Peruvian Military Personnel Honored for Historic 1997 Rescue Mission

first_imgBy Dialogo June 13, 2016 The MRTA reached prominence during the 1980s, when it had as many as 1,000 combatants. According to Retired Army General Eduardo Fournier, the MRTA’s activities were concentrated in the Amazonian regions and the Andean departments of Pasco, Junín, Cusco, and Puno. The Commandos used explosives simultaneously in three rooms on the first floor. The first explosion killed three hostage-takers. Through the hole created by that blast and the other two explosions, 30 Commandos stormed into the building, chasing the surviving MRTA members to stop them before they could reach the second floor. Commandos killed all 14 MRTA terrorists during the assault, during which 71 of 72 hostages were rescued. Carlos Giusti Acuña, a member of the Supreme Court, was the lone hostage who died, along with two Commandos. A daring rescue The awards honored the important role the Military plays in fighting terrorism, a battle that is shared by the Armed Forces and civil authorities, according to Council for Peace President Francisco Diez-Canseco. “The value found in [the commanders’] actions is greater than any problem. The unity they demonstrated in order to come out unscathed is an example for the country and represents Peru’s success over terrorism.” Shortly after the takeover, the International Committee of the Red Cross began acting as an intermediary between the Peruvian government and the terrorists. The hostages included several high-ranking Peruvian Military officials, including Máximo Rivera, the chief of the Peruvian Police’s Counter-Terrorism Office, and former chief Carlos Domínguez. Other hostages included Alejandro Toledo, a future president of Peru. The 24 Japanese hostages included President Fujimori’s mother and younger brother. Importance of teamwork The MRTA conducted attacks on law enforcement, kidnappings, bank robberies, and car bombings. “Currently, the MRTA – in contrast with Shining Path – has not shown any activity in the cities where they were operating,” said Retired Gen. Fournier, emphasizing the importance of intelligence gathering in the fight against terrorism. Retired Army General José Williams Zapata, who was in charge of the Military operation, remembers that teamwork was crucial for the operation’s success. “We know exactly what we had to do to successfully work as a team. We were a team from the Armed Forces with the best specialists, and we had to spring into action in order to achieve our objectives.” The terrorists, who were armed with AKM rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, explosives, and dynamite, demanded the release of 465 of their incarcerated counterparts, the abolition of what they alleged were cruel and inhumane conditions in Peruvian prisons, and a revision of the government’s free market reforms. The terrorists released most of the hostages soon after the attack but kept 72. In the final phase of the coordinated assault, another group of Commandos emerged from two tunnels that led to the residence’s backyard, where Soldiers quickly scaled the ladders that had been placed for them. They blew out a grenade-proof door on the second floor so hostages could be evacuated through it. They also made two openings in the roof to allow Commandos to kill the MRTA terrorists upstairs before they could execute the hostages. Astudillo highlighted the efforts of the Chavín de Huántar Commandos, who trained day and night for the mission. They even practiced storming a replica of the Japanese Embassy while blindfolded. César Astudillo – then-Inspector General of the Army and the eldest of the officers who participated in Operation Chavín de Huántar – emphasized that rescuing the hostages was the primary goal to prevent the terrorists from reaching their goal of bringing “a nation to its knees”. The rescue operation’s success turned the Commandos into an example of leadership and decisiveness for the country’s future Military generations, he added. The terrorist attack After he was freed, Toledo said what the MRTA really wanted was an amnesty that would allow its members to participate in public life. He said that any attempt to rescue the hostages by force would be dangerous because the terrorists were heavily armed and had wired several rooms with explosives. “The planning that they did was detailed and meticulous, leaving nothing to chance, with joint training and multiple rehearsals,” he explained. “It was pretty well rehearsed and planned out. We dedicated ourselves solely to that. [At the time], we weren’t doing anything else.” The Commandos made two other bold moves during the explosions: 20 Commandos launched a direct assault on the front door to access the waiting room, where the main staircase to the second floor was located. On their way in, they encountered two female MRTA militants guarding the front door. Behind the first wave of Commandos storming the door came another group of Soldiers carrying ladders, which they placed against the building’s rear walls. The Council for Peace recently honored 140 Peruvian Army, Navy, and Air Force Officers for rescuing 71 hostages held by the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) inside the residency of the Japanese ambassador on April 22, 1997. The officers, who have all since retired, received the Medal of Peace from the Council for Peace, an institution that is dedicated to defending human rights. MRTA no longer a threat The crisis began on December 17, 1996, when 14 MRTA terrorists led by Néstor Cerpa Cartolini stormed the Japanese Embassy and took hundreds of diplomats, civilians, and Military officials hostage. The officials were attending a birthday celebration at the Japanese Embassy for Emperor Akihito. The standoff continued for four months. On April 22, 1997, a team of 140 Peruvian Commandos assembled into a secret ad-hoc unit under the name Chavín de Huantar (in reference to a Peruvian archeological site known for its underground passageways) and mounted a dramatic raid on the residence that afternoon. The MRTA no longer constitutes a serious public safety threat, according to security analyst Andrés Gómez de la Torre. “The Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement was eliminated in 2000, but that doesn’t mean that there are no sympathizers. The current presence of the MRTA has been reduced to a few websites whose objective is to maintain the financial backing of their sympathizers. However, one must not lower ones guard in the fight against terrorism.”last_img read more

