From The NY Transfer BBS 718-448-2358
TURNING PERU'S DRUG WAR INTO DIRECT U.S. INTERVENTION
JULY 10, 1990 -- Peru's upper Huallaga Valley is the world's most important coca growing area, the ancestral home of hundreds of thousands of Peruvians and one of the areas of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency, which has been repeatedly denounced by Peru's Communist Party for working together with the drug traffickers.
Currently one-third of Peru, including the valley and the capital city, Lima, are under direct military rule. Yet the insurgency and popular unrest continue to spread, fanned by poverty, starvation, disease and repression.
In 1982 the Reagan administration and then-Peruvian President Fernando Belaunde Terry agreed to work together to fight coca growing in the valley. Now the program is being transformed into direct military intervention.
In January the first U.S. base was inaugurated at Santa Lucia. In April the Bush administration announced plans to build a military training base near Santa Lucia and another next year in Peru's Amazon region. At least 100 members of the U.S. Special Forces (Green Berets) will be assigned there. Six Peruvian battalions with a total of 5,500 men will be trained and fully supplied by Washington. The $35 million military aid package also includes river patrol boats and the overhaul of 20 ground attack jets.
According to the West German laboratory, Arguk, U.S. aircraft have dropped the defoliant tebuthiuran (also known as 'Spike') on cultivated areas. In April, the 112-nation World Anti-Drug Conference condemned its use because of its harmful effects on the environment and on humans.
Peruvian scientist Enrique Arevalo charges that "Spike is just a smokescreen for more sophisticated biological weapons." He said different parts of the Alto Huallaga Cooperative, near the San Lucia base, had been struck by the chemical assault. "We isolated the Roselynia fungus, which has a great ability to adapt itself to any crop. The fungus can be manipulated genetically to become more aggressive against a particular crop."
United Nations agricultural specialist Tito Albitrez has worked in the valley for two years. He told El Pais, "the farmers here are perfectly happy to grow substitute crops instead of the coca. The problem is there is no market for the crops and no way to transport them elsewhere. They grow coca simply to survive."
"You are asking for serious trouble is you try to force them to stop, destroy their lands, and leave them with no alternatives," Albitrez said.
"If you mistake them for Shining Path, that is who they will become. If you sent in troops, you'll get war."
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