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Edwin Donayre

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Edwin Alberto Donayre Gotzch
Born (1952-01-08) January 8, 1952 (age 65)
Allegiance Peru
Service/branch Peruvian Army
Rank General
Commands held Army Commanding General
Center Military Region
Southern Military Region
2nd Infantry Brigade
Battles/wars Internal conflict in Peru

General Edwin Donayre (born January 8, 1952) is a retired Peruvian military officer and former Commanding General of the Peruvian Army (2006–2008). General Donayre previously served as commander of the Center Military Region, the Southern Military Region and the 2nd Infantry Brigade. He assumed the role of commanding general on December 5, 2006, replacing General César Reinoso, who resigned amid accusations of corruption. During his tenure, Donayre was accused of corruption and obstructing inquiries into human rights violations. He was also at the center of an international controversy when a video surfaced in the media showing him making anti-Chilean remarks at a private party. He retired on December 5, 2008 and was replaced by General Otto Guibovich.

Military career[edit]

Edwin Donayre was born on January 8, 1952 in the city of Ayacucho in the highlands of Peru. He attended San Juan Bosco school, a Salesian institution in his hometown, and studied at a seminary for two years before studying two years of Chemical Engineering at the San Cristóbal of Huamanga University. Donayre's military career started at the Chorrillos Military School, where his first year grades earned him a scholarship to continue his formation in Argentina. At the National Military College in Buenos Aires he graduated with honors as a military engineer. In active duty Donayre has served four times in regions under state of emergency due to Shining Path guerrilla activity and five times in frontier regions. He has held several command posts, among them commander of the 20th Combat Engineer Battalion, director of the Army Engineer School, commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, commander of the Southern Military Region, and commander of the Central Military Region.[1]

Commanding General[edit]

Donayre's tenure as Commanding General of the army was controversial from the start due to corruption allegations and an international incident with Chile. Opposition leader Ollanta Humala criticized Donayre's designation as irregular because at that time he was not serving as general of any of the three major army divisions as stipulated by Peruvian law.[2] As commander of the Army, Donayre was also accused of acquiring 50,000 American-made MREs — military rations — to supply troops deployed against Shining Path guerrillas in the Apurímac and Ene river valleys, instead of acquiring cheaper, locally-made alternatives. An attempt to buy 50,000 more rations led to an inquiry by the Ministry of Defense.[3]

According to a report by the army inspector general, Francisco Vargas, Donayre requested 80,000 gallons of fuel without clear justification when he was commander of the Southern Military Region, between January and September 2006, and diverted part of it to army headquarters in Lima. This led to an investigation by the anti-corruption prosecutor, Marlene Berrú, but, despite being summoned six times, Donayre did not show up at her office.[4] He finally attended her request on November 25, 2008; in his testimony he denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the Southern Military Region actually received less fuel under his command than in the previous year.[5]

The general's stance on human rights issues has also been quite controversial. It has been reported that he was behind the Army's refusal to provide any information on the 1984 massacre at the village of Putis. Requests issued on June 2008 by prosecutor Rubén López for a detailed report on the military personnel deployed there at that time were answered the following month by the Defense Ministry stating that the Army did not have any information on the subject in its archives.[6] Donayre also joined a campaign to raise funds to defend armed forces personnel accused of committing human rights abuses during the internal conflict in Peru.[7]

International controversy[edit]

Donayre became the center of an international controversy on November 24, 2008, when Peruvian media showed a YouTube video in which the general said "We are not going to let Chileans pass by (...) [A] Chilean who enters will not leave. Or will leave in a coffin. And if there aren't sufficient coffins, there will be plastic bags". The video, dated to 2006 or 2007, was recorded during a party at a friend's house attended by army officials and civilians. These comments caused widespread indignation in Chile, making headlines in the El Mercurio newspaper. The Peruvian president, Alan García, called his Chilean counterpart, Michelle Bachelet, to explain that these remarks did not reflect official Peruvian policy. Bachelet declared herself satisfied with the explanations.[8]

On November 28, in response to this incident, a Chilean government spokesman stated that a scheduled visit to Chile by the Peruvian defense minister, Antero Flores Aráoz, might be inopportune given the circumstances. The following day, Flores Aráoz announced his decision to postpone his trip after conferring with the Foreign Affairs Minister, José García Belaúnde. Several members of the Peruvian government commented on the spokesman's remarks including president García who said the country "did not accept pressure or orders from anybody outside of Peru".[9] Donayre defended the video, declaring that Peruvian citizens have a right to say whatever they want at private gatherings and that even though he is scheduled to retire on December 5 he will not be forced to resign early under external pressure. As a consequence of these exchanges, tensions between Peru and Chile rose again; president Bachelet met with top aides on December 1 to discuss the matter and possible courses of action. Meanwhile, in Lima, Congressman Gustavo Espinoza became the center of attention as the main suspect of leaking the video to Chilean press and politicians.[10] Donayre ended his tenure as Commanding General of the Army on December 5, 2008, as expected; president Alan García appointed General Otto Guibovich as his replacement.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (in Spanish) Ejército del Perú, "Hoja de vida" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 14, 2007. , 2006. Retrieved on December 2, 2008.
  2. ^ Living in Peru, Opposition leader Humala slams Peruvian president over military shake up, December 6, 2006. Retrieved on December 4, 2008.
  3. ^ IPS, Peru: Something Fishy About Imported Military Rations Archived 2008-07-11 at the Wayback Machine., June 18, 2008. Retrieved on December 4, 2008.
  4. ^ IPS, Peru: Army Chief to Appear Before Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Archived 2008-12-10 at the Wayback Machine., November 18, 2008. Retrieved on December 4, 2008.
  5. ^ (in Spanish) Diario Correo, Donayre genera impasse con Chile, November 26, 2008. Retrieved on December 5, 2008.[dead link]
  6. ^ IPS, Peru: Military Wants to Keep Massacres Buried Archived 2008-12-11 at the Wayback Machine., September 18, 2008. Retrieved on December 5, 2008.
  7. ^ IPS, Peru: Activists Warn of "Impunity Measures" Archived 2008-12-11 at the Wayback Machine., November 14, 2008. Retrieved on December 5, 2008.
  8. ^ CNN, Peru leader rejects top general's remarks on Chile, November 26, 2008. Retrieved on December 3, 2008.
  9. ^ Reuters, Peru leader rejects top general's remarks on Chile, November 29, 2008. Retrieved on December 3, 2008.
  10. ^ CNN, Chileans angry over Peru general's 'body bag' remark, December 1, 2008. Retrieved on December 3, 2008.
  11. ^ Living in Peru, Peru appoints new army chief, replaces Donayre, December 5, 2008. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
Military offices
Preceded by
General César Reinoso Díaz
Commander-in-Chief of the Peruvian Army
2007 – 2008
Succeeded by
General Otto Guibovich