HomeNewsBrief‘Camarada Olga’ New Military Leader of Peru’s Shining Path
BRIEF

‘Camarada Olga’ New Military Leader of Peru’s Shining Path

PERU / 2 SEP 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

“Camarada Olga” is apparently the new military commander of the Shining Path guerrillas, the first woman to hold the post, amid questions on the military capacity of the last faction of the Peruvian rebel group. 

The 46-year-old -- real name Tarcela Loya Vilchez -- is a veteran of over 20 years’ service, whom Peruvian President Ollanta Humala last month predicted would take over the group’s military operations, following the killing of previous leader Orlando Borda Casafranca, alias “Camarada Alipio.”

Olga has long been a key member of the Shining Path ruling committee, as well as overseeing the group’s finances, the collection of protection money from drug traffickers, and the education of “pioneros” -- children indoctrinated into the insurgency, who initially serve the group in a non-military capacity until they are of fighting age, reported La Republica.

She is believed to have taken part in the 2008 Tintay Puncu ambush, which resulted in the death of 13 soldiers and two civilians, where she allegedly instructed young fighters to finish off wounded soldiers with a headshot.

She is now apparently in charge of military operations in the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro River Valleys (VRAEM) -- a densely vegetated collection of river basins which is home to much of the country’s illegal coca crop and the Shining Path’s last stronghold, after the capture in February last year of Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala, alias "Artemio."

InSight Crime Analysis

The appointment of Olga to the top military position challenges Humala’s proclamation last month that the deaths of Alipio and fellow military commander Martin Quispe Palomino, alias “Camarada Gabriel,” had destroyed the military arm of the group in the VRAEM. However it remains to be seen if Olga can maintain the initiative that Alipio was able to exercise over the Peruvian army, staging ambushes and melting away into the jungles of the VRAEM, seemingly at will.

SEE ALSO: More Shining Path coverage

While the 2012 capture of Artemio has crippled, if not ended, Shining Path military activity in their other previous stronghold in the Upper Huallaga Valley, the VRAEM faction, estimated to number 130 active fighters, is still strong. It has a strong financial base taxing the drug trade and illegal logging in the VRAEM.

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

GOLD / 9 JAN 2014

The record seizure in Peru of half a ton of illegally mined gold destined for the United States and Europe…

ELITES AND CRIME / 15 APR 2015

Over 400 people are under investigation for ties to a former Peru governor accused of murder and criminal conspiracy, highlighting…

COCAINE / 17 FEB 2017

Peru's authorities are investigating former members of the armed forces for using military property as the base for a cocaine…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.