US embassy cable - 94LIMA11661 (original version)

AYACUCHO EMERGES FROM ITS SENDERO PAST (original version)

Identifier: 94LIMA11661
Wikileaks: View 94LIMA11661 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Lima
Created: 1994-12-19 14:14:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PTER PHUM KJUS PE
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
R 191414Z DEC 94
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1454
INFO AMEMBASSY QUITO 
AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 
USCINCSO QUARRY HEIGHTS PM
AMEMBASSY CARACAS 
AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 LIMA 011661 
 
 
USCINCSO ALSO FOR POLAD 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:OADR 
TAGS:        PGOV, PTER, PHUM, KJUS, PE 
SUBJECT:     AYACUCHO EMERGES FROM ITS SENDERO PAST 
 
REF:         A) LIMA 9514; B) 93 LIMA 8504 
 
1.  (U) SUMMARY:  ON NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 1, 
AMBASSADOR AND MRS. ADAMS, ACCOMPANIED BY AID 
OFFICERS AND POLOFF TRAVELED TO AYACUCHO FOR THE 
OPENING OF AN AID-FUNDED DETAINEE REGISTRY 
CENTER.  US-TEAM ALSO VISITED AN ORPHANAGE AND 
AMBASSADOR MET WITH THE LOCAL UNIVERSITY RECTOR 
AND UNIVERSITY STUDENTS.  THROUGHOUT THE TRIP, 
LOCAL RESIDENTS COMMENTED ON THE IMPROVED 
SECURITY SITUATION IN AYACUCHO, WHICH WAS 
FORMERLY A HOTBED OF MILITARY/SENDERO 
CONFRONTATION.  A KEY CONCERN OF LOCAL OFFICIALS 
APPEARS TO BE LETTING THE OUTSIDE WORLD KNOW 
ABOUT THE IMPROVED SITUATION, AND THUS IMPROVING 
TOURISM AND REGAINING INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE 
AND COOPERATION.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (U) AMBASSADOR AND MRS. ADAMS, ACCOMPANIED 
BY AID DEPUTY COUNTRY DIRECTOR, AID 
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE OFFICER, AND POLOFF 
TRAVELED NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 1 TO AYACUCHO, A 
SMALL RUSTIC TOWN IN THE SOUTH CENTRAL ANDES 
(POPULATION OF 35,000, WITH A TOTAL REGIONAL 
POPULATION OF 140,000).  AYACUCHO HAS A HEAVY 
INDIAN INFLUENCE.  QUECHUA IS SPOKEN OR 
UNDERSTOOD BY ROUGHLY HALF THE POPULATION AND 
DISTINCTIVE NATIVE DRESS IS MUCH IN EVIDENCE. 
THE TOWN STILL IS HEAVILY COLONIAL IN 
ARCHITECTURE, WITH MANY BUILDINGS DATING FROM 
THE 18TH CENTURY.  NO POLITICAL POSTERS OR 
SLOGANS OF ANY KIND WERE EVIDENT, EXCEPT FOR 
OCCASIONAL SPRAY PAINT GRAFFITI WITH THE NAME OF 
A LOCAL APRA POLITICIAN.  THERE WAS NO PHYSICAL 
EVIDENCE THAT AYACUCHO HAD ONCE BEEN A DANGEROUS 
PLACE, OR THAT ITS VICINITY HAD BEEN THE SCENE 
OF FREQUENT SENDERO ATTACKS AND GOVERNMENT 
CLASHES.  DESPITE THE SENSE IN AYACUCHO THAT ONE 
IS IN A REMOTE LOCATION, ACCESS TO LIMA IS EASY 
SINCE ITS AIRPORT IS SERVED BY PERU'S FOUR 
DOMESTIC AIR CARRIERS. 
 
