Subscribe to EIR Online
This article appeared in the November 17, 1995 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Shining Path: core
of the RIM project

Name of group: Peruvian Communist Party-in the Shining Path of José Carlos Mariátegui; Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path; SL). A dissident faction has been dubbed by the press "Red Path."

Headquarters and important fronts: In the Upper Huallaga Valley, and a portion of the Apurímac Valley in Ayacucho, the latter including parts of the Apurímac national park.

Founded: Formally founded in 1970, as the PCP-Shining Path, but a core group had formed around Abimael Guzmán Reynoso at San Cristóbal de Huamanga National University, in Ayacucho, as early as 1964.

Locations of operations, areas active: From 1992 to 1994, the Peruvian government of Alberto Fujimori and the country's military conducted a successful counteroffensive against Shining Path, which by then had seized large portions of the country's Andean region and firmly established its terrorist grip on the capital, Lima, and other cities. As a result of the government's war, by mid-1995 Shining Path remained a viable force only in two key zones: the Upper Huallaga Valley, still the largest coca-growing zone in the world, and Huanta province, department of Ayacucho. Key controllers of its once-extensive support network in urban centers, however, remain active.

In the Upper Huallaga Valley, Shining Path's strongholds can be found in the towns of Aucayacu and Tocache, in the province of Leoncio Prado, Huánuco department; and in the province of Tocache, in San Martín department. Those posts are located along the west bank of the Huallaga River. In the provinces of Huanta and La Mar, department of Ayacucho, SL is concentrated along the west bank of the Apurímac River (including in the protected nature reserve of the same name) near its convergence with the Mantaro River. SL presence extends to the left bank of the Ene River, formed by the confluence of the Mantaro and Apurímac, in the province of Satipo, Junín department.

Other areas, where it has a lesser presence, include: the province of Padre Abad, Ucayali department; the provinces of Azangaro and Melgar, Puño department; the province of Huancabamba, Piura department; the provinces of Bolívar and Huamachuco, La Libertad department.

Major terrorist actions:

May 17, 1980: First act of war, burning ballot boxes on the eve of the Presidential elections, in the town of Chuschi, Ayacucho.

Dec. 24, 1980: First "people's trial," forcing the employees of a Cuzco hacienda to watch as Shining Path terrorists beat its owners to death, and then stoned to death a teenage Indian employee who cried. Two days later, Shining Path draws national attention, when they hang a dog from a lamppost in Lima, with a sign, "Deng Xiaoping, Son of a Bitch."

March 2, 1982: Over 50 terrorists attack the prison of Ayacucho, releasing drug traffickers and 54 terrorists held there. The leader of the attack, Edith Lagos, is killed in the battle. Her funeral in Ayacucho is massive. Within a few months, the government is forced to declare Ayacucho an "emergency zone," under military control.

1982: Shining Path attacks on Lima's electric power grid throughout the year cause frequent blackouts of the capital. In one case, a 525-mile corridor on the coast, from Trujillo to Ica, is blacked out for 48 hours; 50 public offices are bombed on the first night of the blackout.

1983: SL sets off a powerful bomb in the offices of the then-governing party, Popular Action. The Bayer industrial plant in Lima is burned down, in the midst of a citywide blackout caused by SL sabotage of Lima's electrical system.

1985: In the midst of Presidential elections, the president of the national Electoral Council, Domingo García Rada, is attacked.

Over the next few years, political figures murdered by SL include the director of the country's largest jail, Miguel Castro; Agriculture Deputy Minister Rodrigo Franco Montes; the former president of the Peruvian Social Security Institute, Felipe S. Salaverry; former Labor Minister Orestes Rodríguez; former Army Commander Gen. Enrique López Albujar; Navy Vice-Adm. Gerónimo Cafferata and Rear Adm. Carlos Ponce Canessa. In Bolivia, they assassinate Peruvian Naval attaché Juan Vega Llona.

June 1986: Imprisoned SL terrorists seize control of three Lima prisons, in a simultanous armed revolt. More than 250 of them die during the battle to suppress the uprising. The jails had been the command center for Lima terrorism; prior to the uprising, SL carried out 30-40 hits in Lima a month; for six months afterwards, almost none.

March 1989: SL takes over the city of Uchiza, in the Upper Huallaga Valley; 16 police officers are killed in the assault.

