Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I am pleased to congratulate the Government of Peru for the capture of terrorist leader Abimael Guzman, on September 12, by members of Peru's Counter-Terrorism Directorate.
Abimael Guzman's terrorist group, Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path as it is known in English, has shaken Peru's fragile democracy, and has instilled fear in every Peruvian. Since 1980, the Shining Path's terror campaign has cost over 25,000 lives and resulted in $20 billion in economic damage.
Today, people throughout the hemisphere are relieved that Abimael Guzman--the leader of Shining Path--is behind bars in a Lima prison, and is standing trial.
Guzman wants to impose a Communist dictatorship on Peru. A Marxist philosophy professor in a province of Peru, Guzman went to China in 1965, just as it was beginning its cultural revolution. There, he was instructed in the people's war doctrine of Mao Tse Dong, and in how to organize clandestine political and terrorist activity.
When Guzman returned to Peru, he became a leader of the pro-Chinese faction of the Communist Party of Peru. By 1970, he had
formed the Shining Path on the precept that Peruvian society had to be absolutely razed to the ground, before it could be recreated in his own image.
Shining Path quickly became a cult of mass murderers. In 1976, Guzman's followers were already training with weapons. By 1980, just as President Belaunde was reestablishing democracy in Peru, Shining Path declared war against the Peruvian people.
Five thousand armed guerrillas ultimately came under Guzman's spell. Guzman tells his followers to idolize Stalin and Mao. He teaches them that the Russians, Cubans, and even the People's Republic of China and North Korea are weak and not true Communists. Guzman tells his followers that they have to `cross a river of blood' in order to build Peru's new society and kill over 1 million Peruvians.
Even more alarming, Guzman's aims extend far beyond Peru. Shining Path seeks to reunite the old Inca Empire. Guzman's terrorists threaten not only Peru, but Ecuador, Colombia, and Bolivia as well.
Mr. President, like so many of the Communist terrorist groups which have plagued Latin America, Shining Path, under Guzman's leadership, finances itself with the proceeds from narcotics trafficking--the trade which has destroyed so many of the young people in the United States.
Peru produces over 60 percent of the world's coca supply, and most of that coca is produced in the Upper Huallaga Valley. By 1986, the Shining Path terrorists gained control of much of the Upper Huallaga Valley. Now they charge both the coca growers and the narcotics traffickers in the valley for protection from their guerrillas. In this way, Shining Path now has steady revenue of up to $100 million annually, and it has access to highly sophisticated war materiel and explosives.
Untold massacres by Peru's Shining Path have driven millions of peasants to flee to the shanty towns around Lima and Peru's other major cities. Car bombs have turned many of Lima's buildings into pockmarked shells. In its July 1992 offensive alone, Shining Path made 293 attacks throughout Peru that left 179 people dead and thousands of other people wounded and homeless. Shining Path epitomizes the connection between terrorism and drugs, death and destruction.
For 12 years, many foreign observers believed that the Shining Path terrorists could not be stopped by the Peruvian authorities. When President Fujimori came to power and vowed to end the menace of Shining Path by 1995, many of his critics scoffed.
Mr. President, the tools the Peruvian Government has at its disposal are inadequate. Most of its soldiers have little counterinsurgency training, few bullets for their weapons, and are paid less than $50 a month.
However, President Fujimori has quietly and methodically laid the groundwork for a counterterrorism strategy which has already begun to pay dividends. Fujimori has streamlined the trial and sentencing process. He has toughened sentences for convicted terrorists and drug traffickers. He has taken steps to overhaul the prison system.
Fujimori has stressed strong intelligence and police detective work, and has tried to capture the terrorist leaders. Even before Guzman was captured, Victor Polay, the leader of Peru's other major terrorist group, the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, was behind bars.
In fact, Guzman's capture was made possible, in part, because of the previous capture of members of the Shining Path's intelligence apparatus. Such notable Shining Path figures as Elena Iparraguirre, Guzman's second in commnd; German Sipian, Shining Path's national coordinator; and Gilberto Iparraguirre, the head of Shining Path's main hit squad in Lima, have been captured in recent weeks and are all behind bars and awaiting trial.
Abimael Guzman is called the Fourth Sword of Marxism and considered infallible by his fanatical followers. Guzman's capture has destroyed this myth and revealed this man for what he is: a narcoterrorist and a petty would-be tyrant. Peru's police authorities have decapitated the leadership of Shining Path, and restored some measure of confidence to the people of Peru.
Mr. President, now comes the true test of the policies which President Fujimori has implemented. Can his government hold Guzman? Can it resist corrupt attempts to buy off officials which allow Guzman to escape? Can the Peruvian Government keep Guzman from operating his narcoterrorism ring from his jail cell? I hope so.
Just as President Fujimori is tackling the Shining Path terrorists, so he is attempting to turn around the country's economy. Every member of this body hopes that President Fujimori will firmly establish democracy in Peru. The Peruvian people appear to overwhelmingly support his efforts, and they have continually expressed their approval of his struggle against the terrorists and the drug traffickers. Peru is now laying the foundation for a free and more democratic society. Hopefully, the Peruvians will celebrate another victory on November 22, when they elect a Constituent Congress and begin their work to restore constitutional democracy.
Mr. President, in Peru, we are watching a brave people struggle against seemingly impossible odds. When they've made mistakes, we've let them know about it. When they've needed help, we've given aid, but the Peruvian people have borne the brunt of Sendero's ferocious onslaught and the world has understood little about the ordeal that they have had to undergo.
But the Peruvians have not given up. Despite all their difficulties, they are still fighting for freedom from the terror of drugs and terrorism. They have earned their tremendous victories against the terrorist Abimael Guzman and his followers.
Mr. President, I believe that it is important that we stand up and support publicly those countries who score successes in the war against drugs and terrorism. That is why I offered this amendment.
I specifically want to thank the senior senator from Connecticut for working with me on this amendment. And I thank my colleagues for their bipartisan support.