Prensa Latina – 2008-06-02 00:14:56
US Troops to Carry Guns in Peru
LIMA (,June 1, 2008) — The Peruvian government tacitly admitted the possibility that the US troops to be deployed in the central region of Ayacucho fight irregular forces acting in the area. Defense Minister Antero Flores-Araoz tried to justify that foreign troops carry assault rifles, responding to criticisms by opposition Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP) leader Ollanta Humala, who recalled that according to the law, only Peruvian soldiers can carry such weapons within the country.
The minister told Andina news agency that the presence of armed groups in the Ayacucho region may force US soldiers to carry guns for their own protection. The government has stated that foreign troops are coming to construct water wells and classrooms. Humala noted that such mission does not justify American soldiers carrying guns. He pointed out that Peruvian engineers and constructors can do those works.
The entry of US troops to Peru was approved by the ruling party and conservative groups in Congress, which also accepted the entrance of military groups to Ayacucho between last May and next September.
The PNP parliamentary group has denounced that the government and most of legislative majority had passed some 30 entry permissions for US soldiers between 2007 and this year. They fear it might be related to the possibility of creating a US military base in Peruvian territory.
Peruvians to Protest US Presence
LIMA (June 1, 2008) — Social organizations called to a general strike to protest against the presence of US troops in Ayacucho, in central Peru.
The general strike will take place on July 8, according to a decision taken by the Ayacucho Defense Front after it was announced that 70 US American soldiers had been deployed in the area. Another 350 military troops will arrive soon.
Front chairman Iver Maravi said protesters will demand the withdrawal of the foreign troops, because its presence, which was approved by congressional conservative forces, goes against national sovereignty and dignity.
Army chief Gen. Edwin Donayre claimed the US troops will only perform humanitarian tasks, without settling a permanent base in Peru.
However, former Army officer and opposition leader Ollanta Humala ruled out Donayre”s words. Humala said the water wells and school classrooms to be built by the American troops can be built by Peruvian workers and engineers.
Former Minister of Defense and Congressman David Waisman agreed with military analyst Jose Robles on that the Ministry of Defense is lacking transparency regarding the number of US military troops that has been authorized to enter Peru.
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