----------------- 
DETAINEE REGISTRY 
----------------- 
 
3.  (U) THE AMBASSADOR'S FIRST STOPS IN AYACUCHO 
WERE TO INAUGURATE THE AID-FUNDED DETAINEE 
REGISTRY COMPUTERS AT THE POLICE HEADQUARTERS 
AND THE LOCAL PUBLIC MINISTRY OFFICE.  ATTORNEY 
GENERAL BLANCA NELIDA COLAN PARTICIPATED IN THE 
CEREMONY AT THE PUBLIC MINISTRY AND HOSTED A 
RECEPTION AFTERWARDS.  DETAINEE REGISTRY CENTERS 
ENABLE CITIZENS TO LOCATE INDIVIDUALS DETAINED 
ON TERRORISM AND TREASON CHARGES BY POLICE OR 
MILITARY (IN EMERGENCY ZONES) AUTHORITIES ALL 
OVER THE COUNTRY.  BY NEXT SEPTEMBER, 13 SUCH 
CENTERS SHOULD BE OPERATIONAL THROUGHOUT PERU. 
AYACUCHO IS THE THIRD SUCH CENTER OPENED SINCE 
LAST FEBRUARY.  (LIMA AND TARAPOTO WERE THE 
FIRST TWO, HUANUCO SHOULD BE OPENED IN JANUARY.) 
 
------- 
ORPHANS 
------- 
 
4.  (U) US-TEAM THEN VISITED THE USAID-SUPPORTED 
ANDRES VIVANCO ORPHANAGE RUN BY SANTA ANA NUNS 
FOR CHILDREN UP TO AGE 18, INCLUDING NEWBORNS. 
FOUR NUNS ASSISTED BY LAY WORKERS TAKE CARE OF 
APPROXIMATELY 150 CHILDREN, ALMOST ALL OF WHOM 
LOST THEIR PARENTS DURING THE PAST FEW YEARS OF 
SENDERO-MILITARY CONFLICT IN THE AREA.  AN 
ADDITIONAL 180 CHILDREN ATTEND DAY-TIME PROGRAMS 
AT THE FACILITY.  (EFFORTS ARE BEING MADE BY 
LOCAL SALESIAN FATHERS TO ORGANIZE AN ORPHANAGE 
FOR OLDER CHILDREN.)  EARLIER THIS YEAR, UNDER A 
CONGRESSIONAL EARMARK FOR DISPLACED CHILDREN AND 
ORPHANS, AID PROVIDED USD 200,000 FOR THE 
CONSTRUCTION OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING WORKSHOPS 
AND FOR REPAIRS TO THE ORPHANAGE'S DECREPIT 
WATER SYSTEM. 
 
5.  (U) WHILE IN AYACUCHO, AMBASSADOR WAS 
PRESENTED WITH A LETTER FROM THE AYACUCHO 
ASSOCIATION OF RELATIVES OF VICTIMS OF TERRORISM 
(AFAVIT) SEEKING ASSISTANCE.  THIS ORGANIZATION 
TAKES CARE OF A FURTHER 100 CHILDREN BETWEEN THE 
AGES OF THREE AND FIFTEEN.  THESE CHILDREN ARE 
NOT TOTALLY DESTITUTE, UNLIKE THOSE TAKEN CARE 
OF AT ANDRES VIVANCO, BUT LIVE IN DIRE ECONOMIC 
CIRCUMSTANCES WITH RELATIVES OR A SURVIVING 
PARENT.  THIS ORGANIZATION IS HEADED BY A 
UNIVERSITY STUDENT WHOSE PARENTS, WHO WERE 
TEACHERS, WERE KILLED BY SENDERO LUMINOSO IN 
1989.  HE EXPLAINED TO POLOFF THAT SIMILAR 
ORGANIZATIONS EXIST IN LIMA AND HUANTA (IN 
NORTHERN AYACUCHO DEPARTMENT). 
 
--------------------- 
NEW UNIVERSITY RECTOR 
--------------------- 
 
6.  (U) AMBASSADOR, JOINED BY AID DEPUTY 
DIRECTOR AND POLOFF, MET WITH EDUARDO GONZALEZ, 
THE NEW RECTOR OF SAN CRISTOBAL DE HUAMANGA 
UNIVERSITY IN AYACUCHO, WHO HAD ASSUMED HIS 
POSITION ONLY FIFTEEN DAYS BEFORE.  GONZALEZ 
REPLACED PEDRO VILLENA, WHO WAS NAMED MINISTER 
OF EDUCATION IN OCTOBER (REF A). 
 