1990: The Cutivireni religious mission, in the Apurímac Valley, run by priest Mariano Gagnon, is attacked. Leaders of the mission are assassinated; Gagnon and some of the Asháninka natives at the mission flee, but others do not escape. Thus begins a campaign of genocide by Shining Path against the Asháninkas in the Apurímac, Ene, Perene, and Tambo valleys, who are enslaved and worked to death cultivating coca. At least 2,000 Asháninka Indians are assassinated for trying to escape these concentration camps, or even for falling ill. Another 5,000 Asháninka are held captive, of which some 3,550 are freed by the Army and by Asháninka self-defense units, in 1992-93; others are still being freed today.

August 1991: SL assassinates two Polish and one Italian priest in Ancash, and then dynamites the bodies.

In early 1992, the first car bomb is triggered in front of the headquarters of the Investigative Police, just 200 meters from the government palace.

February 1992: SL assassinates María Elena Moyano, and then dynamites her body, in Lima's largest slum, Villa El Salvador, for organizing against them.

May-July 1992: A succession of car bombs wracks Lima, culminating in the July 16, 1992 bomb on Tarata Street, in Lima, with nearly 40 deaths and several buildings demolished. A short time later, Shining Path sets off a car bomb against Channel 2-TV, with nearly 10 deaths. Police stations in Villa El Salvador and other poor Lima neighborhoods are assaulted, as are military posts surrounding the Raucana and Huaycán townships, just a few kilometers from the center of Lima.

July 22-23, 1992: an "armed strike" (see below) on a national scale is successful.

March 14, 1994: A bomb explodes at the Lima home of prominent journalist Patricio Ricketts, an outspoken SL opponent who had warned that the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, threatened to revive "Senderismo" continentally.

May 24, 1995: A car bomb explodes against the María Angola Hotel; July 1, 1995, another against the home of congressional Vice President Víctor Joy Way.

Modus operandi: Shining Path uses the most extreme bestiality to impose its rule through terror, "recruiting" peasants on pain of death and perpetrating bloody "people's trials" against communities and individuals accused of being collaborators of the "rotten State." Typically, an SL column or unit would enter a targetted town, or area, gather its inhabitants, and select local officials, or anyone slightly more prosperous or educated than the rest. These would be "tried" and killed as exploiters of the people. The townspeople were often forced to participate in killing the victim, each ordered to cut off a body part, or watch as the victims burned to death.

With these methods, Shining Path tried to create "liberated zones," eliminating the presence of the State, and any idea of progress. They destroyed police stations, state offices, research and production centers; assassinated technicians, whether Peruvian or foreign; forced entire towns to refuse to send their produce to the cities; and tried thus to lay siege to the hated cities. Shining Path used car bombs, bombs, and mortars, as well as selective assassination. They incited confrontations between workers and residents, and the police. Sabotage of economic infrastructure was often directed against electricity transmission lines and generating plants. The climax of Shining Path's actions in the cities was the so-called "armed strikes," during which they would threaten to kill any person who attempted to go to work, use public transport, etc.

Leaders' names and aliases:

Abimael Guzmán Reynoso, "Presidente Gonzalo," "Puka Inti," prisoner

Antonio Díaz Martínez, deceased 1986

Elena Iparraguirre Revoredo, a.k.a. "Miriam," prisoner

Osmán Morote Barrionuevo, prisoner

Arturo Ostap Morote Barrionuevo

Teresa Durán Araujo

Augusta La Torre Carrasco, a.k.a. "Nora," deceased

Margie Clavo Peralta, prisoner

Elvia Zanabría Pacheco, deceased

María Pantoja Sánchez, prisoner

Rosa Angelica Salas Cruz, prisoner

Martha Huatay, prisoner

Laura Zambrano Padilla, a.k.a. "Comrade Meche"

Elizabeth Gonzáles Otoya, prisoner

Edmundo Cox Beuzeville, prisoner

Sybilla Arredondo de Arguedas, prisoner

Tito Valle Travesano, deceased

Yovanka Pardave Trujillo, deceased

Nelly Evans Risco, prisoner

Maritza Garrido Lecca, prisoner

Adolfo Olaechea Cahuas (in London)

