The Shining Path is back


Remember the Shining Path of Peru? Two decades ago, these Maoist narcoterrorists were the world's foulest guerrillas. They blew up every marketplace in sight, terrorized the countryside, kidnapped countless innocent people, tortured and killed at least 35,000 people, cost Peru $25 billion and spread terror unlike any known throughout the hemisphere.

They were so horrible that Peruvians were willing to elect a near—dictator, Alberto Fujimori, to the presidency in 1990, and along with that, tolerate a lot of his ironfisted corruption. Just to get rid of these communists. Meanwhile, whole villages in Peru, unprotected in the Andes, formed communal collectives — which ironically resembled what the Maoists sought — explicitly to defend themselves against the Shining Path. These monsters did so much damage to Peru that Peruvians are yet to be over them more than 10 years after their destruction. Their only familiars are the dreaded FARC of Colombia.

Appallingly enough, they are back. Agencia EFE reports  the horrifying spectacle:

A unit of some 40 guerrillas of the down—but—not—out Shining Path, a Maoist revolutionary movement that terrorized much of Peru in the 1980s, swept through a highland town covering walls with graffiti and scaring residents, officials said.

The thugs covered the undefended village with red flags and took pains to explain to the villagers that they didn't want to be denounced, because they had 'changed.' as EFE reports:

Security officials told EFE that the guerrillas asked townspeople for food and "not to denounce them," saying that their behavior "is now different, that there would not be violence as in the past."

To Peruvian ears, this must have sounded like Nazis explaining to victims that they were now reformed, but nevertheless remained Nazis, except that they were 'good' Nazis. In the sickening spectacle the Peruvian villagers quickly sought help.

These Shining Path terrorists have been out of business since President Fujimori took them out in the early 1990s. Peruvians have not been bothered by them since. The fact that they have sprung to life again is a negative development. It may mean a sign of distress in Peru's economy and institutions, prompting the fringes of society to join terrorists. Even more likely, it may mean this crew is getting money and support from abroad — because it surely isn't from the villages. Already, there has been fearsome political turmoil in two of Peru's neighbors, Ecuador and Bolivia in the last two months. In both cases, the fomentation came from forces accused of taking money from Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Care to guess where the newly recrudescent Shining Path is getting its succor?

A.M. Mora y Leon 05 18 05