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Declassified U.S. Documentation on
Human Rights Abuses and Political Violence

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 64
Edited by Tamara Feinstein,
Director, Peru Documentation Project
January 22, 2002

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One cannot appear neutral in Ayacucho and survive. If you are radical right, only S[endero]L[uminoso] tries to kill you. If you are a terrorist, only the police and military try to kill you. If you are in the middle, both the terrorists and the soldiers want you dead.
- Ambassador Anthony Quainton, Confidential State Department Cable, December 20, 1990

On November 21, 2000, the Peruvian Congress voted to remove Alberto Fujimori as president, declaring him morally unfit for office and rejecting his resignation letter sent from Japan—where he had fled to avoid arrest. This was the culminating point of a broad corruption scandal involving bribery of opposition politicians, military officials, the media and others by Fujimori’s advisor Vladimiro Montesinos. Following Fujimori’s fall, the new interim President Valentin Paniagua took significant steps towards the restoration of democracy, including removing restrictions on freedom of the press, the replacement of the dismissed magistrates to the Constitutional Tribunal—Peru’s equivalent to the U.S. Supreme Court which Fujimori gutted in 1997--and returning Peru to the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  On June 3, 2001, Alejandro Toledo of the "Peru Posible" party was elected president through second round run-off elections, which were deemed free and fair by a host of domestic and international observers. In the wake of the past year and a half period of political turmoil and transformation in Peru, the Peruvian government and people have begun a process of reassessing the policies practiced during the past two decades, especially in relation to human rights.

Peru: Human Rights Crimes

Peru has had a troubled legacy of political violence and human rights abuses.  The Peruvian Human Rights Ombudsman's office estimates that in the past 20 years there have been 30,000 victims of political violence.  No less than 4,000 individuals have "disappeared", thousands of individuals were arbitrarily detained, 400,000 have been displaced, and victims of torture are too numerous to be accurately counted.

Soon after the return to civilian government in 1980, Peru confronted an escalating situation of political violence, generated by the appearance of a violent insurgency carried out by Sendero Luminoso, and the MRTA, and a violent counterinsurgency campaign conducted by Peruvian state security forces. Three successive administrations--Presidents Fernando Belaunde, Alan Garcia, and Alberto Fujimori--used various strategies and methods to address the situation. During all three regimes, both state security forces and the insurgents committed grave human rights abuses (including assassinations, massacres, torture, forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and bombings).

Following President Alberto Fujimori’s resignation and Vladimiro Montesinos’s arrest due to corruption scandals, the Peruvian government and people have begun new investigations into past human rights cases (such as Lurigancho, Barrios Altos, and La Cantuta) and have established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In a speech presented at a forum on Truth Commissions and historical experience on February 2, 2001, then-Minister of Justice (current Foreign Minister) Diego García Sayan noted:

"We should be precise, therefore, about what kinds of acts have remained in the dark due to denial, indifference or loss of memory…We need to humanize the victims so that they will no longer be a mere statistic in official records. The majority of these disappearances affected poor peasants, the people that have always been forgotten in our country. That is why it is doubly necessary to know and to show what happened to them so that those marginalized and who have no voice obtain the respect that they have always been denied."(1)

The Mandate of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission

On June 4, 2001, transition President Valentin Paniagua signed decree 065-2001-PCM establishing the Truth Commission.  President Toledo affirmed his commitment to support the Truth Commission by signing decree 101-2001-PCM on September 4, 2001. The Truth Commission consists of twelve commissioners, an official observer, and an Executive Secretary.  The Commission expects to examine over 6,000 allegations of forced disappearances, assassinations, torture, kidnappings, and other grievous violations of human rights that date from May of 1980 through November 2000, and will investigate key cases in detail.  The Commission was given until November 13, 2001, to organize its staff and establish its rules and guidelines.  The review will last 18 months, until February 13, 2003, with the possibility of a 5-month extension. 

