Saturday, February 16, 2013

Péru: Government Criticizes US Embassy Threat Against Cuzco Travel

According to Huffington Post Travel, a US Embassy, Lima, travel warning urging that Americans not travel to Cuzco (including Machu Picchu), effective yesterday (February 15) due to an impending kidnap threat against US tourists in the region, was met with sharp criticism from the Peruvian government.

A US Embassy spokesperson said that the Embassy has credible threat information via intercepted communications that the reconstituted Sendero Luminoso ("Shining Path") may be planning the abduction of Americans in the Cuzco region.

The warning was contained not only on the US Embassy's website, but on its Facebook Page as well. The information is interpreted to apply through the end of February 2013.

COMMENT: Acknowledging that international threats are often not exactly precise, my suggestion is that US tourists wait until mid-March to see if any actual incidents materialize in Cuzco.

Luís Florez, the mayor of Cuzco, called on US Ambassador Rose Likins to retract the travel warning, but the Ambassador responded by stating that the "US government is obliged by law to inform its citizens of any information regarding their security."

Our readers are reminded that in April 2012, the "Shining Path" abducted some 36 construction workers near a construction site. All were released unharmed shortly thereafter, although the rebels did kill eight soldiers and police officers sent to rescue them.