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Published: July 22nd 2005
Sorry if this is a little broken up, but I´m just going by my notes from the lecture:
Between 1980-2000: 69,000 people were killed in the Ayacucho Highlands by both the Shining Path Movement and the military.
The ones who lived, did so by fleeing the country.
Recently the older people are coming back, but all the younger people have found better lives elsewhere and prefer not to come back.
Shining Path was started in 1980 by a professor of philosophy at the university here in Ayacucho. His name was Guzman. The man who gave us this lecture was also a professor there, and was friends with Guzman.
In the 80´s there was a lot of interest in Mao in China, the Cuban revolution, and any other communist movement.
The government of Peru was corrupt and communism´s philosophy of equal distribution of wealth appealed to most people, especially the students.
Guzman trained many teachers, students, peasants, etc...then in 1980 he declared war on the government of Peru.
This war started in the streets of Ayacucho.
They destroyed anything that had to do with government. Schools, building, electrical towers, phone lines, factories, etc.
They were supposedly working for the people, but they destroyed everything the people needed to live.
In order to fund their activities, they charged the drug runners for protection.
But 1985 the Shining Path controls the Peruvian highlands. If you did not go along with them you were killed.
They used car bombs, donkey bombs, dog bombs, and baby bombs. Mirasole, the woman who runs CCS, witnessed a few baby bombs as a little kid.
There ended up being mass, unmarked graves everywhere. Bodies lined the streets.
The group that was working for the people, now had the power they did not believe anyone should have, and they were using it.
They had lost the philosophy they started with. There was no rhyme or reason to their violence anymore.
The military finally acted against the Shining Path. They came to the highlands and fought them. But the people were caught in the middle.
If the people did not give in to the Shining Path, they were raped, killed, etc. But if they did give it, then the military would kill them. There was no way to win.
This went on for years and years, until the Shining Path tried to take over Lima, the capital of Peru.
They bombed a building in Mira Flores (where I stayed in Lima, a rich neighborhood) and killed 12 people. This was in 1992. 12 years after it started.
Because Lima was a major city, the world began to take notice. The U.S. did not want Peru to become a communist state, or they, along with the UN began to train the military on how to fight a guerrilla war against the Shining Path.
The government of Peru worked with the drug traffickers. They gave them safe passage if they stopped funding the Shining Path. They also armed and trained the peasants.
This ended up working. In Sept. 1992, they caught Guzman in a wealthy neighborhood in Lima. After his capture, the Shining Path had no direction. Different factions started fighting each other. There was still a lot of violence until about 1998. Then in 2000, the Shining Path was declared dead.
There are still members in the jungle and highlands, but they are unorganized now and mostly just petty thieves.
We tried to find out how the man lecturing us got away with his life when he decided now to join, but he would not answer the question. I think there is more to the story, but who knows what that is.
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