Although this Commission will not have judicial authority to prosecute, it will have the power to propose initiatives that it believes will affirm the peace, the rule of law, national reconciliation, and democracy.  President Toledo has repeatedly stated that he will implement fully the Commission’s recommendations.

The Truth Commission has 5 principal objectives:

  • To analyze the political, social, and cultural conditions that influenced the behavior of society and the State institutions and contributed to the tragic situation of violence that permeated Peru.

  • To contribute to the clarification of crimes and violations of human rights perpetrated by either terrorist organizations or agents of the State, including assassinations, detentions, forced disappearances, torture, violations of collective human rights in Andean communities, and other grave human rights violations.

  • To determine the whereabouts, identification, and situation of the victims, and if possible determine the responsible criminal parties.

  • To formulate a proposal of moral and material reparation for victims and their families.

  • And to recommend appropriate reforms and to establish mechanisms for the fulfillment of these recommendations.

  • Valuable Information in U.S. Government Archives 

    Access to declassified U.S. government documents would provide a significant contribution to the Commission's efforts.  A wealth of records exist within the archives of the various U.S. governmental agencies (Department of State, Department of Defense, CIA, DIA, DEA, etc.) which could shed abundant light on a range of key issues relating to human rights in Peru, including social, political and economic developments; U.S.-Peru relations; the origins of the civil conflict; details on specific human rights cases and information on the Peruvian
    intelligence and security apparatus controlled by Montesinos. 

    On January 7, 2002, the U.S. Embassy (Lima) posted a group of 38 documents in response to a request from the Peruvian Congress’s Townsend (formerly Waisman) Commission investigating Vladimiro Montesinos. (Click here to see the Archive’s analysis of the Embassy’s release.) While many of the documents handed over to the Townsend Commission concern corruption, a number of these documents deal specifically or in part with human right violations during the Fujimori administration. 

    In the past, the U.S. government has provided timely assistance to truth commissions and human rights investigations in Latin America by coordinating extensive interagency declassification reviews and providing thousands of declassified documents for Truth Commissions in both El Salvador and Guatemala, and to the Human Rights Ombudsman in Honduras.  These U.S. documents provided critical information on human rights violations, which significantly aided the work of these commissions. On November 27, 2001, the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission officially requested President Bush to provide similar assistance for expedited declassification of U.S. documents.

    The records highlighted in this electronic briefing book are a small sample of the quality of U.S. documentation that the Bush administration could provide to assist Peru in its investigation of truth and justice on human rights crimes.  In light of Peru’s new self-examination of past human rights abuses, providing an expedited interagency declassification review of documents on Peru is an essential component of the current U.S. policy of supporting Peru’s transition to democracy.  The alternative approach – expecting the Truth Commission to file time-consuming FOIA requests with half a dozen agencies in Washington – would take years to complete, leaving the Commission empty-handed in its search for the truth.

    [NOTE:  The following forty-one documents represent the most revealing and substantive declassified documents on human rights in Peru that the National Security Archive has already obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.  They range in date from February 1983 until April 1994, recording a progression of events through three Peruvian regimes while highlighting key human rights violations committed by government security forces, and Peruvian insurgents.  The documents were declassified in response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by National Security Archive staff, Lynda Davis and Tamara Feinstein.]

    Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
    You will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.
    Document 1
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Peruvian Terrorists Lose the Initiative, February 24, 1983, Secret, 8pp.
    This cable discusses the ramifications of President Belaunde’s decision to place the army in charge of maintaining public order in the Ayacucho emergency zone.  The military is called on to strengthen police forces by providing troops for defensive activities as well as offering transportation, communications, logistics and weaponry support.  The report states that this strategy has enabled the police to pursue more aggressive patrolling operations, and thereby reintroduced a government presence into many rural areas previously abandoned to Sendero influence.
    Document 2
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Peru’s President Belaunde Makes Surprise Visit to Emergency Zone, June 14, 1983, Confidential, 3 pp.
    President Belaunde visits the city of Ayacucho, in a move to demonstrate a united civil-military approach to terrorism and economic decay.  The document notes that opposition figures and the press have tended to view such occasions as a de-facto presidential endorsement of the counter-terrorist tactics employed by the security forces.  The cable also describes public criticisms and news editorials concerning the deaths and unknown fate of hundreds of persons detained by the military and the government’s unwillingness to offer the public any explanations.
    Document 3
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, GOP Bars March “For Peace and Justice” and Militarizes Lima, August 28, 1984, Confidential, 3 pp.
    The document describes the canceled march "for peace and justice" (intended to protest two prominent disappearances and recent reports of mass killings by both terrorist and military forces) that was scheduled for August 24, 1984 in downtown Lima.  A day prior to the demonstration, the government revokes its previous permission for the march and gives the military responsibility for maintaining public order.  To avoid a confrontation with the military, the IU (United Left) officially cancels the demonstration, although several IU leaders attempt to lead a smaller march.  After the military arrests 236 people the protest quickly dissipates, and within 48 hours 235 of the 236 arrested are released.
    Document 4
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Mass Grave Discovered in Emergency Zone, August 28, 1984, Confidential, 4 pp.
    Mass clandestine graves are discovered 36 kilometers from the city of Huanta.  This cable estimates that approximately 49 to 50 males and one female were killed in a methodical fashion and then subsequently disfigured to prevent identification.  While the government officially denies any responsibility for the atrocity, public opinion represented by both opposition and pro-regime press, have decidedly attributed the murders to government forces.
    Document 5
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Local District Attorneys Press Charges Against Marine Commander in Ayala Disappearance and Evangelical Killing Cases, February 26, 1985, Confidential, 2 pp.
    The U.S. Embassy describes criminal charges brought against Lt. Commander Alvaro Artaza Adrianzen, former head of the Marine garrison in Huanta.  The charges involve the August 1984 disappearance of journalist Jaime Ayala and the murder of six members of an evangelical church on August 1, 1984 in Callqui.  This is the first time since the military was granted authority over the emergency zones in December of 1982, that the state has attempted to prosecute military officers with command responsibility for criminal acts perpetrated against the civilian population.
    Document 6
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Reaction within Army to Removal of Generals Jamara and Mori, September 19, 1985, Confidential, 4 pp.
    On September 17, 1985, President Garcia removes Emergency Zone Generals Jarama and Mori, following the Senate Human Rights Commission's findings that an army patrol commander was responsible for the August 14th civilian massacre at Accomarca. Their removal represents the Garcia Administration's more general displeasure with the military’s overall record on human rights.  The handling of this affair provokes dissatisfaction within the military and concern among military officials that their own experiences in counter-insurgency operations may place them in danger of government reprisals.
    Document 7
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Alleged Navy Involvement in Disappearance of Naval Officer, March 6, 1986, Confidential, 3 pp.
    The document discusses the recent Supreme Court decision to have Lt. Commander Artaza stand trial in a civilian court for the 1984 disappearance of journalist Jaime Ayala, Artaza’s subsequent disappearance, and the government's pressure to stop the March 3rd edition of commentary program "Encuentros", believed to be critical of the Navy's involvement in Artaza’s disappearance.  The cable describes the President's difficult position in this matter, and acknowledges that the Navy was most likely involved in the disappearance of Artaza and a subsequent cover-up.
