Shining Path according to John Ridgway

Wed Aug 30 16:23:25 MDT 1995

> > Date:          Tue, 29 Aug 1995 23:19:51 -0400 (EDT)
> > From:          glevy at

> John Ridgway, a resident of Scotland best known for his sailing exploits,
> relates the following story of what goes on in many small villages in
> rural Peru.
> It must be tough to be a peasant in Peru today. The above is Ridgway's
> account, in my words.  Does anyone know whether it is a credible account?
> Jerry

I haven't tried to keep up with SL/PCP much lately.  SL has committed
a variety of atrocities, although there has been an unfortunate
tendency to focus attention on these and to downplay the level of
political violence perpetrated by the Peruvian Armed Forces.  I don't
know the most current figures, but two years ago Peru was the country
with the most disappearences of any country in the world.

The only thing I would point out about Ridgeway's account is that SL
has followed a very determined military strategy to move to the
cities, and now seem to be active mainly in Lima (where they also
seem to enjoy a good deal of support, clearly not only of the coerced
variety).  Also, it is pretty clear that analysis of SL will have to
take into account the arrest of Guzman and much of the SL
directorate.  Repression in the prisons has also wrecked much of its
cadre-level organization in the prisons, so Guzman's ability to lead
the movement is now in question.

Carlos Ivan Degregori is one of the leading Peruvian critics of SL
and has written a lot about it.  The most notable defender of SL here
in the US has been Carol Andreas, who wrote a very interesting book
called _When Women Rebel_.  I have found that the most reliable and
concrete analysis of SL in the US appears in the North American
Congress on Latin America's "NACLA Report on the Americas," who have
published several news and analysis items over the last couple of
years.  They are generally critical of SL, but are not superficial.

It must be hard to be anybody in Peru, unless you are rich.

Matt Davies
Matt Davies
Political Science Department
Wabash College
317-361-6031            e-mail:  daviesj at
"Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!" -- Stimpy

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