7.  (U) THE RECTOR EXPLAINED THAT SAN CRISTOBAL 
DE HUAMANGA WAS THE SECOND OLDEST UNIVERSITY IN 
PERU, HAVING BEEN FOUNDED IN 1677.  IT CURRENTLY 
HAS TEN THOUSAND STUDENTS AND EMPLOYS 400 
PROFESSORS, WHO TEACH IN TEN DIFFERENT 
FACULTIES.  HE CONTRASTED THE CURRENT STUDENT 
ENROLLMENT WITH THE PERIOD OF VIOLENCE DURING 
THE EIGHTIES, WHEN STUDENT ENROLLMENT 
APPROXIMATED ONLY 3,500.  SEVENTY PERCENT OF THE 
STUDENTS COME FROM RURAL AREAS SURROUNDING 
AYACUCHO.  THE EDUCATION FACULTY HAS THE LARGEST 
ENROLLMENT. 
 
8.  (U) GONZALEZ MENTIONED PAST PROFESSOR 
EXCHANGES BETWEEN SAN CRISTOBAL DE HUAMANGA AND 
AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES.  ALL SUCH EXCHANGES ENDED 
DUE TO THE VIOLENCE THAT BEGAN IN THE EARLY 
1980'S.  THE RECTOR IS SENDING THE EMBASSY A 
LETTER WITH PROPOSALS FOR RESURRECTING SOME OF 
THESE PROGRAMS WITH U.S. UNIVERSITIES.  HE WAS 
PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN THE UNIVERSITY OF 
TEXAS. 
 
9.  (U) THE RECTOR ADDED THAT AMERICAN 
ARCHAELOGIST WILLIAM ISBELL, WHO HAD DIRECTED 
EXCAVATIONS AT THE NEARBY PRE-INCA WARI EMPIRE 
RUINS, WOULD RETURN TO AYACUCHO NEXT MONTH AFTER 
A FOUR YEAR ABSENCE TO CHECK ON THE SECURITY 
SITUATION AND LOOK INTO THE POSSIBILITY OF 
BRINGING UP TO FIFTEEN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS FROM 
THE U.S. TO WORK ON THE SITE. 
 
10.  (U) AS FOR THE LOCAL ECONOMIC SITUATION, 
THE RECTOR EXPLAINED THAT THE AYACUCHO ECONOMY 
RELIES PRIMARILY ON TEXTILES FOR EXPORT.  HE 
ADDED THAT EASTER WEEK IS A BIG TOURIST EVENT IN 
AYACUCHO AND ATTRACTED APPROXIMATELY SIX 
THOUSAND TOURISTS LAST YEAR, MOST OF WHOM CAME 
FROM WITHIN PERU.  LOCAL RESIDENTS ARE NOW 
HOPING FOR FIFTEEN THOUSAND EASTER WEEK VISITORS 
NEXT APRIL.  TOURISM DURING THE REST OF YEAR IS 
STILL LIMITED, BUT WORD IS GETTING OUT THAT THE 
SITUATION HAS IMPROVED, AND SMALL GROUPS OF 
FOREIGN TOURISTS HAVE VISITED AYACUCHO DURING 
THE PAST YEAR. 
 
------------------- 
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS 
------------------- 
 
11.  (C) FOUR UNIVERSITY STUDENT LEADERS ALSO 
PARTICIPATED IN THE MEETING WITH THE RECTOR. 
THE PRESIDENT OF THE STUDENT FEDERATION 
EXPRESSED CYNICISM REGARDING PERU'S PRESIDENTIAL 
CANDIDATES, AND EXPLAINED THAT HE DID NOT 
SUPPORT ANY OF THEM BECAUSE NONE OF THEM 
APPEARED TO BE SINCERELY CONCERNED ABOUT THE 
WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE IN AYACUCHO.  HE EXPLAINED 
THAT THE MAJOR CONCERN OF STUDENTS IN AYACUCHO 
WAS THE LACK OF JOB OPPORTUNITIES AFTER 
GRADUATION.  CURRENTLY, THE TWO MAIN SOURCES OF 
JOBS IN AYACUCHO WERE IN THE ARTISAN TRADE OR IN 
THE GOVERNMENT SECTOR AS TEACHERS OR LAWYERS. 
WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE UNITED STATES, HE PAUSED 
BEFORE SIMPLY STATING THAT HE VIEWED IT AS "AN 
ADVANCED COUNTRY." 
 