    Document 8
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, GOP Orders Investigations of Prison Deaths, June 23, 1986, Confidential, 5 pp. [NOTE: This document comes from a collection donated by free-lance journalist Jeremy Bigwood]
    The U.S. Embassy evaluates public and government responses to the June prison riots, which left at least 240 terrorist/prisoners dead, including calls for an independent investigation coming from the ongoing Socialist International Conference and others.  The document also includes a description of a governmental communiqué that acknowledges that the high death toll (no terrorist prisoners survived) leads it to believe that excesses did occur, and that it intends to investigate and punish any of those responsible.  The cable ends with a brief analysis of the political fallout that a truly independent investigation could bring on President Garcia, who himself ordered the military action, concluding that in this matter the military is unlikely to allow itself to be used as a scapegoat by the President.
    Document 9
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Garcia Declares 95 Police Arrested for Summary Executions at Lurigancho Prison, June 25, 1986, Confidential, 3 pp. [NOTE: This document comes from a collection donated by free-lance journalist Jeremy Bigwood]
    President Garcia announces the initial findings of the investigation into the Lurigancho prison riots, noting that the police had summarily executed 30-40 prisoners after the prisoners had surrendered. The Embassy warns that in comparison to previous human rights investigations into the Accomarca and Pucayacu massacres, this time “it may be difficult for Garcia to control the process he has set in motion.” The cable also questions how the police alone could have engaged in executions in an army-directed operation without the army also sharing the blame, and warns that Garcia will “have his hands full trying to avoid image that he is engaging in transparent scapegoating of police to avoid confrontation with military.”
    Document 10
    Department of State Cable, Garcia and the Military: Plea for International Support, June 28, 1986, Secret, 4 pp.
    Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead sends guidance to U.S. embassies in Latin America on how to address the current crisis in Peru. The cable highlights growing tensions between President Garcia and the armed forces over the Lurigancho prison riots and the subsequent investigation. Whitehead requests that the addressed embassy posts contact relevant officials to encourage Garcia to stop his confrontational approach to the Peruvian military in light of the growing terrorist threat.
    Document 11
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Current Crisis in Peru, June 30, 1986, Secret, 4 pp.
    This document describes the continued aftermath of the prison riots and massacres, including the probable resignation of the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior. Policemen arrested following the investigation into Lurigancho continue to be held by police authorities and have not been transferred to Canto Grande Prison as previously promised. Navy forces have also recently been implicated in the media of summarily executing prisoners in El Fronton prison. The cable also notes the possibility that Garcia may remove top military command officers, if it turns out the ultimate responsibility for the massacre lies with the joint command.
    Document 12
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, President Garcia Says Crisis Is Over, July 1, 1986, Secret, 2 pp.
    Embassy Political Counsel Felder and President Garcia meet and discuss the current domestic political situation, including the two prison riots at El Fronton and Lurigancho.  In the conversation Garcia clears the Navy of any responsibility for El Fronton, and says that while the Guardia Republicana was responsible for the excesses at Lurigancho, the joint military command could not be held accountable.  Garcia limits the possible responsibility for the Lurigancho massacre to General Rabanal, who he says would have to bear the consequences if he were found guilty.  In the conversation President Garcia goes on to say that while unfortunate, the crisis at the prisons would have the long-term positive effect of diminishing the capabilities of Sendero Luminoso, and that until terrorism could be eradicated, the Peruvian people would have to "learn to live with a high level of violence".
    Document 13
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Alleged Massacre at Pomatambo and Parcco, November 26, 1986, Confidential, 5 pp.
    The document discusses conflicting reports put forward by the military and independent journalists, over the killings of between 12 and 13 people in Ayacucho in October.  Military accounts claim that 13 guerrillas, including Sendero leader Camarada Caszelly, were killed in combat, while press reports, based on eye witness testimony, purport that security forces actually executed 12 civilians.  Local human rights groups question whether Senate investigations will be carried out (similar to the 1985 Senate Accomarca investigations) or will instead dissipate like the earlier investigations into the June prison killings.
