Peru Focuses on Destroying Shining Path, 20 Years After Founder’s Capture
By Dialogo September 11, 2012
LIMA — As Peru marked the 20th anniversary of the arrest of Abimael Guzmán —founder and leader of the feared Shining Path terrorist group — Peru’s Ministry of Defense announced the death of one of Guzmán’s most violent disciples.
Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano Bellido said the killing of Rolando Cabezas Figueroa, also known as Comrade William, in the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Valley (VRAEM) proves the government’s resolve to combat terrorism firmly and within the law.
“The action taken by the Armed Forces and National Police reflects the decision by the government of President Ollanta Humala to confront, within the law, the Sendero Luminoso’s criminal actions,” Cateriano said at a Sep. 6 press conference as he was joined by Interior Minister Wilfredo Pedraza. “It’s an undeniable success, but we want to be prudent because much work remains.”
William was killed at 7:30 the morning of Sep. 5 in Llochegua, in the department of Ayacucho. Combined forces pulled off the successful operation against this particular terrorist, who had been active in the region for 20 regional years and who was said to rank fourth in the Shining Path hierarchy.
Officials fear MOVADEF entry into politics may trigger violence
The government effort follows a series of recent events that have reignited fears about terrorism two decades after the arrest of the leaders of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) and the Shining Path. MRTA founder and leader Víctor Polay was arrested in July 1992 and is serving a 35-year sentence. Abimael Guzmán, founder and leader of the Shining Path, was arrested on Sep. 12, 1992; he’s serving a life sentence.
The Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which concluded its work early last decade, says the Shining Path was responsible for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths or disappearances during 20 years of political violence between 1980 and 2000.
In November 2011, the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movimiento de Amnistia y Derechos Fundamentales, or MOVADEF in Spanish) passed the first step in registering as a legal party.
The party submitted just over 360,000 signatures — more than double the number required — to enter Peru’s political system and compete in the upcoming election cycle, which begins in October 2014 with local elections.
The party had been established two years earlier by lawyers for Guzmán and other Shining Path leaders. Several of its most visible representatives, including secretary general Alfredo Crespo, spent time in prison for terrorism. Crespo was released in 2006 and has been Guzmán’s lawyer ever since.
MOVADEF leaders reject claims that their party is behind recent violent protests that have erupted across Peru in recent months, but the government says the connections are in plain sight. Officials point to a militant faction battling for control of the teachers’ union — the largest syndicate in the country — which is led by educators who are also MOVADEF members.
Fighting worsens in VRAEM
Just as troubling to President Ollanta Humala and his administration is an upsurge in violence by a breakaway faction of the Shining Path in the VRAEM. The region has been under a state of emergency since June 2003.
Shining Path fighters in the VRAEM kidnapped 36 contractors working on a gas pipeline in early April. The workers were released unharmed after six days, but the incident led to a spike in terrorist actions that has yet to subside. The Shining Path in the VRAEM, which is led by Víctor Quispe Palomino and two of his brothers, Jorge and Martín, was responsible for killing 14 soldiers last year and 20 soldiers and police officers so far this year. Six soldiers were killed in August alone.
The government is not convinced of a public dispute between the Quispe Palomino faction and the Shining Path’s jailed leadership, including Guzmán, who they say are traitors for giving up the armed struggle.
The Peruvian military has vowed to eliminate the Quispe Palomino group with a multifaceted plan that includes nearly $500 million in investment to improve basic services and infrastructure in the zone. That money will also buy new equipment and firepower for the Armed Forces and National Police. The 2013 budget specifically allocates $140 million for anti-terrorism activities and more than doubles, to $42 million, the line item for intelligence work. The overall defense budget will increase by 20 percent next year.
Artemio’s arrest has reduced violence in Upper Huallaga valley
Increasing terrorist activity in the VRAEM is a stark contrast to the success the government has reported in a northern jungle valley where a separate Shining Path armed column continued to operate. Officers from the police National Anti-Terrorism Bureau (DINCOTE) arrested Florindo Flores, leader of that faction, in February. Known as “Comrade Artemio,” Flores had run the Upper Huallaga front since the early 1990s.
Authorities have systematically picked off most of his followers since then, including three men in August. Police General Herbert Rosas, who heads DINCOTE, told foreign reporters on Aug. 29 that approximately 90 percent of Flores’ followers had been detained or killed.
“Artemio and the entire leadership of his faction have been arrested,” said Rosas. “The terrorist force in the Huallaga has been decimated and we will eliminate it completely by year’s end.”
The government is already preparing the terrain for an upcoming battle, when leaders of the Shining Path begin completing long prison sentences and will be released. The first two leaders, including Osman Morote, who was number two in the party before his arrest in 1988, will leave prison in June 2013. All but five of the outlawed party’s top leaders will be released by 2017.
Proposed ‘denial’ law carries stiff penalties
Meanwhile, the Humala’s administration has presented a bill to Congress that would make it a crime to “approve, justify, deny or minimize the crimes committed by the members of terrorist organizations.” The new crime would carry sentences between four and eight years in prison.
The Aug. 28 legislation — modeled on a German law that makes it illegal to deny atrocities committed by the Nazis — comes on top of legislative powers the Humala administration received in early August to publish new laws concerning terrorism, drug trafficking and citizen security, as well as changes to the institutional structures of military and National Police.
Premier Juan Jiménez, who took over the top Cabinet job in July, told Congress in late August that terrorism “is a very serious problem for the country that needs to be addressed now. Terrorism is gaining ground; there are groups affecting the country’s security and public order.”
“We believe the moment has arrived for a political pact … to confront terrorism in a decided manner,” Jiménez said Sep. 4. “We need a commitment from everyone, not only the political class but our community, to deal with this problem.”
That is an excellent story on the preparations to destroy, as 20 years ago, the gangs of terrorists. Lies, lies, that something remains, Shining Path was already defeated. Those who try to revive it only seek to create fear, and thus justify the militarization of the country (to combat the protests of the people), as well as to spend more money (corruption) to combat the terrorists. Tell those lies to the gullible. We are living like in the age of the offender Fujimori with a limited journalism. All newscasts say the same thing. The good thing is that there is internet and cable to inform us better and not be sheep. Aristotle said that man is a political animal and the one that says that he is not a politician is only an animal. We should be taught in schools how to make politics... WHILE THERE IS CORRUPTION AMONG THE ARMED FORCES AND THE NATIONAL POLICE, BECAUSE IT IS NOT IN THE INTEREST OF THE HIGH COMMAND OF THE ARMED FORCES AND PNP TO PUT AN END TO THESE SOCIAL ILLS. THIS WOULD END THEIR SOURCE OF PROFITS. THIS INEPT OLLANTA DOES NOT HAVE A BRAIN TO THINK, BECAUSE HE WAS A 5TH CATEGORY SOLDIER. HE WANTS TO GOVERN A COUNTRY THAT IS BLEEDING BECAUSE OF THESE POLICE AND MILITARY CRIMINAL THIEVES. Why donÂ´t they call things by their real name? These neo-terrorists (or apprentices of...) do not have a 'political' interest (and it is not that the previous ones had it neither). Now, it is only NARCO-TERRORISTS. The ones that formerly were called Sendero Luminoso, they are no longer called that. In Colombia they are called Bacrim (criminal gangs, in Spanish)... and that is the name that is right. Peru has the solution and that solution is called Alberto Fujimori. He is imprisoned for ordering the killing of 15 subversive students. He was sentenced by a judge that was fired by him. This is forbidden by law. Another outgoing President ordered the execution of 280 prisoners and he is free, and the case was filed THE ONLY ONES INTERESTED IN SHINING PATH EXISTING IS THE FUJIMORISMO, IN ORDER TO CONTINUE THRIVING POLITICALLY WITH THE SAME SUBJECT. SUPPORTED BY SOME RIGHT-WING MEDIA THEY WANT TO MAKE BELIEVE THAT SENDERO HAS RISEN. WHAT TRULY EXIST IS ARMED BANDS OF DRUG TRAFFICKERS. SENDERO WAS MILITARILY DEFEATED AND NOW THEY WANT TO SURVIVE POLITICALLY. IT IS NECESSARY TO DEFEAT THEM IDEOLOGICALLY. THEY MUST BE ISOLATED POLITICALLY. OTHERWISE THEY DO NOT HAVE FOLLOWERS AMONG THE POPULATION, ESPECIALLY AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE. THE CAMPAIGN OF THE MAFIA MEDIA (MAINSTREAM MEDIA) WANTS US TO BELIEVE THAT THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENTS OF TOLEDO AND PANIAGUA RELEASED A LARGE NUMBER OF TERRORISTS. THAT IS A LIE. THE ONE WHO FREED MORE PRISONERS ACCUSED OF TERRORISM WAS PRECISELY FUJIMORI AND IT HAD TO BE THAT WAY BECAUSE THEY WERE INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO PROVED THEIR INNOCENCE BEFORE THE JUDICIARY AUTHORITIES. THERE IS A QUESTION THAT MANY PERUVIANS DO NOT WANT TO ASK THEMSELVES: WHO KILLED MORE PEOPLE, SHINING PATH OR THE ARMY? THE ANSWER IS THE ARMY. THERE ARE COUNTLESS GRAVES THAT HAVE APPEARED, AT LEAST 30,000 PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON THE TRUTH. MOST OF THEM INNOCENT PEOPLE, MANY CHILDREN AND WOMEN, AS IN THE NIGHT ALL CATS ARE BROWN THEN THEY HAVE TO KILL THEM ALL. THAT WAS THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE ARGENTINE FASCISTS THAT KILLED THOUSANDS DURING THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT. THAT HAPPENED HERE ALSO, HERE ALSO WE HAVE OUR VIDELAS, OUR LUCIANO MENENDEZ, OUR MASERAS, BUT THEY ARE IN JAIL IN THEIR COUNTRY. HERE OUR CRIMINALS ARE UNPUNISHED AND FREE AND THIS MOBSTER SECTOR OF THE MEDIA AND THE FUJIMORISMO WANT TO VICTIMIZE THEM AND THEY HAVE EVEN ASKED TO HAVE THEM DECLARED NATIONAL HEROES. YOU BET! UNFORTUNATELY, IN OUR COUNTRY, THE ARMED FORCES AND THE POLICE HAVE THEIR HANDS TIED AS A RESULT OF THE ACTIONS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS. MANY UNIFORMED COMBATANTS ARE RELUCTANT TO ACT OUT OF FEAR TO BE INCARCERATED. THE PRINCIPLE OF AUTHORITY HAS BEEN LOST IN THE COUNTRY FROM THE TRAINING SCHOOL AND THIS HAS AN IMPACT ON THE FORMATION OF PRINCIPLES AND VALUES OF THE PERUVIAN SOCIETY. The Government does not face this problem with political decision. It only does it with badly planned military actions, sending as cannon fodder inexperienced boys and children of the popular class. The way to defeat them is simply allowing them to participate in elections and thus defeat them definitively through the democratic vote. Why so much fear from politicians? "WHAT ISN'T BORN DOESN'T GROW." THESE TERRORIST CRIMINALS WILL ALWAYS BE THAT WAY. NOTHING AND NO ONE WILL CHANGE THEM. THEY DIED IN THEIR LAW AT THE TIME OF FUJIMORI. THEY MADE THEM CRY AND SUFFERED PAYING FOR THEIR MISDEEDS, BUT THERE CAME VALENTINE AND OPENED THE PRISON BARS FOR THEM, LIKE THE SOT OF CABANA, WHO BY THE WAY WAS ONE OF THE HOSTAGES AT THE HOME OF THE JAPANESE AMBASSADOR. WHEN HE WAS RELEASED, TOGETHER WITH THE LAME DIEZ CANSECO, THEY WENT TO PALACE TO INTERCEDE FOR CERPA CARTOLINI AND HIS BAND. THE "CHINESE" REJECTED THEIR REQUEST. THAT IS WHY THEY HAVE A VISCERAL HATRED AGAINST THE BEST PRESIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF PERU. REACTIONARY RIGHT IS INTERESTED IN REVIVING SHINING PATH, TO PUT IN ONE SACK ALL THOSE THAT PROTEST AGAINST THE ABUSES OF THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT. Shining Path was defeated and humiliated when Fujimori captured the worst Latin America genocidal alive, Abimael GuzmÃ¡n (30,000 Peruvian were victims of his insane actions) and introduced him before the world press in pinstripe suit and caged. Therefore, communists who sympathized with Shining Parth reacted with a visceral, irrational, anti-fujimorismo of hatred and deep fuji-phobic grudge, rather than being outraged at the terrorist insanity. Unfortunately, with the support of some candid useful fools as the nobel in literature MVLL, the former President Tolebrio and Diego Garcia Se Allana, President of the IACHR, who relaxed, commuted and released thousands of terrorists. Shining Path has been reorganized, strengthened and it has begun to kill thousands of Peruvians and to destroy the infrastructure of the country. Candidate Ollanta stated that terrorists were "social activists." That is why this Government applies a permissive anti-subversion strategy, to let do and to let pass to the terrorists as result of the Government permissiveness. Although he is paying lip service stating that he will face and will destroy them. In the background, as result of an ideological affinity he allows them to expand and consolidate. Some earlier commentators are so idiots that they are blind. Here the only thing we must think about is to be on the side of our homeland PERU and defending it against all those that want to make it BLEED... IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO RECOGNIZE THE GOOD DEEDS THAT THE FORMER PRESIDENT FUJIMORI DID DURING HIS ADMINISTRATION? Ali Ramirez is right, terrorism was defeated by we, Peruvians, who said no to terrorism. Terrorism does not fit in our society. Today, they are only bands of drug traffickers. There is a lack of strategy on the part of the Government, it is time that they start to work and eradicate terror. There are so many bellied militaries, what do they do? They only earn the money they want and produce nothing. Moreover Fujimorism, a card-carrying Japanese family, must return to their country and leave Peru so that Peruvians turn our homeland into a great country. Stop plundering Peru. REGISTER MOVADEF AND WAIT FOR THE FUTURE OR ARE YOU AFRAID THAT AN OUTSIDER EMERGES THAT MAKE YOU MOURN AND BECOME DEPRESSED AS ALAN GARCÃA THAT UTILIZED FRAUD TO BECOME A PRESIDENT. HA HA, CREOLE DEMOCRACY IN MY COUNTRY IS SOMETHING TO LAUGH AT.