HomeNewsBriefPeru in Familiar Stalemate With Shining Path Rebels
BRIEF

Peru in Familiar Stalemate With Shining Path Rebels

COCA / 4 SEP 2020 BY SERGIO SAFFÓN EN

Yet again, Peruvian security forces are seeking to force Shining Path guerrillas out a jungle region that produces most of the country’s cocaine, but military operations have long failed to stamp out what remains of the rebel group.

A late August battle between troops and a Shining Path cell in the Valley of the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers (Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro – VRAEM) left four rebel fighters dead, including alias “Cirilo,” a local leader. Two soldiers were also killed, the Ministry of the Interior stated in a news release.

The firefight occurred after troops discovered armed guerrillas safeguarding cocaine in in Chachaspata, a town in the department of Ayacucho in the southwestern part of the country. A second conflict took place later in the Mar providence of the same department, El Comercio reported.

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profile

The military attack also led to the seizure of weapons, explosives and 79 kilograms of cocaine.

The Shining Path faction of the VRAEM supports itself through drug trafficking, though its role is limited to providing armed escorts of drug shipments passing through the area, Pedro Yaranga, a Peruvian security expert, told InSight Crime. He added that the group’s presence has been reduced to a narrow corridor between the departments of Junín, Ayacucho and Huancavelica.

The remote jungle region accounted for nearly 70 percent of some 50,000 coca crops in the country in 2017, the last time the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was able to conduct a survey, according to its latest World Drug Report.

InSight Crime Analysis

An overwhelming military presence in the region — the VRAEM currently has 52 bases and between 8,000 to 10,000 troops — has been unable to root out the rebel group, which has kept itself going by securing shipments of cocaine.

Some 450 members of the Shining Path continue to control several strategic drug trafficking territories in the region, according to information provided to InSight Crime by Peru’s Counter-Terrorism Directorate (Dirección Contra el Terrorismo – DIRCOTE).

The stalemate is likely to hold, though the guerrilla group has become a shadow of its former self when the group terrorized Peru with assassinations, bombings, beheadings and massacres.

The government is also considering new ways of dealing with the legacy of the Shining Path conflict, having agreed on September 3 to pay compensations to victims of the violence and their relatives.

SEE ALSO: Peru’s Shining Path Plots Unlikely Return to Power

Founded in the 1970s, the Shining Path reached its apex in the early 1990s, when then-President Alberto Fujimori responded with a repressive campaign.

In 1992, authorities captured Abimael Guzmán, the group’s founder and principal leader. His second-in-command, Florindo Eleuterio Flores, alias “Comandante Artemio,” was taken down a decade later all but ending the bloody civil war, which took some 70,000 lives and lasted for two decades, from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

Currently under the leadership of brothers Víctor and Jorge Quispe Palomino, the group has tried to reinvent itself as the Militarized Communist Party of Peru (Militarizado Partido Comunista del Perú – MPCP), in an effort to gain the support of rural farming communities within the VRAEM that were victimized by the Shining Path.

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.

Related Content

COCA / 6 AUG 2019

A new UN study shows that while Colombia saw a slight drop in coca crop plantations between 2017 and 2018,…

BOLIVIA / 29 MAY 2017

A new report by an advocacy group based in Bolivia details how the Andean nation's failed experiences with forced coca…

MONEY LAUNDERING / 31 AUG 2012

U.S. and Peruvian authorities say Peru is now a major producer of counterfeit bills, and may be attracting foreign money…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …