TUPAC AMARU REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT: GROWING THREAT TO US INTERESTS IN PERU

Created: 3/28/1991

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Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement: GrowtogTlireat to US Interests in Peru |

Summary

The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) in Peru has sharply increased its anti-US attacks and has used more lethal tactics since the beginning of tbe year, making it one of the greatest terrorist threats to US interests in South America. Its declaration of 'war" on the United States and other members of the Persian Gulf coalition in mid-January, which was followed by an RPG attack against the US Embassy in Lima, underscored its strong anti-US agenda. The MRTA's moreard-core members are highly trained and well armed, and theyare capable of carrying out well-planned and sophisticated attacks. "

Organua tioiuil Structure

Thearxist-Leninist organization determined to seize power to rid Peru of "impcriiiist" presence, specifically US influence. It first surfaced inhen it bombed Ihe US Marine security guard residence inhe group is highly trained, well armed, employs sophisticated and disciplined tactics and methods, and specializes in urban terrorism. Its well-educated leaders come largely from the middle and upper-middle classes. Members include students, professors and other intellectuals, labor leaders, lawyers, and reporters. The rural columns of MRTA also recruit from the peasantry for their military units. |

MRTAuban-style command structure similar to other Marxist-Leninist insurgency and pre-insurgency groups in Latin America, such as theeration Armies (ELK) in Colombia and Bolivia eaaaaaaSaaaaaaliBBBSLV

B>ssjBaj|ihc group is directedational Executive Committee, which controls the military forces in conjunctionigh Command. The High Command supervises military operations and is composed of five committees-Political, known as the Popular Democratic Union; Intelligence and Security; Support and Logistics; Communications; and Military. Members work their way up from political activities to military operations as they are trained and prove their abilities. Security measures are well nlanned and strict, both within the cells and on an individual level,

We believe MRTA hasard-core members, with another several thousand supporters and sympathizers. Many MRTA members are full-time professional combatants whoalary from the organization; some have participated in the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) insurgency in El Salvador and the National Liberation Army in Colombia,

Financing MRTA Subversive Activities

MRTA supports its activities largely through bank robberies, kidnappings, and extortionRTA carried our several bank robberiesnd its kidnapping and exiortion activities have stepped up in recent months. Directors of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain in Lima received "almost daily" demands from the MRTA during January' and February for taxes,"and one director has left the country to avoid being kidnapped. ThcMRTA

celebrates the anniversaryhen Tupac Amaruood heir io ibe lnca ihrone.loody and futile rebellion against ihe Spaniards.

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usually demandsndOO from businesses in extortion

The MRTA also has received help from Cuba and Libya. Havanafunding to the group in

theits assistance to the group

appears lo be atback

Marxist United Left Coalition in Peru.

JMRTA was suffering severe economic problems at the time of its0 National Congress held in ihe city uf Huara. The organization'no longer" receiving firm support from the Soviet Union, Cuba, or Nicaragua; had not received enough "taxes" from the narcotics traffickers lo cover MRTA's expenses; and had experienced further hardship from Fujimori's economic shock program.

group also has provided recent financial aidmall Bolivian terrorist organization, the Nestor Paz Zamora Commission (CNPZ) wing nf the National Liberation Army.

aajjjMfMafj We believe the improvement in financing may be, in part, the result of the groups' increased kidnapping and exortion activities in recent months. Given Libya's past support of the group, Tripoli may have recently provided limited funding.

Shifts and Splits

MRTA attacks since last November appear to depart from the practice of trying to minimize casualties and collateral damage. The group probably calculates thai international attention lo the Gulf crisis provides an unparalleled propaganda opportunity, outweighing the risk of damage to its popular support that might result from civilian deaths and injuries. Several recent MRTA attacks, including car bombings, have taken place during the day and when passersby were within range. In an afternoon bombing in January against Ihe offices of the Interior Ministry, for example, two people were killed, as manythers were injured, and property damage occurredix-block

a

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area. Most post MRTA actions in Lima have used less-destructive ordnance and generally have been at night or after tbe group had first warned civilians to clear the area. |

MRTA's recent bolder actions may alsorowing dominance of hardliners within its leadership.

leaders, including Nestor Cerpa and Alberto Garvez, prevailed in an internal leadership dispute with moderate military commander Victor Polay late last yearossible dialogue with the government. We believe that the faction aligned with Polay was discredited internally by bis "peace" overtures. It was shortly after the dispute that MRTA's central committee directed the current military offensivej

External Contacts

The MRTA has links to several other South American terrorist/insurgent organizations that hold similar ideologies and command structures. It also has support groups in Western Europe.

