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

COCAINE / 31 MAR 2021

Military officials in Peru have announced the death of a top Shining Path commander more than five months after an…

CONTRABAND / 27 AUG 2021

Authorities in Peru have dismantled a ring that sold explosives to gangs involved in illegal mining, showing how dangerous products…

COCA / 11 JUN 2021

In arguably the most polarizing election Peru has seen in its history, voters have selected, by a razor-thin margin, a…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…