Nancy Rocio Buchuck Gil (in London)

Maximiliano Durand Araujo (in Paris)

Luis Arce Borja (in Brussels)

Carlos La Torre, (in Sweden)

Dalia Carrasco Galdos (in Sweden)

Adolfo Mejía Giraldo (in Spain)

Luis Kawata (deserted, abroad)

Julio Casanova (deserted, abroad)

Of the so-called Red Path faction: Oscar Ramírez Durán, a.k.a. "Comrade Feliciano"; Pedro Quinteros Ayllon, a.k.a. "Luis"; José Luis Flores or Eulogio Cerdón Cardozo, a.k.a. "Artemio," all still at large.

Allied groups nationally or internationally:

Nationally: National Human Rights Coordinator, which defends those accused of terrorism; Institute of Popular Pedagogy (some of its members are in Shining Path); the Alpha and Omega cult. Several locals of the Union of Peruvian Education Workers (SUTEP) and Peruvian Peasant Federation (CCP) have been heavily infiltrated by SL.

Shining Path operated through a broad network of "generated organizations" which, because they functioned legally until April 5, 1992, provided critical legal, logistical, and financial support for the terrorists and their families, and permitted the recruitment of members. Any government action against these front groups or their leaders provoked an outcry from national and international human rights groups (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc.). These groups included: Popular Aid (in charge of SL prisoners), Movement of Classist Workers and Peasants, Federation of Revolutionary Students, Neighborhoods Movement, Movement of Popular Artists, Movement of Popular Intellectuals, Association of Democratic Lawyers. Another important medium was the César Vallejo Academy, headquarters of the Department of Organizational Support which enabled Shining Path to recruit cadre and cover its financial transactions.

Internationally: Revolutionary International Movement. RIM coordinates with the SL apparatus abroad, which functions under the cover of Support Committees for the Peruvian Revolution (CSRP), Sol-Peru Committees, and the Peoples Movements-Peru (MPP), in Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and England.

SL's most important foreign headquarters were in Paris and London. Throughout the war, the head of its London operations was Adolfo Héctor Olaechea, a member of one of Peru's oldest and most traditional oligarchical families, who ran an 11-language translation service. Amongst the support structures set up by Olaechea, was a Musical Guerrilla Army, which in 1991 performed concerts in such places as the Old White House in Brixton and the Emerald Centre in Hammersmith, England. Typical lyrics were: "The people's blood has a beautiful aroma.... Chairman Gonzalo, Light of the Masses.... The blood of the armed people nourishes the armed struggle."

Repeated requests by the Peruvian government that the British government shut down SL organizing in Britain have been refused to this day. Olaechea began using a note from Buckingham Palace as his letter of introduction. Dated July 25, 1992, it read: "The private secretary is commanded by Her Majesty the Queen to acknowledge the receipt of the letter from Mr. Olaechea, and to say that it has been passed on to the Home Office."

Peru Support Group, of London, was identified by the Peruvian government as part of SL's network abroad. The PSG has as its "sponsors" Lord Avebury, president of the British Parliament's Human Rights Commission, and a group of British clerics, including Michael Campbell-Johnston, England's Jesuit Provincial. PSG supporters covered for this role, by claiming that their meetings had been "hijacked" by Olaechea and SL.

Shining Path's European operations were run from France, under the direction of Maximiliano Durand Araujo, a nuclear physicist and top Shining Path leader slated to become the foreign minister of a planned government-in-exile. According to the Peruvian government, he put together an organization, which functioned as four separate branches, reporting directly to Durand without having any contact amongst themselves. These included: agitation, propaganda, and fundraising in university and intellectual circles, coordinated under the name of the José Carlos Mariátegui Study Circles, run by Durand's secretary, a Peruvian with the surname Nazarro Rúa; agitation and propaganda in cultural circles, through various theater and folkloric musical groups, headed by Hildebrando Pérez Huaranco; coordination of human rights and support group work, headed by French ex-priest Jean-Marie Mondet Isnard, now director of the publication French-Peruvian Annals, which promotes Shining Path ideology; economic support for Shining Path and RIM, coordinated by former Shining Path Lima Metropolitan Committee member Alberto Ruiz Eldredge Goicochea, also exiled in Paris.