    Document 14
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Embassy Visit to Ayacucho, January 21, 1987, Confidential, 18 pp.
    The U.S. embassy assesses the current situation in the South Central emergency zone of Ayacucho, following a two-day visit to this area in December.  The report provides an analysis of the following areas: terrorist and counter-terrorist operations, human rights abuses, political groups, development projects, and narcotics.  The paper concludes that the military maintains a strong hold on local government activities.
    Document 15
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Cayara: No Bodies Left, June 1, 1988, Confidential, 2 pp.
    This document describes the controversy surrounding the killings that occurred in or around Cayara, on May 14th and the student demonstrations in response to these killings.  According to the military, 16 guerillas died in a firefight with government forces in or near Cayara.  Other sources, including the Ayacucho Special Prosecutor Carlos Escobar, claim that the military executed at least 30 villagers before removing their bodies from the scene.  The military has denied the press, the ICRC, and other Peruvian human rights groups, access to the area.  While there is currently no decisive answer to this controversy since the victim's bodies have yet to be found, the cable implies that embassy officials are skeptical of the army's position, due to the large number of victims and the lack of military casualties.
    Document 16
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Memorandum of Conversation, Human Rights Abuses on the Increase, September 20, 1988, Confidential, 5 pp.
    This memorandum of conversation represents the opinions of an unknown interviewee.  Covered are the subjects of Sendero violence, which he predicts will escalate as the economy worsens; human rights abuses that he believes will continue to grow due to the current military mind-set; and the police/military's use of torture, which will remain unchanged because of ineffective investigative and detective techniques/procedures.
    Document 17
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, GOP Quashes the Cayara Massacre Report, November 10, 1988, Confidential, 3 pp.
    This cable discusses the problems of the investigation into the May 14th Cayara massacre, including conflicting eyewitness testimony.  Based on information from an embassy source and other reliable information, the document draws three main conclusions: some Cayara residents probably participated in ambushing the Army patrol; the Army did murder the residents of Cayara; and finally, the Army almost certainly tried to cover up their involvement.
    Document 18
    Defense Intelligence Agency Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary, Peru: SL Activity, December 14, 1988, 2 pp.
    The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) assesses recent Sendero Luminoso terrorist activity in Lima and Huaraz.  The actions discussed include the December 7th bombing of the national electric grid, the December 5th assassination of two French developmental workers and two Peruvian technicians, and the bombing of four hotels in Huaraz on December 1st.
    Document 19
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Sendero Massacres 39 Villagers, March 3, 1989, Confidential, 5 pp.
    This cable discusses Sendero Luminoso’s murder of 39 Canaire villagers in the Department of Ayacucho.  After giving a detailed account of the massacre, based on the testimony of survivors, the report mentions that human rights sources have speculated that the killings were in response to the villagers efforts to organize civil defense patrols to defend against Sendero attacks.  The document also suggests that the attack may have been related to illicit coca production in the Mantaro River Valley.
    Document 20
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Sendero Kills 14 Mayors in 10 Day Period, October 17, 1989, Confidential, 5 pp. 
    Sendero violence surges again, after a two-month period of inaction.  Specific information on the numbers of dead and positions they held are given, and speculation on how the government will handle the coming election in lieu of this violence is noted. The report also analyzes possible effects of this violence and comments that these actions have given Sendero a huge psychological advantage in their war with the government.
    Document 21
    Defense Intelligence Agency Cable, Peru: Insurgent Developments, May 1, 1990, 2 pp. 
    This DIA cable lists several of the recent terrorist attacks by Sendero Luminoso, and the affects they have had on the Satipo province. Noted effects have been the large migration of refugees into the major towns of Satipo and the closing of all the schools in the province.  Estimates from the Congressional Commission concerning the numbers of dead are included in the report.  The report concludes that Sendero is gaining strength and that with the 10-year anniversary of Sendero on May 17th and the runoff elections on June 3rd the level of violence in the countryside will probably continue to grow.
