Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sendero Luminoso

By Heraclitus

Abimael Guzman, the long-time leader of the major Maoist guerrilla group in Peru, Sendero Luminoso, or "Shining Path," has been tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison for the violence his group committed. The organization itself is now all but defunct. The coverage of the BBC is good. The story in Peru is well-known and familiar: a far-left guerrilla group begins agitating for revolution with acts of violence, the government responds, committing at least as many atrocities in return. Over 70,000 people were killed during the career, for lack of a better word, of Sendero Luminoso, but only half by the rebels themselves. Much of the government's brutality came under the leadership of Alberto Fujimori, a war criminal currently living in Chile and fighting extradition to Peru. The Wikipedia article on Sendero Luminoso is very good, comprehensive and well-documented, and includes discussion of some of the massacres committed by both the Maoists and the government.

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