HomeNewsAnalysisPeru Fears Shining Path Comeback
ANALYSIS

Peru Fears Shining Path Comeback

PERU / 11 SEP 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

Twenty years after the capture of Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman, some in Peru are concerned that the guerrilla group may be on the verge of a political resurgence.

On the night of September 12, 1992, an elite police squadron raided a home in the middle-class Lima neighborhood of Surco, capturing Abimael Guzman, the ideological and political head of the Shining Path guerrilla group. "My turn to lose," the Maoist leader reportedly said to police as he was handcuffed and taken into custody.

But while the guerrilla army started by Guzman never regained the influence and control of territory that it had at its peak in 1990, there are signs that the Shining Path could be seeing a political comeback. As Reuters reports, many Peruvian analysts are worried about the rise of a political movement dedicated to securing the release of Guzman and other first-generation Shining Path leaders, known as the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movadef).

Much of this alarm has had to do with the group's alleged infiltration of the national teachers’ union, Sutep. Movadef has been accused of forming a faction of Sutep known as Conare, which began a strike in July. Sutep president Rene Ramirez told Reuters that he believes the sole purpose of Conare is to take control of the union and organize a radical turn to the left.

On a larger scale, there is also concern among Peru analysts that dissatisfaction with the policies of President Ollanta Humala, a former revolutionary leftist who has moved sharply to the center since coming to power, might drive more Peruvians towards Movadef. According to the news agency, Peruvian military intelligence sources believe that Movadef and other leftist groups in the country are stepping up political work with one plan in mind: “vacating the presidency through a coup by the masses."

InSight Crime Analysis

Concern over the political infiltration of the Shining Path and related groups has been growing in Peru, and the government has taken steps to address it. In recent months the Humala administration blocked Movadef from registering as a political party and introduced a bill which would make it illegal to voice support for terrorism.

However, there is evidence to suggest that such measures are unnecessary.  While Movadef may have received funding from the Shining Path faction headed by alias “Comrade Artemio” (who was captured in February, leaving the unit most likely defunct), it is not thought to have ties to the guerrilla column which remains, based in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE).

In fact, the VRAE Shining Path has very vocally split with Guzman, and Movadef by extension.  The group, headed by Victor Quispe Palomino, alias “Comrade Jose,” has rejected Guzman as a revisionist and a coward, and cast itself as the only legitimate revolutionary force in the country. Guzman has similarly distanced himself from the group, dismissing them in a 2009 interview with La Republica as mere “mercenaries,” citing their involvement in drug trafficking.

It is true that the 500-strong VRAE Shining Path still represents a military threat to the Peruvian government, as a series of successful guerrilla ambushes in the region illustrates. But even though the group has been attempting to deepen its political work in the VRAE, the scale of the threat cannot be compared to the Shining Path’s heyday under Guzman, when it had some 20,000 members and controlled swaths of the Andean highlands.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 9 JAN 2012

Peruvian groups carry out illegal logging in Brazil before transporting the wood along tributaries of the Amazon into Peru, unhindered…

PERU / 11 APR 2016

Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori, won the first round of Peru's presidential election while positioning…

BOLIVIA / 21 APR 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has halted trafficking in Peru and sent cocaine prices plummeting, but drug seizures continue in the border department of Ucayali,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.