    Document 22
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Extrajudicial Executions in Ayacucho: Peruvian Military and Sendero Are Blamed, October 25, 1990, Confidential, 6 pp.
    The document discusses two separate mass killings, one committed by the guerrillas and one by the military.  The report indicates that the military patrol that committed the killings was under the control of a local military official known as “centurion,” who according to other embassy reports has operated with impunity in Huanta and may have been the “right-hand man” of Ayacucho’s political-military commander, General Fernandez-Davila.  The Fiscal and Regional President have attributed the killings to the “rondas” (civil defense patrols) or to the military and the Senate has unanimously approved the formation of a special commission to investigate the killings.  The report concludes that this episode represents the first test of President Fujimori’s commitment to enforce accountability on the military in their campaign against the guerrillas.
    Document 23
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Ambassador’s Human Rights Calls in Ayacucho, December 11, 1990, Confidential, 12 pp.
    U.S. Ambassador Quainton discusses human rights and political violence in Ayacucho with Emergency Zone Commander General Fernandez-Davila, the Public Ministry’s Chief Prosecutor, the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights, and the municipal authorities.  General Fernandez-Davila asserts that the frequency of military human rights abuses has been greatly exaggerated and that when excesses have occurred the responsible officials have been investigated and prosecuted.  Other local officials, including the acting Mayor and Prosecutors, acknowledge that there has been increased cooperation from the military authorities.  The report cites the military’s willingness to reveal the identity of “centurion” (Army Sergeant Johnny Jose Zapata Acuna), as an example of this new spirit of cooperation.  However, the document concludes that the General’s claims of Sendero’s military defeat is overly optimistic, and that despite noticeable signs of improvement in recent months the military’s human rights performance is “far from good” and that the army has not “entirely reformed”.
    Document 24
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Ayacucho Cop Describes Extra-Judicial Killings, December 19, 1990, Secret, 10 pp.
    In this cable released on appeal, U.S. Embassy Political Officers reveal their conversations with an Ayacucho police officer, who had been a member of a secret police hit squad. The officer details the activities of the death squad, noting 300 suspects were assassinated in 1989.  He explains how targets were selected and notes he even requested and received permission to kill two fellow police officers. The hit squad was disbanded in 1990 after a Sendero ambush seriously wounded or killed three of its four members. The cable notes the officer appeared “neither proud nor ashamed of his role as an extrajudicial assassin,” and seemed eager to tell his story to someone “official” since few (even within the police force) knew of the existence or activities of the hit squad.
    Document 25
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, In the Eye of the Storm: An Ayacucho Trip Report, Part I, December 20, 1990, Confidential, 19 pp.
    Ambassador Quainton describes in detail the situation of political violence and insurgency in Ayacucho, detailing the historical roots of the region and the current political and military situation. He notes that Ayacucho is of primary psychological importance to both Sendero Luminoso and the Peruvian government, even though it is of little strategic value. The document notes growing complaints that the leaders of the “rondas” (civil defense patrols) are often thugs and narco-traffickers. It also discusses allegations that the police kidnap young men, accuse them of terrorism and then ransom them to their families.
    Document 26
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Americas Watch Human Rights Inquiries, August 2, 1991, Confidential, 5 pp. 
    The U.S. Embassy attempts to uncover information on the Chuschi disappearances and cases involving the military's mistreatment of SUTEP (United Union of Education Workers of Peru) teachers in San Martin, in particular the alleged abuse of SUTEP teacher, Moises Tenorio Banda.  On both accounts, the politico-military chief of Ayacucho, General Martinez, is reported to have pleaded military innocence.  Sources (sanitized) consulted in this document have apparently written the Chuschi case off, barring a decision on the part of the military to cooperate in an investigation. The cable also suggests there is little hope that the Tenorio case will be resolved.
    Document 27
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, The Mind of the Beast: Sendero Luminoso Brutality, August 7, 1991, Confidential, 12 pp.