Other French fronts for SL included: the Mariátegui Artistic Intellectual Front; the French-Peruvian Committee against Repression; Movement for the Liberation of Peru; the International Solidarity Committee with the Struggle of the Peruvian People.

Belgium: SL's newspaper, Diario Internacional, was published in Brussels, by Luis Arce Borja, chief of SL propaganda in Europe. Fronts included the Committee in Defense of Human Rights in Peru, Committee in Support of the Peruvian People, and International Popular Relief in Belgium.

Denmark: Support Group for the Liberation Struggle of the Peruvian People.

Germany: Peru Group; Amauta Circle, Berlin.

Spain: Union of the Marxist-Leninist Struggle; Association of Peruvian Hispanic Friends, headed by Javier Mújica Contreras; Cultural Front; a newsletter, Chusqui.

Sweden: Ayacucho, Peru Studies Circle; 4th of November Peruvian Group; Ayacucho Group, in Malmö and Stockholm; Ayacucho Literary Circle of SL; Popular Movement of Sweden; Latin American Cultural Coordinating Committee. Guzmán's in-laws (Shining Path supporters) and many other Shining Path terrorists live here with refugee status.

Switzerland: César Vallejo Peruvian Student Association, in Geneva.

United States: Shining Path's main ally, virtually since its origin, is the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). After the arrest of Abimael Guzmán, a group linked to the RCP, led by Eriberto Ocasio, organized a campaign to "defend Guzmán's life," and sent several delegations of lawyers to Peru. According to Peruvian television, as recently as 1995, the RCP sent a delegation to visit the last Shining Path units, in the Upper Huallaga Valley.

Bolivia: The Ejercito Guerrillero Zárate Huillca and the Túpac Katari Guerrilla Army (EGTK) are linked to the SL. The leadership of the EGTK has been jailed since 1992, but in November 1995, it went back into action. In June 1994, security forces in Ecuador broke up a group, Red Sun, believed to be linked to the SL.

Mexico: Shining Path maintains extensive networks, going back at least 17 years. These include: the José Carlos Mariátegui Cultural Center; Support Committee for the Peruvian People's War, headed by Mexican Gabriela Salas; Independent Proletarian Movement (MPI); the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE); Free Center for Theatrical and Artistic Experimentation (CLETA), based in Mexico City; National Association of Democratic Lawyers. Main centers of Shining Path activity are reported to be in Mexico City and Chilpancingo, Guerrero, from where they reach into Oaxaca and Chiapas. Psychiatrist Fausto Trejo, active in left circles, plays a role in the Shining Path support apparatus.

Religious/ideological/ethnic motivating ideology: Shining Path espouses the most radical Maoism, advocating a strategy of "prolonged people's war," following the Maoist slogan "from the countryside to the city." Shining Path places itself in line with Pol Pot of Cambodia and China's "Gang of Four," against "deviationists." This is combined with a radical racial rhetoric, taken from the work of the Nietzschean agent of the Comintern, José Carlos Mariátegui, promoting Indian "messianism" under the prophecy that "the Indians will come down from the hills and kick the white scabs into the sea."

Shining Path functions as a fascistic death-cult, steeping its members in rituals organized around slogans advocating rivers of blood, death, subjective myths, purifying fire, etc. Shining Path cadre—primarily youths forced into their ranks by terror and blackmail—were hardened into satanic killers, through repetitive brainwashing sessions, while all were required to "cross the river of blood," i.e., to kill, to prove themselves.

Party literature urges its members, "To die in order to invent the great subjective myth," and to work toward "the supreme moment, total deliverance of the purifying fire of armed struggle." Guzmán stated in a 1988 interview with SL's paper, El Diario: "Marx, Lenin, and Chairman Mao teach us what the quota is: to annihilate in order to preserve. If one has a clear plan, then one is capable of confronting any bloodbath—a bloodbath for which we have been preparing since 1980, because this bloodbath had to come." Shining Path indoctrination papers captured in Army raids echo the blood fixation: "The quota is the stamp of commitment to our revolution ... with that blood of the people that runs in our country.... They form lakes of blood, we form pools. The blood strengthens us."

