Shining Path

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(Spanish, Sendero Luminoso)

Peruvian left-wing terrorist group, active from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. The Shining Path gained notoriety for the violence of its campaign against the Peruvian government, which claimed some 28,000 lives. Founded in 1970 by a philosophy professor, Abimael Guzmán, the movement adopted the revolutionary principles of Mao Zedong; its many recruits came both from universities and from the disadvantaged Amerindian peoples of the Andes. From 1980 it attacked projects established by foreign aid agencies in rural areas, but later moved to the major cities. The emergency powers taken by President Alberto Fujimori in 1992, in an attempt to stem political violence, led in the first place to increased guerrilla activity, especially against local politicians, but resulted in the capture and sentencing of Guzmán to life imprisonment in September of that year. Following the arrest of their leader, who called for a cessation of fighting, some 6000 Shining Path members took advantage of a government amnesty and surrendered. Isolated pockets of resistance remain in more remote areas (where the group has murdered Amazonian Indians opposed to their campaign).

Subjects: World History.

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