U.S. intelligence activities in Peru

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For more information, see: U.S. intelligence activities in the Western Hemisphere.

Peru, according to the CIA World Factbook, returned to democratic leadership in 2001, after the ouster of the Fujimori government. Fujimori had been democratically elected in 1990, ending 12 years of military rule, but he became increasingly authoritarian.

General CIA reference

Political analysis

"A caretaker government oversaw new elections in the spring of 2001, which ushered in Alejandro Toledo as the new head of government - Peru's first democratically elected president of Native American ethnicity. The presidential election of 2006 saw the return of Alan Garcia who, after a disappointing presidential term from 1985 to 1990, returned to the presidency with promises to improve social conditions and maintain fiscal responsibility.

Economic analysis

"Peru's economy reflects its varied geography - an arid coastal region, the Andes further inland, and tropical lands bordering Colombia and Brazil. Abundant mineral resources are found in the mountainous areas, and Peru's coastal waters provide excellent fishing grounds."(see Vessel monitoring system#Peru).

Peru's economic dependency on minerals and metals, coupled with a lack of infrastructure, renders it vulnerable to the world markets. "After several years of inconsistent economic performance, the Peruvian economy grew by more than 4% per year during the period 2002-06, with a stable exchange rate and low inflation. Growth jumped to 7.5% in 2007, driven by higher world prices for minerals and metals. Risk premiums on Peruvian bonds on secondary markets reached historically low levels in late 2004, reflecting investor optimism regarding the government's prudent fiscal policies and openness to trade and investment. Despite the strong macroeconomic performance, underemployment and poverty have stayed persistently high. Growth prospects depend on exports of minerals, textiles, and agricultural products, and by expectations for the Camisea natural gas megaproject and for other promising energy projects. Upon taking office, President Garcia announced Sierra Exportadora, a program aimed at promoting economic growth in Peru's southern and central highlands.


Chile and Ecuador rejected Peru's November 2005 unilateral legislation to shift the axis of their joint treaty-defined maritime boundaries along the parallels of latitude to equidistant lines which favor Peru; organized drug trade operations in Colombia have penetrated Peru's shared border; Peru rejects Bolivia's claim to restore maritime access through a sovereign corridor through Chile along the Peruvian border[1]

Specific CIA activities

Peru 1963

A NIE addressed the "prospect for an elected civil government" and the problems it would face. The first conclusion was that pressures for change, in a society going through urbanization and industrialization, would take many years to relieve.

The country went under the control of now a junta that seized power in July 1962, to prevent the Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA), a radical leftist but anti-Communist party established in 1924. APRA was originally revolutionary but now seeks to participate in the political process. The junta has failed to create a coalition that would be sure to defeat APRA, in the election it committed to have in June 1963.

Since the military can control the outcome, they would do whatever they considered necessary to prevent leftists such as APRA, or Communist groups, taking power. The security apparatus is capable of dealing with anything short of a major uprising or guerrilla war.

"In the past, Peruvian Governments have been unwilling to make the sacrifices or to risk the political liabilities of programs aimed at bringing about fundamental social and economic change. Now, however, Peru faces a situation in which political stability is becoming more and more dependent on the ability and disposition of governments to respond effectively to popular demands for economic well-being and security. This situation augurs a breakup of the existing structure of the Peruvian society and economy. Unless the forces of moderation are able to bring about orderly change, radical leadership will probably get the chance to try its method."[2]

Peru 1997

As early as 1997, the State Department annual human rights report's chapter about Peru described the massive power SIN had acquired under Vladimiro Montesinos, head of the Peruvian National Intelligence Service's (Spanish: Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional or SIN) direction and its use against domestic political opponents. Despite those concerns, arms sales to the Fujimori regime by the U.S. government and U.S.-licensed companies nearly quadrupled in 1998 to $4.42 million, compared to $1.17 million in 1997.[3]

Also in 1997, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research alerted the intelligence community to growing concerns about Montesinos, who very close to President Alberto Fujimori. "But in 1996 Fujimori began a slow decline in popularity as his constituency among the ruralcand urban poor started to tire of austerity measures that seemed to yield no appreciable benefits. Opposition grew in other sectors as well, questioning such heavy-handed tactics as the Fujimori-controlled congress's constitutional interpretation allowing the president to run for a third term in 2000, the refusal to allow an investigation into narcocorruption charges against powerful national security adviser Valdimiro Montesinos, and a botched kidnapping by intelligence agents of a dissident retired general...These latest incidents conform to a pattern of arrogant, authoritarian behavior evident in Montesinos's large and unexplained income, continuous harassment of opposition figures and journalists, and the grisly murder of an army intelligence agent and the torture of another by their own organization[4]