--------------------- 
SHINING PATH'S SHADOW 
--------------------- 
 
12.  (C) SEVERAL AYACUCHO RESIDENTS NOTED TO 
POLOFF THAT SENDERO WAS NO LONGER ACTIVE THERE. 
HOWEVER, A MILITARY OFFICIAL EXPLAINED THAT 
THERE MIGHT STILL BE SENDERO SUPPORTERS IN 
AYACUCHO, BUT THEY ARE NOT OUT IN THE OPEN AND 
HAVE NOT BEEN ENGAGING IN VIOLENT ACTS.  SENDERO 
FOUNDER PROFESSOR ABIMAEL GUZMAN IS STILL 
REMEMBERED IN AYACUCHO.  RECTOR ENRIQUE 
GONZALEZ, A FORMER STUDENT OF GUZMAN'S, RECALLED 
THAT THE SENDERO LEADER WAS NOT A TALKATIVE 
TYPE, WHICH HE JOKINGLY REFERRED TO AS THE TYPE 
TO BE AFRAID OF.  THE DIRECTOR OF THE UNIVERSITY 
TUNA (TROUBADOUR-TYPE SINGING GROUP) INDICATED 
TO POLOFF THAT HE, TOO, STUDIED UNDER GUZMAN, 
WHO HE REMEMBERED AS A VERY GOOD PROFESSOR.  HE 
ADDED THAT GUZMAN WAS A BIG SUPPORTER OF THE 
TUNA GROUP, AND ESPECIALLY ENJOYED IT WHEN THE 
GROUP PERFORMED THE THEME FROM "ZORBA THE 
GREEK," WHICH GUZMAN DANCED TO ON A VIDEO 
CAPTURED BY SECURITY FORCES IN 1991. 
 
13.  (C) A FORMER MAYOR SAID THAT FORMER SENDERO 
LEADER ABIMAEL GUZMAN'S WIFE AUGUSTA LA TORRE, 
WHO DIED IN 1989, STILL HAD RELATIVES IN 
AYACUCHO.  (A RECENTLY CAPTURED SENDERO LEADER 
HAS INFORMED POLICE THAT GUZMAN ACTUALLY HAD HIS 
WIFE KILLED.)  A LOCAL JOURNALIST NOTED THAT LA 
TORRE'S PARENTS NOW LIVE IN SWEDEN.  GUZMAN WAS 
ORIGINALLY FROM AREQUIPA AND DOES NOT HAVE ANY 
BLOOD RELATIVES IN AYACUCHO. 
 
14.  (C) WITH THE CASE OF FORMER SENDERO HUMAN 
RIGHTS ACTIVIST GUADALUPE CCALLACUNTO, WHO 
DISAPPEARED IN AYACUCHO IN 1990, SHORTLY 
APPEARING BEFORE THE INTER-AMERICAN HUMAN RIGHTS 
COMMISSION, POLOFF ASKED SEVERAL AYACUCHO 
RESIDENTS IF THEY REMEMBERED HER CASE.  A PUBLIC 
MINISTRY EMPLOYEE AND A UNIVERSITY STUDENT BOTH 
REMEMBERED HER AND SAID SHE WAS BELIEVED TO HAVE 
BEEN KILLED BY THE MILITARY. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
15.  (C) A KEY CONCERN OF LOCAL OFFICIALS AND 
RESIDENTS APPEARS TO BE LETTING THE OUTSIDE 
WORLD KNOW ABOUT THE IMPROVED SECURITY SITUATION 
IN AYACUCHO, AND THUS IMPROVING TOURISM AND 
INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE AND COOPERATION EFFORTS 
IN THE AREA.  WITH LATENT SUPPORT FOR SENDERO IN 
AYACUCHO STILL NOT COMPLETELY ERADICATED, THE 
PERUVIAN GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN FOCUSING HEAVILY ON 
LOCAL NEEDS AND GRIEVANCES.  TO DO OTHERWISE 
WOULD ENHANCE FRUSTRATION WITH THE CENTRAL 
GOVERNMENT IN LIMA, WHICH WAS A KEY FACTOR IN 
SENDERO'S INITIAL GROWTH. 
 
ADAMS 

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