Peruvian President Alan García yesterday declared a 60-day state of emergency in the regions of Huánuco, Ucayali and San Martín following reports of increased narco-terrorist activity. The declaration suspends certain constitutional rights and freedoms like the freedom to celebrate meetings.
The decision was taken in the aftermath of an attack last month on a Peruvian police outpost that killed two civilians and one police officer and in light of pleas from Defense Minister Rafael Ray, who claims he has received death threats and requires more security.
The declaration came on the day of the 30th anniversary of the first terrorist attack by Sendero Luminoso (May 17, 1980). The 20-year guerrilla war that ensued claimed 70,000 lives and saw a dramatic rise in coca cultivation and cocaine trafficking in Peru. Today Peru is the world’s second-biggest producer of coca leaf, and the VRAE is the highest producing region in the country.
Although they lack the organization and numbers of the original Sendero, splinter groups are still operating in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers region and continue to engage in violence and trafficking.