By Jose Ruiz
U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs
LIMA, Peru -- U.S. Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander of U.S. Southern Command, wrapped up a four-day visit to Peru today after meeting with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, as well as Peru’s Minister of Defense and top military leaders to discuss continued defense cooperation between the two countries.
During his stay, Peruvian military leaders took Fraser to visit the South American country’s Apurimac and Ene River Valley, where Peruvian troops and police conduct operations against the Shining Path, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization that has waged war against Peru’s democratic institutions for almost three decades.
According to a U.S. State Department report on terrorism published in August, Peruvian authorities nearly eliminated the Shining Path in the ‘90s, but “the organization, now entwined with narcotics trafficking,” continues to threaten security in the country.
While in Lima, Fraser met with Peruvian soldiers receiving treatment at a military hospital, including several soldiers wounded by small arms fire and mines while conducting operations against factions of the Shining Path in remote regions like the VRAE.
U.S. security cooperation with Peru includes support to help the South American nation address security threats within its borders, and build capacity to support other missions of mutual interest, including humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peacekeeping operations.
Accompanied by Peruvian Minister of Defense Daniel Mora during a press conference in Peru’s capital, Fraser spoke about the positive military relationship between the U.S. and Peru.
“Our armed forces have a long history of friendship that has allowed us to forge strong, collaborative ties, work to contribute to hemispheric security, and counter shared challenges,” Fraser said.
“It is our desire to continue the strong military cooperation between our countries, and we’re committed to working closely with Peru and the region to confront the challenges we face together, including the threat of narco-terrorist groups like Sendero Luminoso [Shining Path],” he said.
Fraser’s latest visit to Peru is his fourth as SOUTHCOM commander, and included first-time meetings with President Humala and Minister Mora.