Melissa Scholem Heller is a Political Science, Philosophy, and Economics undergrad student at Northeastern University in Boston. Ms. Scholem Heller is a German and Ecuadorian Binational who has used her understanding of Spanish language and South American culture to contribute to the institute’s research regarding organized crime and counter-terrorism. She has focused her own research on radicalization techniques by different terrorist groups, specifically Hezbollah. After obtaining her BA, she intends to continue her studies in the fields of security and law.
On the 17th of October of 2016, after the death of a man in the protests against the Las Bambas mine in rural Peru, Congresswoman Luciana Leon asked the country’s Minister of Interior to investigate a possible infiltration by Hezbollah and Sendero Luminoso in the protests. The question of a possible relationship between radical Islam and local groups placed the newly established Muslim community of Abancay and its leaders at the center of the debate. This paper aims to explore the presence of a possible Hezbollah cell in Peru, specifically in the city of Abancay, and to dissect its relationship with local militant groups and terrorist group Sendero Luminoso. The paper first addresses Iranian presence and allegations of Hezbollah networks in South America, then explores the Muslim community of Abancay and their establishment of Hezbollah political party and finally explains the situation in Las Bambas and how it relates to allegations about Hezbollah, local militias and Sendero Luminoso.