The New Year's Military-Civilian Uprising in Peru

"We may be through with the past but the past is not through with us."

- Ricky Jay (from the film "Magnolia")

A New Year's Eve rebel uprising takes the police station, and several blocks, by surprise, in the Peruvian town of Andahuyalas. The insurgents include - according to a report by Reuters - at least seven women soldiers. Their spokesman - Major Antauro Humala - is one of two brothers who led a similar rebellion against president-dictator Alberto Fujimori, a largely symbolic uprising that led to Fujimori's downfall.

The other brother - Ollanta Humala - was recently purged from Peru's military and is in a kind of reserve exile in South Korea, where he had been sent as the military attaché of his country's Embassy.

The rebels, according to Reuters, believe "in nationalizing industry and legalizing the coca crops that make cocaine." And they call for the resignation of President Alejandro Toledo - currently at only nine-percent support according to public opinion polls - as they did against Fujimori in the year 2000.

Today, in the town square, after shaking the nation and the hemisphere with this bold act, Major Antauro Humala announced that at noon tomorrow (Monday) his 200-plus soldiers will lay down their arms and turn themselves in.

There are two recent historic parallels: One in Mexico, the other in Venezuela... And history, again, as a New Year begins, knocks on the door of our América... It was 11-years-ago to the date that the indigenous Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials) uncloaked in Chiapas, Mexico, offering the first resistance to centralized global economic powers on the first day that the North American Free Trade Agreement was to take effect and begin the systematic looting of Mexico's natural and human wealth.

And the military officer Humala's announcement that he will surrender, so quickly into the revolt, is reminiscent of the day in 1992 when a young military officer in Venezuela named Hugo Chavez turned himself in after a similar revolt, telling the TV cameras that he was retreating, "por ahora..."

"For now...."

I don't know where this is going. But I sense - because past is usually prologue - that this is the shot across the bow that may change Peru's trajectory from Toledo's neoliberal obedience to the "war on drugs' and the savage capitalist impositions that its money-laundering black-market sustains... to a new era more in harmony with the advances underway in most of the rest of this hemisphere.


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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.