Known controllers/mentors/theoreticians:

Abimael Guzmán Reynoso: Shining Path's founder and head, Guzmán ran Shining Path as a personality cult, under the nom de guerre of "President Gonzalo, the Fourth Sword of Marxism" (the first three were Lenin, Stalin, and Mao). Guzmán began as a philosophy professor, who wrote his master's thesis on the theory of space of Immanuel Kant, at the San Agustín University in Arequipa. Guzmán traveled to China for training twice in the 1960s, during its Cultural Revolution. He was reportedly selected by Mao Zedong and his widow, as one of ten international leaders to lead the second Cultural Revolution, but he chose to return to Peru to lead the Revolution there.

Antonio Díaz Martínez: Historic leader of Shining Path, anthropologist and agronomist trained at the Sorbonne in Paris, member of the Society of Americanists, of Jacques Soustelle. The Society stood up for him and Guzmán in the early 1970s, when they were arrested for inciting a student uprising. Díaz Martínez was social welfare director at the Huamanga University, when Guzmán worked as personnel director. He trained in China in the 1960s, and wrote a book entitled Ayacucho, Hunger and Hope. In 1993, Díaz Martínez was arrested and accused of instigating or executing some 100 terrorist attacks.

Efraín Morote Best: Anthropologist, specialist in "Andean myths," who had coordinated Peru's first Jungle Bilingual Education program, was brought in as dean of the University of Huamanga in 1962, when he hired Guzmán and Díaz Martínez; he sponsored Guzmán's takeover of the university. His sons Osmán and Ostap are members of the Shining Path Central Committee; his daughter married another CC member; he himself was an open apologist for Shining Path terror in the 1980s, yet when he was jailed in 1985 as one of the intellectual authors of Shining Path, political pressure forced his quick release.

Salvador Palomino: Danish-trained anthropologist from Ayacucho. Founded the South American Indian Council, which advocated the eradication of western civilization, by force, if necessary; supported by the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Palomino was arrested by the Peruvian police and accused of belonging to Shining Path in the mid-1980s, but was soon released.

Fernando Alarco Larrabure: Deceased. Psychiatrist, led Shining Path's Movement of Popular Intellectuals.

Pablo Macera, historian: Argues that 500 years of "ethnic oppression" justifies violence. Gave an interview to SL's paper, El Diario, on March 22, 1987.

Peruvian Army Maj. José Fernández Salvatecci (ret.): Intimate friend of Nicaragua's Tomás Borge, who also received military rank in the Sandinista Army. His wife is a member of SL. Alberto Flores Galindo: liberation theology leader, now deceased. In 1987, he wrote: "The PCP-Shining Path was a kind of clear ray from heaven. Although the metaphor is a common one, there is no other which better summarizes the impression caused by the actions of a movement which appeared when the majority of the left had taken the electoral route and opted to respect some minimal laws of the democratic game."

J.C. Mariátegui: Founder of the Peruvian Communist Party in the 1920s, whose racialist arguments were adopted as Comintern policy. He is acknowledged by Shining Path as its inspiration. An avowed Nietzschean, Mariátegui's career was promoted by Emilio Segui, a former personal secretary of British agent Giuseppe Mazzini. Mariátegui argued that "the faith in indigenous renewal does not originate in a process of material westernization of the Quechua land. It is not civilization, the white alphabet, that uplifts the soul of the Indian. It is the myth, the idea of the socialist revolution."

Luis E. Valcárcel: Collaborator of Mariátegui and rabid indigenist, Valcárcel was the founder of anthropology in Peru, who trained several generations of Peruvian anthropologists and sponsored the arrival of numerous foreign anthropology projects (the Wenner Gren Foundation, Cornell University, and others). Participated in the founding of the University of Huamanga, birthplace of Shining Path. His work, Tempest in the Andes, contains the Shining Path's messianic prophecy, and examples of "people's trials."

José María Arguedas: Anthropologist and writer; student of Valcárcel, who worked with him in setting up the University of Huamanaga. Recognized by Shining Path as the cultural mouthpiece of Indian resistance, he wrote: "We are coming down from the peaks. We are enveloping this race which hates us so much." His widow, Sybilla Arredondo, was later convicted as a leader and moneybags of Shining Path.

Number of cadres: At its peak, Shining Path had between 5,000 and 7,000 armed cadre. Today, it is estimated to have 400.