    This document presents a profile of Sendero Luminoso violence, speculates on the purpose and nature of the violence, and provides various examples of past and recent atrocities committed by Sendero. It concludes that Sendero is not pathological in its killing, but is “calm and dispassionate” in its violence, which is committed purely for ideological reasons.
    Document 28
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Barrios Altos Massacre: One Month Later, December 4, 1991, Secret, 2 pp.
    This update of developments in the investigation into the Barrios Altos massacre notes that the Peruvian government has demonstrated little “political will” to find the perpetrators of the crime, and that most now believe security forces were involved in the killing.
    Document 29
    Department of State Cable, Barrios Altos Massacre, December 12, 1991, Secret, 1 p.
    Secretary of State James Baker instructs the U.S. Ambassador in Lima to seek an appointment with President Fujimori in order to discuss the Barrios Altos massacre. This cable sets out the main talking points to be discussed. The Ambassador is to demonstrate deep U.S. concern over the handling of the Barrios Altos investigation and is to urge Fujimori to ensure that a vigorous investigation brings those responsible to justice. Baker highlights in particular the recent removal of the prosecuting attorney on the case as disturbing to the U.S. government.
    Document 30
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Barrios Altos Massacre, December 13, 1991, Secret, 1 p.
    Ambassador Quainton describes an interchange with various Peruvian officials (including President Fujimori), where Quainton expressed deep U.S. concern over the investigation into the Barrios Altos massacre. One unnamed official noted that the investigation was still active and opined that those responsible were probably a group of military and civilians seeking revenge for previous Sendero killings.
    Document 31
    Defense Intelligence Agency Cable, Sendero Luminoso Ground Activities in the Satipo-Mazamari Region, January 2, 1992, Secret, 6 pp.
    This cable reports various actions taken by Sendero in the Satipo-Mazamari region of Peru during the first half of 1991. It focuses on Sendero clashes with the Sinchi’s, and on Sendero assassinations of local authorities and rondero organizers. It provides the names and circumstances of death for various victims.
    Document 32
    U.S. Army Intelligence and Threat Analysis Center Report, Army Country Profile, June 15, 1992, Secret, 73 pp. [Excerpt]
    This partially excerpted report provides a broad overview of the political, economic and military situation in Peru, as well as a detailed description of the mission, structure, composition, personnel, and operations of the Peruvian military and intelligence forces. The report also provides a critique of the army’s counterinsurgency efforts, highlighting Peru’s deficiencies and suggests ways to reform their efforts. The second section of the report on intelligence and security profiles some of the key military and intelligence figures, including President Alberto Fujimori and Vladimiro Montesinos.
    Document 33
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Sendero Car Bombs ILD Think Tank: Continues Terrorism Wave, July 21, 1992, Confidential, 5 pp.
    This cable describes recent violent acts committed by Sendero Luminoso, including the bombing of Hernando de Soto’s Democracy and Liberty Institute (ILD) in the Miraflores district of Lima, killing five and injuring fifteen individuals. This bomb comes in the wake of the larger June 17th Sendero bombing, killing 18 individuals.
    Document 34
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Alleged Witness to Barrios Altos Massacre Wants to Speak Out – If He Can Leave Peru, January 3, 1993, Secret, 5 pp.
    A Peruvian army officer and member of the Army Intelligence/National Intelligence Service (SIE/SIN) group approaches the U.S. Embassy through an intermediary, stating his desire to speak out on the Barrios Altos massacre and other SIN related killings if he is provided safe conduct to another country. The officer claims he can link the killings to Presidential Adviser Vladimiro Montesinos. The embassy notes providing asylum for this officer would become a “major sore point in bilateral relations” with Peru, but on the other hand it would also support U.S. human rights goals in the country. The Embassy requests guidance from the State Department on what assistance they should offer to the officer.
    Document 35
    Department of State Cable, General Asks for Asylum at U.S. Embassy, Says Threat Tied to His Effort to Investigate Killings, May 6, 1993, Secret, 6 pp.
    General Rodolfo Robles makes a surprise request for asylum from the U.S. government, while making a farewell call on the U.S. Embassy with his family. While at the Embassy, Robles states he and his family are in imminent danger because he had passed information on the “La Cantuta” killings to the military judge reviewing the case. Robles states he is ready to go public with his allegations that Vlademiro Montesinos and Army Commander Hermoza were personally responsible for the death squads which carried out the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta murders, and that they are also linked to narco-trafficking. The Embassy notes Robles’ reputation in the army as a “straight-shooter” and warns his actions will be a “bombshell” in Peru.
