Political Violence and the Grassroots in Lima, Peru

Jo‐Marie Burt

in The New Politics of Inequality in Latin America

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780198781837
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598968 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 Political Violence and the Grassroots in Lima, Peru

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In the early 1990s, the rural‐based Maoist guerrilla organization, know as Shining Path, held Lima virtually under siege. The capture of the movement's leader by the Fujimori government in 1992 effectively undermined the movement's activities. The question remains, however, as to why Shining Path generated so much support in Lima's shantytowns. Are poor people more willing to support violent political alternatives? This study argues that subaltern groups in Peru continually negotiate relationships with a range of political actors, from populist presidents to leftist organizations. It looks beyond Shining Path's use of terror and intimidation to its provision of material and symbolic goods. Within the shantytowns, the absence of state services, extreme poverty, growing crime, and insecurity and weak local institutions to mediate conflict made Shining Path's tactics seem as an effective means of restoring social order and imparting social justice. The group failed to develop long‐term political ties. When the state targeted the shantytowns with increased services and provided a security, Shining Path lost support among popular sectors.

Keywords: grassroots organizations; Guerilla movements; Peru Shining Path; political violence; Shantytown; social justice; social order

Chapter.  16238 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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