President Bush is set to visit the South American nation this weekend and said today that last night’s attack would not alter his plans.
“You bet I’m going,” Mr. Bush told reporters this morning. “No two-bit terrorists are going to prevent me from doing what we need to do, and that is to promote our friendship in the hemisphere.”
The president said Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo “will do everything he can to make Lima safe” for the trip.
After the blast, Peruvian officials announced they would increase security efforts before the president’s scheduled arrival Saturday. The explosion damaged nearby buildings, but not the heavily-guarded U.S. embassy, which is set far back from the street.
News organizations report that both U.S. and Peruvian officials think the Shining Path guerrilla movement may be behind the attack. The militant group, which attempted to car bomb the U.S. embassy in Lima in 1990, has sought to overthrow Peru’s government and install a communist state. The group’s numbers have reportedly dwindled in recent years, falling from a peak of some 10,000 fighters to fewer than 500, reports say.
President Bush told reporters the U.S. “might have an idea” of who detonated the bomb, adding “they’ve been around before.”
Mr. Bush will also stop in Mexico and El Salvador during his four-day trip through Latin America.