production has thrived, now second only to Colombia's, the rebel group has used its profits to rebuild.

And the reports of rising body counts and civilians killed in the crossfire, as the military and the rebels battle for control of isolated coca-producing hamlets, are rousing ghosts most Peruvians thought were long dead. ....

Since the Shining Path retreated here after the capture of its messianic leader, Abimael Guzmán, in 1992, it has taken a page from the Colombian rebel group FARC, a leftist insurgency that transfigured itself into an illicit drug enterprise. According to military and antidrug analysts, the Shining Path is now in the business of protecting drug smugglers, extorting taxes from farmers and operating its own cocaine laboratories.

"The guerrillas now operate with the efficiency and deadliness of an elite drug trafficking organization," said Jaime Antezana, a security analyst in Lima....

Concerned about the resurrected rebels and mounting cocaine, the government intensified the counterinsurgency campaign last August, and the killings spiked.

The guerrillas killed at least 26 people in 2008, including 22 soldiers and police officers, the bloodiest year in almost a decade, according to security analysts.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: communism; latinamerica; narcoterrorism; shiningpath

1 posted on 03/23/2009 10:24:05 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

I wonder if this would happen if they made chocolate illegal. Cuz I needs ma chocolate.

2 posted on 03/23/2009 10:29:27 PM PDT by exist
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