Shining Path was born in the Andean department of Ayacucho, which is one of the nation? s poorest and most forgotten regions. Ayacucho is located in 24 the southern highlands of Peru where the levels of poverty and education are one of the lowest in the whole nation. The Shining Path was founded in the late 1960s by Abimael Guzman, a former university philosophy professor (referred to by his followers by his nom de guerre Presidente Gonzalo).
His teachings created the foundation of its militant Maoist doctrine. It was an offshoot of the Communist Party of Peru — Bandera Roja (red flag), which in turn split from the original Peruvian Communist Party, a derivation of the Peruvian Socialist Party founded by Jose Carlos Mariategui in 1928 The Shining Path first established a foothold at San Cristobal of Huamanga University, in Ayacucho, where Guzman taught philosophy.
Between 1973 and 1975, Shining Path members gained control of the student councils in the Universities of Huancayo and La Cantuta, and developed a significant presence in the National University of Engineering in Lima and the National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas. Sometime later, it lost many student elections in the universities, and then decided to abandon recruiting at the universities and reconsolidate. Beginning on March 17, 1980, the Shining Path held a series of clandestine meetings in Ayacucho, known as the Central Committee’s second plenary.
It formed a “Revolutionary Directorate” that was political and military in nature, and ordered its militias to transfer to strategic areas in the provinces to start the “armed struggle”. The group also held its “First Military School” where members were instructed in military tactics and weapons use. Aims: The Shining Path believed that by imposing a dictatorship of the proletariat, inducing cultural revolution, and eventually sparking world revolution, they could arrive at pure communism.
Their representatives said that existing socialist countries were revisionist, and claimed to be the vanguard of the world communist movement. Acts of terror in the past: The Shining Path terrorized Peru with kidnapping, assassinations, bombings, beheadings and massacres. Some examples of acts of terror are the guerilla war on May 17, 1980, the Lucanamarca massacre on April 3, 1983 and the Tarata bombing on July 16, 1992 Guzman’s statement in support of violence was particularly striking.
On April 19, 1980, the Shining Path’s leader declared, “The future lies in guns and cannons. One of his guerilla followers praised the use of violence: “Blood makes us stronger … and if it is flowing, it is not harming us, but giving us strength. ” The organization openly stated that its struggle was built on the use of violence and debated how this could increased in Peru. When Peru’s military government allowed elections for the first time in a dozen years in 1980, the Shining Path was one of the few leftist political groups that declined to take part. It chose to begin guerrilla war in the highlands of Ayacucho Region.
On May 17, 1980, on the eve of the presidential elections, it burned ballot boxes in the town of Chuschi. As a result, some 30,000 Peruvians were killed in the conflict. It was the first “act of war” by the Shining Path. In April 1983, Shining Path militants responded to the death of Olegario Curitomay by entering the province of Huancasancos and the towns of Yanaccollpa, Ataccara, Llacchua, Muylacruz, and Lucanamarca, and killed 69 people. Of those killed by the Shining Path, eighteen were children, the youngest of whom was only six months old. Also killed were eleven women, some of whom were pregnant.
Eight of the victims were between fifty and seventy years old and most victims died by machete and axe hacks, and some were shot in the head at a close range. That is not all, thr Shining Path memebers also scalded villagers with boiling water. This was the first massacre by Shining Path of the peasant community. Abimael Guzman, the founder and leader of the Shining Path, admitted that the Shining Path carried out the massacre and explained the rationale behind it in an interview with El Diario, a pro-Shining Path newspaper based in Lima. He said that the main point of the assacre was to make people understand that the Shining Path was a hard nut to crack and that they were ready for anything that come to them.
He wanted the peasants to know that the Shining Path would not be the same as those fighters that they had fought before. The Tarata bombing was a terrorist attack in Lima, Peru, on July 16, 1992, by the Shining Path terrorist group. The blast was the deadliest Shining Path bombing during the Internal conflict in Peru and was part of a larger bombing campaign in the city. The explosions happened on Tarata Street, the business area of Miraflores Ward, an upscale district of the city.
Two trucks, each packed with 1,000 kg of explosives, exploded on the street at 9:15 pm, killing 25 and wounding up to 200. The blast destroyed or damaged 183 homes, 400 businesses and 63 parked cars. The bombings were the beginning of a week-long Shining Path strike against the Peruvian government, a strike which caused 40 deaths and shut down much of the capital. A kidnapping event which believed was by The Shining Path rebels. They kidnapped seven Peruvian employees of the Swedish construction company Skanska who were building a natural gas plant in the Amazon jungle.
Members of the Shining Path have not conducted a large kidnapping since 2003, and they have not posed a risk to the stability of the government since the group’s Maoist founders were captured in the early 1990s. Organisation: Since the capture of its leader Abimael Guzman in 1992, the Shining Path has declined in activity. Certain factions of the Shining Path now claim to fight in order to force the government to reach a peace treaty with the rebels. Similar to militant groups in Colombia, some factions of Shining Path have adapted as a highly efficient cocaine-smuggling operation, with an ostensibly paternalistic relationship to villagers.
The common name of this group, Shining Path, distinguishes it from several other Peruvian communist parties with similar names. The name is derived from a maxim of Jose Carlos Mariategui, founder of the original Peruvian Communist Party in the 1920s. Actions taken against them and whom: Widely condemned for its brutality, including violence deployed against peasants, trade union organizers, popularly elected officials and the general civilian population, the Shining Path is classified by the Peruvian government, the U. S. , the European Union, and Canada as a terrorist organization. On September 12, 1992, Peruvian police captured Guzman and several Shining Path leaders in an apartment above a dance studio in the Surquillo district of Lima. The police had been monitoring the apartment, as a number of suspected Shining Path militants had visited it. An inspection of the garbage of the apartment produced empty tubes of a skin cream used to treat psoriasis, a condition that Guzman was known to have.
Shortly after the raid that captured Guzman, most of the remaining Shining Path leadership fell as well. The capture of rebel leader Abimael Guzman left a huge leadership vacuum for the Shining Path. At the same time, the Shining Path suffered embarrassing military defeats to self-defense organizations of rural campesinos — supposedly its social base. When Guzman called for peace talks, the organization fractured into splinter groups, with some Shining Path members in favor of such talks and others opposed.
Guzman’s role as the leader of the Shining Path was taken over by Oscar Ramirez, who himself was captured by Peruvian authorities in 1999. After Ramirez’s capture, the group splintered, guerrilla activity diminished sharply, and peace returned to the areas where the Shining Path had been active. Although the organization’s numbers had lessened by 2003, a militant faction of the Shining Path called Proseguir (or “Onward”) continued to be active until now. They carried out a series of bombing and kidnappings. Government forces have managed to capture three leading Shining Path members .
In April 2000, Commander Jose Arcela Chiroque was captured, followed by another leader, Florentino Cerron Cardozo in July 2003 and in November of the same year, Jaime Zuniga, was arrested. In 2003, the Peruvian National Police broke up several Shining Path training camps and captured many members and leaders. This did not just stop their attacks as just last year, on the 7th of October, Shining Path rebels carried out an attack on three helicopters being used by an international gas pipeline consortium, in the central region of Cusco. Luckily, it was said that no one was kidnapped or injured during the attack.
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