Messi scores four as Barca thrash Eibar

first_imgRelatedPosts Barca president Bartomeu says he won’t go to war anymore with Messi Bale completes Tottenham return from Real Madrid Live stream Premier League, La Liga, Serie A on Showmax Pro this weekend Lionel Messi scored four goals as Barcelona thumped Eibar 5-0 at Camp Nou to move back to the top of La Liga ahead of Real Madrid’s game at Levante on Saturday. Messi ended a four-game wait for a league goal in the 13th minute when he nutmegged Anaitz Arbilla before lofting the ball over goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic. The Argentine added his second with a calm finish from a tight angle after good work from Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal. He then completed his hat trick in the 39th minute, rolling in from six yards. Substitute Martin Braithwaite, on his debut for the club, was then involved in the final two goals. He set up Messi’s fourth late on before Arthur scored the fifth from close range in the 89th minute after Dmitrovic had saved from Braithwaite.Tags: Barcelona FCEibarLa LigaLionel Messilast_img read more

Lakers’ trip to China suddenly includes navigation through thorny political issues

first_imgOn other hot-button issues, the NBA has stood unconditionally behind its players’ ability to express political views. On his own, James has spoken in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, for gun legislation and against NCAA amateurism. Other politically outspoken NBA figures include coaches Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr, who have been particularly critical of the White House. Political expression has now entered the fabric of the NBA, so it’s all the more evident when the league tiptoes around a statement such as Morey’s that threatens its standing in a lucrative market.The conflict of economic interests and political motivations is a needle the league has managed to thread for more than a decade of its increased investment in the Chinese market. This moment is arguably the first serious threat to the harmony that the NBA and China have managed to maintain. The Lakers, who sport two enormously popular stars in James and Anthony Davis, have a chance to heal some of the damage done.Still, the larger question is likely to linger: Was it reasonable in the first place for the NBA to expect to have it both ways? That might not be so easily resolved. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersOutside of North America, it’s reasonable to say that China is by far the most important market for the NBA. The country of 1.4 billion people is basketball-crazed. According to numbers shared by the league: The CBA estimates that 300 million people play basketball at some level in the country. The NBA has had a dedicated office in China since 2008. Tencent, the league’s top media partner in China, estimates that nearly half a billion people watched NBA programming on their platforms – a figure that has tripled from the viewership just five years ago. It’s common to see Chinese-language reporters roaming locker rooms before and after games, and ESPN has a partnership with Tencent to get one-on-one postgame interviews with players as they walk off the court.Many players understand the power of the Chinese market, and it’s common for players to tour Chinese cities for their shoe companies. LeBron James, for example, goes abroad virtually every summer.“I’ve been able to go over there and I’ve always been welcomed with open arms,” he said last week. “They love the game of basketball. It started with Yao and Yi (Jianlian) and those guys over there. We want to make the game as popular as we can and show our appreciation by going overseas in China like we’re doing next week.”While Chinese fans have a raucous following for both superstars and a handful of major franchises – of which the Lakers are definitely one – they showcase love for players at all levels. Lance Stephenson, who played for the Lakers last year before deciding to play in China this season, recently shared a video on Instagram of the doorman at his hotel mimicking his famous “air guitar” gesture.Joe Young, who spent Summer League playing for the Lakers, played for Nanjing’s CBA team last season. When he first flew in, he remembers being greeted by hundreds – perhaps even a thousand – fans all bearing roses for him, a foreign player who went on to average 36 points per game for a franchise that hung around the bottom of the league standings. Toward the end of the season, Young didn’t like leaving his apartment for fear that he would be accosted in public by adoring fans. Tuesday’s forecast for Shanghai is not terribly different from Los Angeles weather: sunny, low-70s, little chance of rain.But even as the Lakers boarded a flight Monday morning bound for China, they knew they were about to fly into a storm.Sunday’s news cycle was bombarded by reaction to a Friday tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey: “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.” The NBA is generally a league that is permissive about expressing personal views on social issues; the estimated hundreds of millions of NBA fans in China are apparently not. Subsequent fallout included Chinese businesses vowing to cut ties with the Rockets, former Houston star Yao Ming saying the Chinese Basketball Association would no longer work with them, and awkwardly worded statements from Rockets ownership and the NBA at large.In the middle of the madness, the Lakers are flying to Shanghai and Shenzhen, two of the largest cities in the world for a pair of exhibition games with the Brooklyn Nets and a host of league events. What was initially planned as an innocent bit of diplomacy for a league that is extremely popular overseas could now have significantly higher stakes for both the Lakers and the NBA. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers center_img How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs “It’s just another level over there,” he said. “Those fans are crazy.”But in light of the Morey incident, it seems that devotion has an uglier side to it: a hair-trigger for rebuking political discourse that puts China in an unfavorable light.Morey’s tweet touched on a nerve that has been sensitive for months. Hong Kong is in the midst of protests of mainland China’s attempts to assert more control over the island that was a longtime British territory. A bill that would have allowed for extradition to mainland China sparked more than a million people to take to the streets in June to show their displeasure. Since, protesters and the Chinese government have had countless skirmishes, in which the New York Times estimated that some 2,000 canisters of tear canisters had been fired. Complicating the issue, many mainlanders feel that the legacy of Hong Kong is irrevocably tied to the country’s adversarial history with colonialism – Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai tried to relate the context in a Facebook post on Sunday night.Morey’s tweet was deleted shortly after it was issued, but it was out in the open for the world to notice. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta quickly noted that Morey’s tweet didn’t represent the Rockets, insisting that the team is an apolitical organization. Morey himself issued a statement saying he did not mean to offend Chinese fans. The NBA followed up with a statement that both related that the league supports individuals “educating themselves and sharing their views,” but also called the incident “regrettable.” James Harden, the Rockets’ franchise star, apologized and added “We love China.”LeBron James poses with his fans during a basketball clinic in Hong Kong during a 2014 visit. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)Outside of the league, the clamor was even louder as several political leaders criticized the NBA for kowtowing to Chinese interests – Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri even wrote an open letter to the NBA asking them to cancel the Lakers’ exhibitions there.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more