José Robles Montoya, former Vice Minister of Defense Policies; General EP (r) Leonardo Longa López, former General Commander of the Vraem Special Command; and the constitutionalist Omar Cairo Roldán analyze the declarations of the prime minister, Alberto Otárolaabout his performance during the repression of the protests that caused 48 deaths.
In statements to the Prosecutor’s Office investigating the death of 48 civilians due to gunshot wounds of the Peruvian Army and the National Policehe Prime Minister, Alberto Otárola, demarcated responsibility and attributed to the military and police chiefs the results of the operational plans that they prepared and executed during the demonstrations against the Government of Dina Boluartea.
“Nor, I (was) not informed about the plans of operations. I reiterate that what we ministers were informed about was the result of the actions of the Armed forces in support of the National Police, but not about the operational plans because the direction and execution of the operational plans does not correspond to the Minister of Defense,” Otárola explained to prosecutors Edwin Núñez Cancino and Jesús Camacho Laura who questioned him on January 23 and February 16th.
The head of the PCM even said that he was unaware of the use of firearms during the repression of the protests in Andahuaylas, Ayacucho, Juliaca, Pichanaki and Arequipaamong other towns where deaths were recorded from the use of Galil and AKM rifles, which are officially used by the Army and the National Police.
“I don’t know that information. Precisely, that is a matter of investigation ”, the prime minister pointed out to the prosecutors.
Responsible. Alberto Otárola. For a former Vice Minister of Defense, a former EP General Commander and an expert on constitutional issues, he has political responsibility for recent events. Photo: diffusion
“A political decision”
Former Vice Minister of Defense Policies José Robles Montoya pointed out that there is responsibility on the part of Alberto Otárola.
“The Armed Forces never take to the streets if it is not for a political decision. This requires a state of emergency or the application of Legislative Decree 1095, which are the Rules on the Use of Force (RUF). Who makes the political decision? The Defense Minister, the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic because he has to sign a supreme decree and a ministerial resolution”, he pointed out.
“The second point is that the operational plans of any type of military operation or action, undoubtedly, They are the responsibility of the head of the Joint Command because he prepares and executes the plans. And commanding generals are responsible for ensuring that soldiers are trained and fulfill their strategic roles. However, both the Joint Command and the General Commands are executing bodies of the Ministry of DefenceThey are not independent and they are not free”, highlighted José Robles.
“The Armed Forces do not go out into the streets because they feel like it. The Armed Forces go out due to a political decision. And that political decision is made by the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense. And Otárola knows that because it is constitutionalist,” said the former vice minister.
The ex-commander general of the Vraem Special Command (Cevrarem) and ex-attachment of the Defense of Peru in the United States, Major General EP (r) Leonardo Longa López, also expressed his discrepancy.
“I do not agree with the statements of Minister Otárola. We have to differentiate two things: violence and force. Violence is used by criminals and that is a crime. And force is used by the State, the use of legal force is a privilege of the State. For the use of force, a political decision is needed and not the decision of the head of the Joint Command. It is strictly a political decision. Because? Because politically a state of emergency is declared so that the Armed Forces can act. Why is a State of Emergency declared? For the use of force. Therefore, Otárola is politically responsible”, argued General Longa.
He also made clarifications regarding Otárola’s version that the military are the ones who must respond to the deceased.
“The head of the Joint Command does not decide the use of force. They order him. And who ordered him? Those who declared a state of emergency. The president, the prime minister and the defense minister. The minister is the politically responsible and not the Armed Forces”, stressed General Leonardo Longa.
The criminal and the political
Otárola also expressed to the prosecutors who are investigating the death of 48 civilians that the directive of President Dina Boluarte and hers, as Minister of Defense and later as Prime Minister, to the authorities of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces and the National Police was always to respect the lives of citizens. However, the number of deaths from bullet wounds fired by Galil and AKM rifles were growing.
“(The) requests (to respect life) were verbal and through a WhatsApp message addressed to the head of the Joint Command, with the following text: ‘General, this has been written by Mrs. PR (president). As was said from day one, the use of force must always be within the rules and established legal framework. The priority is the lives of citizens. Greetings,’” said the head of the PCM.
“Criminal legal responsibility and political responsibility are different. Political responsibility is assumed by the ministers for all events that occur within their sector. And it becomes effective with the dismissal of his ministerial position. Consequently, if the Minister of Defense gave the order that, in the repression of the mobilizations and protestspeople’s lives are prioritized and, despite that order, a massacre was perpetrated, it is he —not the military— who bears the political responsibility for that tragedy,” said constitutionalist Omar Cairo Roldán.
“The President of the Republic should have made that responsibility effective by dismissing him (Alberto Otárola). However, she did not. On the contrary, she promoted him by naming him president of the Minister council.
José Robles Montoya, former Vice Minister of Defense
Who makes the political decision? The Minister of Defence, the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic, because he has to sign a supreme decree and a ministerial resolution”.
Leonardo Longa López, General of Div. EP (r)
“The head of the Joint Command does not decide the use of force. They order him. Who is it? Those who declared a state of emergency… The minister is responsible for politics and not the Armed Forces”.
Omar Cairo Roldán, constitutionalist
“Boluarte should have made that responsibility effective by dismissing him (Otárola). However, he did not. On the contrary, he promoted him by naming him president of the Minister council”.