Peru’s Maoist Shining Path guerilla movement appears to be making a comeback.
From the Washington Post
PUKATORO, Peru — After years in relative obscurity, the Shining Path, one of Latin America’s most notorious guerrilla groups, is fighting the Peruvian military with renewed vigor, feeding on the profits of the cocaine trade and trying to win support from the Andean villagers it once terrorized, according to residents and Peruvian officials.
The Shining Path’s reemergence has stirred chilling memories of its blood-soaked forays of decades past. In October, Shining Path guerrillas killed more people — 17 soldiers and five civilians — than they have in any month since the 1990s. This rising death toll is largely attributed to a fresh offensive by the Peruvian military, launched under the same president who battled them in the 1980s, to try to destroy the remnants of the once almost forgotten communist rebel group.
But those who live among them, as well as those who study the secretive group, also describe other reasons for their resurgence. The Shining Path, which has its bases in two coca-producing regions of central Peru, is now heavily involved in drug trafficking and is paying for new recruits.
Experts said the guerrillas have renounced the brutal tactics espoused by their original leader, Abimael Guzmán, who was captured in 1992. Unlike Guzmán, who said 10 percent of the Peruvian population had to be assassinated for the Shining Path to take power, the new leaders tell their followers they must protect the villagers and instead target the military and anti-drug authorities.
In numbers, the guerrillas’ ranks remain a fraction of their former size: 400 to 700 full-time fighters in the branch that insists on armed struggle, according to various estimates; in the low thousands if offshoots that call for more-peaceful political revolution are included.
Hat tip Once Upon A Time in the West
Meanwhile Shining Path supporters held a conference in Hamburg FRG in October.
Greetings came from Sweden, FRG, Turkey, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Italy and the USA. They included messages from groups from both inside and outside the Shining path support organisation, the Revolutionary International Movement, but excluded the US Revolutionary Communistparty, Shining Path’s long time American ally.
Here is a message from the US based New Peru Friendship Association.
Message to the Hamburg Conference
October 25, 2008
The New Peru Friendship Association, USA, sends its warmest revolutionary greetings to the 2008 Hamburg Conference, to its organizers and participants. We send special greetings to Chairman Gonzalo, in the highest Shining Trench of Combat, to the PCP and its Leadership, to the invincible People’s War in Peru which they lead, and to the New Power; and our warmest greetings to the new Congress of the PCP…
It is the PCP, through its generated organization for the work abroad, the MPP, who has been imposing, and will continue to impose Maoism as the only command and guide of the World Proletarian Revolution within the International Communist Movement and the RIM. What corresponds to today is the necessity for militarized Marxist-Leninist-Maoist communist parties to wage and continue to wage people’s wars until communism. And what is fundamental to people’s war is Power. The conquest of power in Peru is materialized in the People’s Committees, Support Bases and the People’s Republic of New Democracy in formation for establishing the People’s Republic of Peru. This is the line of the PCP. It is the Maoist line. The line of the new revisionism, headquartered in the USA, but having terrible consequences around the world, like in Nepal, for example, is “peace accord”. These capitulationist creatures of the new revisionism are united with the genocidal wars that Yankee imperialism and the reactionaries wage against the peoples of the world. They foment and spread capitulation with the so-called “peace accords” for afterwards wanting the revolution to be drowned in blood. They want communist parties without Maoism, without Great Leadership, without people’s war.
We are sure that all of this revisionist dead weight will be removed like the cancer that it is and we are honored to be able to help, because it has been poisoning the ICM for far too long. It is not conditions in the world that have held us back—which the RCP claims—but it is them, the new revisionism, that has held us back—their “peace accords”, their capitulation, their treason against the class. Let the RCP participate in the Yankee imperialist elections—that’s exactly where they belong.
LONG LIVE CHAIRMAN GONZALO!
LONG LIVE MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM, GONZALO THOUGHT!
DOWN WITH THE NEW REVISIONISM!
PEOPLE’S WAR UNTIL COMMUNISM!
God help Peru, if these people ever take power.