Training: The first training sessions of students and professors at the University of Huamanga then involved in Shining Path was in survival techniques, and was held at the coca plantation of one Senator Parodi, in Ayacucho in 1964. Training in weapons was held in the area of San Francisco, in the Apurímac Valley, near the Apurímac reserve (in the late 1970s).

Guzmán and the other leaders who traveled to China in the 1960s and 1970s, received military training.

Known drug connections/involvement: Shining Path's areas of operation overlap those of drug trafficking and its smuggling corridors. In 1991, the Peruvian police released a set of seized Shining Path documents, in which SL detailed its regulations for relations with the coca growers, the drug traffickers, and their intermediaries in the Upper Huallaga Valley. Agreements included setting of prices, weights, storage, and the percentage of the profits that would go to Shining Path for each drug flight. Later, it was learned that Shining Path also undertook the preparation of cocaine paste and its storage in certain towns. Shining Path thus claimed to be defending the coca-growers in their dealings with the traffickers.

In July 1983, Shining Path attacked the offices of a coca-leaf eradication program in the Tingo María area, in the Upper Huallaga Valley. Two thousand valley residents, backed by Shining Path, defended their "right" to grow coca. In March 1989, sixteen policemen were assassinated in the seizure of Uchiza, Upper Huallaga. From then onward, the anti-drug fight declined. Shining Path's campaign was summed up: "An end to the eradication of coca crops!" They argued that the social base of the People's War was "the poor coca-growing peasantry."

On July 7, 1995, the head of the Huallaga Front of the Peruvian Army, Gen. E.P. Alfredo Rodríguez, said that Shining Path was experiencing "economic urgency" because of the blows suffered in Colombia by the Cali Cartel. He warned that the majority of its cadre were in the Huallaga: "Shining Path lives off its cut [from the narcos]; that's why they don't want to leave the area. Where does Shining Path hide? Wherever there is coca. They travel together. It is their main source of financing.... Shining Path handles 40-50% of all the drug trafficking activity in the area, for its share and for providing security."

Drug traffickers Abelardo Cachique Rivera and Limonier Chávez Penaherrera, arrested in 1995, admitted having given money, weapons, and equipment to Shining Path and to the Tupac Amarú Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). They were convicted by a military court for treason to the fatherland, for their role in terrorism.

Known arms suppliers/routes: Apart from collaboration with the drug trade, Shining Path murders police and military personnel to steal their weapons, or assaults mines to steal dynamite.

Ecologist networks opposed to the dominant faction in the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) accuse Peruvians responsible for the WWF in their country of providing weapons to Shining Path under cover of the culling of vicuñas from the Pampas Galeras National Reserve in Ayacucho, in 1979, months before the beginning of Shining Path violence. Although this charge is difficult to prove, it is known that the director of the Vicuña Project in charge of the culling, Antonio Brack Egg, is part of the team tied to the WWF in Peru which was led by Marc Dourojeanni. The latter worked intimately with Stefano Varese, an anthropologist who is part of the board of directors of Cultural Survival, in applying an environmentalist-indigenist policy to the Peruvian jungle. Stefano's brother Luis was a co-founder of the terrorist MRTA.

Political defenders and supporters:

The international human rights lobby: Amnesty International, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), National Human Rights Commission have run unceasing campaigns against Peru's military as the primary cause of terror in the country, and demanding restrictions on its activities. They were accused by the Peruvian government of having been infiltrated by Shining Path and of serving as their "useful idiots." The director of Americas Watch, Juan Méndez, gave an interview to Shining Path's mouthpiece, El Diario, in December 1984, in which he accused the Armed Forces of genocide. Americas Watch issued a book, Peru Under Fire, in early 1992, which sought to mobilize an international campaign to prevent the Peruvian government from adopting anti-terror measures. In its July 1995 annual report on human rights, Amnesty International labeled Abimael Guzmán and the other SL leaders "political prisoners," and called for new trials for them.

British government: In 1992, during the worst of the Shining Path offensive, London's Channel 4, of the Independent Broadcasting Authority, a dependency of the British Office of the Interior, coordinated with SL's "ambassador" in London, Adolfo Olaechea, to send two journalists to Peru. These contacted SL's units, and they filmed a report highly favorable to Shining Path, which Channel 4 broadcast on July 10, 1992, despite an official request from the Peruvian government not to give SL such free propaganda. The RCP then used the film to raise funds in the United States.

