Abimael Guzman, founder of Peruvian terrorist group Shining Path, dies at age 86


Lima — Abimael Guzman, the leader of the shining pasterolist who almost defeated the Peruvian state in the bloody Maoist revolution, died on Saturday while in prison and after weeks of poor health, the government said. rice field. He was 86 years old.

Guzman was arrested in Lima in 1992, convicted as a terrorist, and then imprisoned for the rest of his life. He died one day before the POW’s anniversary when he was paraded in front of the press in white and black striped uniforms that are not normally used in Peru.

Susana Silva, head of the Peruvian prison system, told RPP radio on Saturday that Guzman had been ill in recent months and was released from the hospital in early August.

She said his health had deteriorated in the last two days and was set to receive more medical care on Saturday without further explanation, but in a cell at around 6:40 am local time. He added that he died. Defense Minister Walter Ayala said Guzman died of a “systemic infection.”

“Terrorist leader Abimael Guzman has died and countless lives have been lost,” President Pedro Castillo wrote on Twitter. “Our position to condemn terrorism is solid and unwavering. Only in democracy will we build just Peru.”

A former professor of philosophy, Guzman was a lifelong communist who traveled to China in the late 1960s. He decided to bring Mao Zedong’s communist brand to Peru through a class struggle that began in 1980 on the day of the first democratic elections following Peru’s more than a decade of military dictatorship. ..

Guzman founded the Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, from a band of farmers and students. Between 1980 and 2000, an estimated 69,000 people were killed in internal conflicts caused by the Shining Pass, mainly in the poor interior of Peru, mainly in the Andean indigenous communities.

In 1980, after years of preparation, Guzman led a group of supporters to the Andes, outside the town of Ayacucho.

Armed with shotguns, dynamite, and machetes, they began to attack security forces, elected officials, and peasants who resisted their indoctrination with enthusiasm and cruelty never seen in Latin American terrorist groups. rice field.

Fan-out from the southern city of Ayacucho, Shining Pass has recruited thousands more terrorists from poor peasant communities and universities.

The people of the capital, Lima, first tasted the Shining Pass in 1981 when guerrillas hung dozens of dead dogs, or “capitalist dogs,” from street lampposts.

By the late 1980s, the group had become a threat to the extent that two-thirds of Peruvians lived in areas under urgent control, essentially martial law.

His followers, following Marx, Lenin, and Mao Zedong, called Guzman the fourth sword of Marxism and idolized him in chants, songs, posters, and literature.

However, the first image most Peruvians saw about Guzman was not revolutionary. Seemingly drunk, he danced to the main tune of the movie Zorba the Greek and took a snapshot with his supporters in a Shining Pass video filmed by police in 1990 and televised.

The video revealed that he was alive and still in charge, but it destroyed his reputation for austerity and depressed Shining Pastellolists.

Nonetheless, their attacks intensified, leading then-President Alberto Fujimori to seize almost dictatorial power, as he said in an attempt to quell the rebellion.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment after Guzman was arrested by police in a spacious and safe home in a middle-class neighborhood in Lima in 1992.

The Shining Pass has largely collapsed as a military threat, but the wreckage remains to this day. Officials say terrorists claiming to belong to the Shining Pass dissidents killed 16 people in remote jungle areas just this year.

In 2018, Guzman was sentenced to life imprisonment, killing 25 people in the 1992 Lima car bomb attack.

Guzman’s first wife, Augusta La Torre, died in a mysterious situation in the late 1980s. In 2010, he married his longtime girlfriend, Elena Iparagile. He is sentenced to life imprisonment like Guzman. Both women were leaders of the Shining Pass.

Marcelo Rochabrunn