Peru 1998

According to a New York Times report, Jordanian officials asked the CIA station chief in Amman, United States object if Jordan sold 50,000 surplus AK-47 assault rifles to the Peruvian military? After checking with embassy diplomatic and military personnel, CIA headquarters, but not with the State Department, the Jordanians were told that the US had no objections to the transaction. Subsequently, however, CIA told the Clinton Administration that the surplus rifles did not go to Peru, but to guerrillas in Colombia. Peru has had a long-standing border dispute with Ecuador, and US sources said that Peruvian arms purchases, due to that conflict, which involved open warfare in 1995, should have been closely monitored.[5] The CIA station in Lima, Peru had been notified, but the matter was not discussed with Peruvian security officials on the basis of respecting the Jordanian confidence.

On the Peruvian side, the transaction was arranged by Montesino, working through an arms broker, Sarkis Soghanalian, who said he did not know the guns were going other than to Peru, and he had received End user certificate (EUC) for them.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

Gen. Julio Salazar Monroe, Rozas' predecessor at SIN from 1991 to 1998, and the last head of SIN, Rear Adm. Humberto Rozas Bonuccelli, both said, according to the Center for Public Integrity, "they ran the National Intelligence Service in name only and that Montesinos was its de facto chief. Montesinos had Fujimori's authority to manage his own state funds and personnel without any oversight, Rozas said. '"Montesinos had a very independent way of working and it was compartmentalized. He had his own private revenues...had a group of people that worked exclusively for him, even though no one knew how many they were or who they were.'Rozas said he discovered Montesinos' role in the arms sale to the FARC with the help of unspecified 'American' intelligence agents, who provided him with photocopies of documents concerning the transaction. The Americans, Rozas said in court testimony, "wanted an investigation to be carried out to determine if the Peruvian army had bought these arms.' U.S. Embassy officials told ICIJ that it was the CIA that provided documents about the arms deal to Rozas."

Rozas first met with CIA personnel, with respect to the arms sale, on Aug. 10, 2000. Eleven days later, after he had begun an investigation, Fujimori and Montesinos announced they had uncovered arms smuggling on August 21, declaring "that a serious blow against an arms trafficking ring had taken place, 'in which not one Peruvian intelligence agent is compromised' The Organization of American States was pressuring Peru to restructure and reform the duties of the SIN at the time, which may be why Fujimori attributed the 'notable success' of the operation to the SIN amd Montesinos. 'After they received the documents, they rushed to publicize the case. This was a political decision,' testified Rozas. The Peruvian judge hearing the case asked Rozas, 'What would have happened if the documents from the American intelligence agents had not been delivered to you, but instead only to Vladimiro Montesinos? Would the arms trafficking have been uncovered?' The ex-SIN head replied, 'Most likely, no.'"[3]

"Angered by cuts in U.S. aid ordered by Congress in response to reports of abuses by the SIN, Fujimori called the sting operation "Plan Siberia" and said it was much smaller, yet more effective than Washington's $1.3 billion Plan Colombia.

Peru 2004

Montesinos' first of 60 trials started in 2004.[3] His defense[6] According to BBC correspondent Hannah Hennessy, he is already serving nine years in a high security naval base near Lima after being convicted for lesser offences and has yet to face other charges including alleged involvement in death squad killings. Henesssy called him "The right hand man of former President Alberto Fujimori, Montesinos effectively ran Peru from the shadows throughout the 1990s"


  1. Central Intelligence Agency, Peru, The World Factbook
  2. Central Intelligence Agency (1 May 1963), NIE 97-63, Political Prospects in Peru, vol. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Volume XII, American Republics, FRUS XII-429
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Center for Public Integrity, U.S. Shrugged Off Corruption, Abuse in Service of Drug War Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "CPI2000" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "CPI2000" defined multiple times with different content
  4. State Department, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (July 31, 1997). Peru, Freefall.
  5. Golden, Tim (November 6, 2000), "C.I.A. Links Cited on Peru Arms Deal That Backfired", New York Times
  6. "Montesinos arms trial to call CIA: The court in the trial of Peru's disgraced former intelligence chief is to call on the director of the CIA to testify on his relationship with him.", BBC News, 21 January, 2004