Shining Path Offers Failed Ideology

“In 1989, the Maoist guerrillas hacked to death my uncle and his family whom they accused of helping counterinsurgency forces in Lima. They hacked them with knives and machetes before slitting their throats. That was one of the bloody violence by Maoists”. Dr. Naritoma said. She stated “Shining Path and Maoists are criminals and murderers, so without eliminating them peace will not exist in this world. We Peruvians condemn them. We don’t want to hear their name. Shining Path is a failed ideology in this world”.

Born in Peru Lima, Dr. Naritoma is currently in the US for an educational program. Her main objective is to fight against Shining Path Maoism through education, seminars and research.

During the 1980s, the Shining Path waged an armed struggle against the Peruvian state in support of its hard-line Maoist ideology. Approximately 30,000 Peruvians were killed in the conflict. She stated: “Peruvians have a particular dread of terrorism”.

The Shining Path Maoists organization was formed in the late 1960s. In the 1980s and early 1990s, vicious terrorist attacks were daily occurrences across Peru perpetrated by the Shining Path.

However this organisation crumbled after Maoist leader Guzman’s capture in September 1992. In the past, almost every institution in Peru has been a target of Shining Path’s violence.

She cannot remember how many dozens of people have died under Maoists violence. Now, all the leaders of terrorist organization are in prison. “Shining Path is one of the most dangerous and violent terrorist organizations in the world. The vast majority of their victims have been Peruvian nationals. We have great respect for those police and army who were killed in Maoists’ terrorist attacks. The Maoists’ barbarism must be stopped immediately [around the] world.”

After a series of bloody attacks, in 1986, Shining Path brought their form of violence into the metropolitan areas of Peru in 1991. Former Peruvian President Fujimori waged an aggressive and highly successful campaign against the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru. Fujimori had captured most of the leaders of the rebel groups, and terrorism subsequently declined sharply. Thousands of Peruvians were convicted of terrorism-related charges and sentenced. It is believed that since Fujimori’s crackdown, terrorism has not been a problem in Peru.

Recently political analyst Santiago Pedraglio said, “We reaffirm our commitment to combat terrorist acts in all forms and manners wherever they happen and regardless of who commits them.”

Shining Path and Tupac Amaru are terrorists who caused thousands of deaths and untold suffering. University of Massachusetts librarian Peter A. Stern has received the 1998 Jose Torbio Medina Award for his 1995 bibliography on Peru’s Maoist Shining Path guerrilla movement and its bloody decade-and-a-half terror campaign that left more than 30,000 people dead. Stern says, “The Maoists had advantage of jungle terrain”.

Political analyst from Peru, Fatima, who is also a Ph.D student, has been in the US for more than 5 years, but when she remembers the Maoists violence she felt emotionally drained. “The Maoist war ruined dozens of lives, it made some mentally ill, others were left so poor after their husbands’ deaths in Peru. They are the most violent group, they massacred villagers whom they suspected of collaborating with the government. Many were clubbed or stoned to death and some children had their ears cut off”.

The Shining Path rebel movement once had up to 10,000 fighters and controlled large swaths of Peru’s countryside, bringing bloodshed to the country”. Jaime Antesana, who works with victims of violence, recently said, “The Shining Path left a culture of violence. One sees that in the increasing street crime throughout Peru,”

Fatima stresses: “The Maoists carried out a campaign of sabotage, bombings, and murders that damaged $22 billion worth of property in Peru.”

By 1994, Shining Path had lost much of their strength, and more than 80,000 of the displaced refugees were able to return home. Between 1995 and 2000, Shining Path violence was minimal in most areas, with the exception of Peru’s Amazon region, where remaining Shining Path guerrillas continued to harass the indigenous population and displace some civilians. According to the Mesa Nacional Sobre Desplazamiento, a consortium of non-governmental organizations, the conflict displaced some 430,000, but “affected” as many as 1.6 million. Some 60,000 people remained internally displaced within Peru. Hundreds of thousands of Peruvians fled their Andean homes in the 1980s and early 1990s. They fled a violent insurgency. Now the Peruvian speaking world energetically condemns terrorism, pledging to fight terrorist acts.

Dr. Naritoma said, “One day, the Maoists came to my house in Lima asking for money. My mother ignored them and said she is not going to provide money for them. She did not fear terrorists and their acts even if they could kill her. My mother used to say who are they to take our money, to kill us and destroy our land? We are happy now that we have no threat from the Shining Path because they are not active in Peru. They are finished and I would like to pray that this kind of Shinning Path should not arise in another form in other countries”.

Kamala Sarup
Nepali journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup is an editor for She specialises in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace, Anti War, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, and Development.