In December 1992, John Simpson, foreign affairs editor for the BBC, issued a "devastating televised report on Peru," attacking the Armed Forces that operate in the narco-terrorist zones for "corruption" and for "violation of human rights." Lord Avebury, head of the Human Rights Commission of the British Parliament, then called on Simpson to testify. Lord Avebury expressed his concern for the "lack of security" for civilians in the narco-terrorist zones, and denounced the "impunity" of the military and their "witchhunts" against the Shining Path networks abroad.

Woodrow Wilson Center: Maintains that Shining Path is a continuation of the peasants' just rebellions. Compares Shining Path to the "creole rebels" of the independence era. Howard Wiarda, a U.S. academic, has the same line.

Anthropological support: The core of the Shining Path project has been run from the outset by anthropological institutions and experts, starting from the decision to reopen the University of Huamanga as Peru's premier anthropological experiment. Others included:

The Society of Americanists: Played a key role in deploying "action anthropology" into support for "indigenous liberation movements" internationally, simultaneous with the preparation of the Shining Path project. The Society's 39th International Congress, held in Lima in 1970, pressured the government to release Shining Path leaders Guzmán and Osmán Morote, then jailed for leading violent student riots in Ayacucho.

Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP): This Ford Foundation-financed "academic" center has served as the coordinating center of the "indigenist" project against the Peruvian nation-state, since its 1964 founding by Valcárcel's student and intimate colleague, José Matos Mar. The IEP became a center of Shining Path "experts," or "Senderologists," who have been dubbed "Shining Path lovers" by President Alberto Fujimori. Its current president, anthropologist and "Senderologist" Carlos Iván Degregori, used his "studies" as a cover to interview declared Shining Path terrorists. Degregori, who justifies Shining Path by claiming that it constitutes a response to the Spanish conquest, received his anthropology degree from the University of Huamanga, where he also served as a professor. David Scott Palmer: Director of Latin American Studies Program at Boston University, this former director of Latin American Studies for the U.S. State Department's Foreign Service Institute, has used his prominence as one of the U.S. leading "experts" on Shining Path, to legitimize the killer cult, arguing for dialogue, maintaining that Shining Path has no ties to the drug trade, and comparing Shining Path with Bolívar's liberating armies. Palmer wrote in his 1992 book, Shining Path of Peru: "I am forced to respect the dedication and zeal of the Shining Path leadership as it tries to forge a new and more meaningful reality.... Shining Path uses terror to further its revolutionary ends but is not a terrorist movement. The insurgency has rarely engaged in indiscriminate violence and should not be compared with Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in this regard."

Palmer admits to knowing many members of Shining Path leadership, but asserts he has had no direct contact since Shining Path went underground in the late 1970s. His ties to Shining Path's Ayacucho base extend back to 1962, when he led the Peace Corps project at the University of Huamanga, and then worked in the Víctor Fajardo province in Ayacucho, one of the first sites of Shining Path activity. He is a close friend and collaborator of Peruvian "Senderologist" Gustavo Gorriti.

A team of British-trained psychiatrists has worked with the anthropological network, in creating the ideological underpinnings of Shining Path's terror. Head of the psychiatric division of this project is Max Hernández, graduate of the School for Community Mental Health of London's Tavistock Clinic (founded by British intelligence's psychological warfare division), former vice-president of the International Psychoanalytic Association, a British Council Scholar, and professor for decades at the University of San Marcos, a center of Shining Path recruitment. (A number of students and professors from San Marcos' Psychology Department have been arrested as Shining Path militants.) During the 1970s, Hernández founded the Interdisciplinary Seminar of Andean Studies (SIDEA), which produced studies of Indian myths and rebellions, modern-day drug use in Indian rituals, and psychoanalytical, race-based profiles of differing Peruvian populations, all of which argued that Peru had no national identity, but should be "deconstructed" into its racial components. Degregori, other leading IEP members, and Moises Lemlij, another Peruvian psychiatrist trained at Tavistock, are also members of SIDEA.