    Document 36
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Retired General on Plotting in the Army and La Cantuta Investigation, May 22, 1993, Secret, 7 pp.
    This cable describes a conversation with a senior retired army general, on the “Comaca” group within the army, the Robles incident, and a possible congressional investigation into the La Cantuta disappearances. The officer characterizes as “absurd” the Peruvian government’s assertion that a congressional investigation into La Cantuta would break army morale. He notes that the investigation would mainly be a problem for Hermoza and Montesinos, but that if only low-ranking officers were charged army tensions would increase since army tradition required that Hermoza accept responsibility and not pin it on others. The officer suggested that only the U.S. could restrain President Fujimori.
    Document 37
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, [Excised] Says Army/SIN Death Squad Exists, May 24, 1993, Secret, 4 pp.
    The U.S. Embassy’s Political Counselor discusses death squad allegations with a Peruvian officer. The officer notes that the death squad was responsible for Barrios Altos and La Cantuta, and corroborates that the names listed by General Robles were correct. However, he notes that he will not speak out, since police and military officers are watched by the state “in Peru’s version of Germany under the Gestapo.”
    Document 38
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Army Officer Convicted in Accomarco Case Reportedly not Jailed, December 3, 1993, Secret, 2 pp.
    This document relates evidence that Captain Telmo Hurtado, who had been convicted in the 1985 Accomarca Massacre, is still on active duty and not in prison. The Embassy comments that if the information is true, it would negate any positive results from the initial conviction and seriously call into question the Peruvian government’s commitment “to address military impunity in human rights cases in the future.”
    Document 39
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Accomarca, Hurtado, and La Cantuta, December 30, 1993, Confidential, 5 pp.
    The Embassy Charge meets with an unnamed Peruvian military official, to discuss convicted Captain Telma Hurtado’s status. The Charge expresses grave concern that Hurtado is not serving his six-year sentence for the Accomarca massacre. The officer notes he would look into it but hypothesizes that Hurtado may have been released for time served before the conviction. He also notes the military’s commitment to the investigation into the La Cantuta disappearances.
    Document 40
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Eyewitness Reports from the Killings Site, April 20, 1994, Confidential, 11 pp.
    An unnamed Peruvian journalist describes his  “moving account of the death and destruction caused by a major army operation.” He details the harrowing trip he made, along with a small group of other journalists and human rights workers, to the Huanuco jungle region to investigate the massacre that took place there. After being led to the site of the massacred villagers by the surviving victims, the group then went to the Los Laureles Army Base in Tingo Maria and interviewed Colonel Javier Rivas Ramirez. Rivas went on to describe the army operations in the area.
    Document 41
    U.S. Embassy (Lima) Cable, Action Plan for Huanco Army Killing Allegations, April 21, 1994, Confidential, 5 pp.
    Human rights NGOs and journalists attribute the recent human rights abuses in Upper Huanuco Valley to the military's counter-terrorist operations.  While the document asserts that the U.S. Embassy has not been able to confirm these reports, some of which calculate the death toll as high as 100, the Embassy does consider them to be credible.  The report goes on to suggest an appropriate high-level response by the governments of the United States, Japan, and the European Union.  These responses would seek to effectively pressure the Fujimori government to permit open access to the zone by non-governmental human rights groups (especially the ICRC) and follow through with the civilian and military investigations now underway.  The report acknowledges that the Fujimori government has been upset by past U.S. criticisms over human rights, and emphasizes that any new efforts would need to be made at the highest levels of government and in conjunction with the other major powers.


    1.  "Precisemos, entonces, que clase de hechos han sido ensombrecidos por la negación, la indiferencia o el olvido. Humanizar a las víctimas y que dejen de ser mera estadística en los archivos oficiales. La mayor parte de estas desapariciones afectaron a campesinos pobres, la gente siempre olvidada en nuestro país. Por ello, es doblemente necesario conocer y exhibir lo ocurrido para que los marginados y los "sin voz" tengan el respeto que les ha sido negado."

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