- Tbe Nestor Paz Zarnora Commission/National Liberation Army

(CNPZ/ELN) terrorist group, which attacked ihe US Embassy's Marine guard residence in La Paz, Bolivia ins receiving operational support-including on-the-scene advisors-from MRTA.

support groups in

MRTA organization has well-th Sweden and France. These groups

provide money, medicine, dc4hing, and political support

Tbe Current Scene-The United Statesarget

Like most Latin American Marxist-Leninist subversive groups, the MRTA is strongly opposed to US official and commercial presence in tbe region. Since it began terrorist operationshe organization has hit US targetsimes. US official facilities and personnel. Mormon churches, and US commercial establishments and theirPeruvian and foreign-have been attacked most frequently. |

The MRTA declared "war" on the United States in1 and labeled all US installations, personnel, and economic enterprises in Peru as legitimateSince the beginning of the year, the MRTA has mentioned some aspect of the Middle East crisis in nearly every claim it has made for attacks against US interests. It carried out at leastttacks against US interests betweenanuary andarch,eruvian deaths and overnjuries. Some of the more significant attacks include:

anuary: Annd automatic weapons were fired at the US

anuary

January

January

2 February

2 February

Embassy by the MRTA, causing extensive property damage. Small-arms fire was exchanged between the Peruvian police and the attackers.

A car bomb exploded in the parking lot at the Jorge Chavez International Airport, killing two persons and injuring ten others.

The MRTA hurled bombs over the wall of the US/Peruvian Bi-National Center in Miraflores and at the US Embassy warehouse. It alsoust of President Kennedy-injuring two persons-and planted an explosive charge outside the Italian Embassy.

The MRTA fired three mortar rounds at the US Embassy's commissary, causing substantial damage, but no injuries.

A Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant was totally destroyedombing. Four persons were injured, one seriously.

MRTA sprayed the US Ambassador's residence with automatic weapons fire, causing no injuries and little damage.

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NOFORN NOCONTRACT ORCON

9 February MRTA used explosives and machine guns to attack the Peruvian security company that provides security guards for the US Embassy. Two persons were killed and seven wounded.

ebruary MRTA bombed three Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants simultaneously. Six persons were injured. |

| the MRTA believes the US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf used the pretext of the liberation of Kuwait to gain control over the world's oil supply. As US oil companies continue to develop Peru's potentially substantial oil reserves, MRTA probably will elaborate on this same theme to justify further anti-US attacks. I

Peru's Ineffective Counterterrorism Program

resource constraints, poor intelligence.

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The government appears to be increasing its counterterTorist efforts, but

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noforn nocontract orcon

I limit its effectiveness.

a judicial reform proposal that would milce it

easier to prosecute terrorist crimes, promised by President Fujimori, has yet to be implemented.

Outlook

The MRTA poses one of the most serious terrorist threats to US interests in Latin Americahreat thai may extend beyond the borders of Peruesult of the group's ties with other Latin American terrorist groups. MRTA is likely lo continue its terrorism campaign against US interests because purging Peru of foreign influence is central to the group's political agenda. In addition, MRTA attacks during the Gulf Crisis have brought the group increased political notoriety, which probably has encouraged the leadership lo continue its more violent tack. In an effort to balance the short-term propaganda benefits of major attacks with long-terra goals of toppling the government and removing US presence, the group probably will try to keep Peruvian civilian casualtiesinimum, focusing on Peruvian government and US targets. |

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