Hernández is also a member of the Peruvian Association of Studies for Peace, headed by Jesuit Felipe MacGregor, who argues that Shining Path is the natural response to the "structural violence" of Peruvian society. MacGregor is studying violence as a response to "cultural violence." Joining them in the Association is César Rodríguez Rabanal, another psychiatrist, who was also a founder of the Civic Committee against Impunity, an organization which attacks the Armed Forces, founded in memory of a group of Shining Path terrorists who were extralegally executed in 1992. Other promoters include priest Gustavo Gutiérrez (the putative father of Theology of Liberation), Victor Delfín, and Francisco Soberón.

La República newspaper: In 1982, promoted Shining Path leader Edith Lagos; was always the mouthpiece of Shining Path's psychological warfare; a regular platform for the mouthings of the "Senderologists."

Known funding: Primarily, the drug trade. Well-informed sources have told EIR that, at its height, Shining Path received some $60 million a month from the drug traffickers. The Huallaga Committee provided the executive leadership in Lima with dollars. SL also collected "quotas" from businessmen. Some funds were also provided by its European operatives and support networks.

Thumbnail historical profile: Shining Path brought the Peruvian State to its worst crisis this century. It was described by U.S. government spokesmen as one of the three worst genocides of this century, the "most lethal guerrilla movement in the world." The estimate is that SL's violence took nearly 30,000 lives and wreaked $25 billion worth of havoc on the Peruvian economy, as well as creating 1 million internal refugees.

Action anthropologists created, and ran, the bestial SL as part of a decades-long project to, in the words of anthropologist José Matos Mar, "forge a new face of Peru." That face was to be enraged "indigenism." Following World War II, teams of foreign anthropologists swarmed over Peru, under the direction of Luis Valcárcel, a close collaborator of French ethnographer and Society of Americanists' leader, Paul Rivet.

As teams from Cornell University, the Smithsonian Institution, the Americanist Society at the University of California at Berkeley, etc., profiled numerous regions of Peru, Valcárcel's leading disciple, Matos Mar, led a team of "young indigenists"—by vocation, not birth—in reviewing the centuries of reports on the demographics and religious practices of Peru's Indian populations contained in the archives of the Catholic Church. These combined activities put together a precise map of Peru's indigenous populations, stretching back for centuries.

In 1959, Valcárcel led the committee which established a new anthropological training center in Peru, based at the newly reopened University of Huamanga in Ayacucho, which received substantial foreign funding as well. It was there that Shining Path chief Abimael Guzmán used his posts as both professor in the university's teacher training program and director of personnel, to recruit and brainwash terrorist cadre for almost two decades before Shining Path fired a shot.

SL began to operate in the 1970s, in Huamanga, Ayacucho, mobilizing university and secondary-school students against the government, with burning of police stations and street riots. It was in Huamanga that they inaugurated the practice of seizing control of the administrative facilities of public universities and turning them into subversive platforms, all in the name of "university autonomy" and "co-government." The "Huamanga model" as exported to other universities.

The early days of the SL war began in Ayacucho and in the surrounding Andean region. In 1983, in part forced by the Peruvian Army offensive in Ayacucho, SL units descended from the Apurímac Valley to the jungle outskirts, ultimately arriving in the Huallaga Valley, where they concentrated their rural operations.

To the extent that the peasant population fled to Ayacucho and adjacent areas, and those that remained were organized into self-defense groups, SL's operations in Lima and other cities took on greater importance. SL transferred its terrorist methods to neighborhoods, unions, schools, universities; selective assassinations, bombings, and downing of electricity towers increased. The year 1992 was the key year for SL warfare: there were even rumors that an SL assault on Lima was imminent. SL began to use car bombs around this time. But at the same time, its bloody crimes led to rejection by the population.

On April 5, 1992, President Fujimori decreed a shutdown of the Congress and of the Supreme Court, which had been deliberately blocking the anti-terrorist effort. SL escalated its terror offensive, which threatened to climax in an "armed strike" slated for Oct. 12. But on Sept. 12, 1992, Abimael Guzmán and several top SL leaders were arrested. From that moment, the dismantling of Shining Path proceeded; nearly the entire Central Committee today sits in jail, and the "repentance law" has wrecked its units. In 1994, Guzmán and the imprisoned Shining Path leadership issued a call to remaining cadre to put down their weapons. This even further accelerated the group's collapse, but a dissident group, Red Path, continues to operate.

Back to top