Shining Path and Ridgway

Gonzalez, Francisco GONZALEZ at
Mon Sep 11 13:47:28 MDT 1995

I just have one question regarding the MIM; WHO ARE these guys, and how
can they even begin to justify the murdering practices of the
Senderistas? I have followed the events in Peru for the last 10 years,
both thorough mainstream and "alternative" media from the US and Latin
American, besides personal contacts with Peruvians of all political
points of view. To state that the assassinations like the one described
by Louis where isolated event is nonsense. Sendero Luminoso carried out
thousands of similar assassinations across Peru, I guess as a way to
intimidate the campesinos and the Aymara and Quechua Indians into
supporting their "revolution". The Indians, who are devoutly Christian,
and  lack a strong "class" (as opposed to ethnic) consciousness, resented
the heavy handed "reeducation" tactics of the Senderistas (who, as hinted
in Louis posting, were mostly non-Indian mestizos from the cities,
ignorant of the languages and ways of the highland peoples). Sendero also
carried out terrorist attacks in Lima, detonating car bombs in crowded
shopping districts as well as on the wealthy neighborhoods of the city.
This campaign of terror gave Fujimori the perfect excuse for his coup,
also allowing him the opportunity to blame Sendero Luminoso the economic
problems of the country (caused in reality by the corruption and
incompetence of Fujimori's and Alan Garcia's administrations). As a foot
note, I want to remember the readers that the military junta that ruled
Peru during the 1970's had strong leftist tendencies (the USSR provided
advanced military equipment , Soviets and Cubans served as technicians
and trainers of the Peruvian military; also civilians from Cuba and USSR
served as engineers, teachers, doctors, etc.). The military is an
inefficient (was badly defeated early this year by the smaller,
ill-equipped Ecuadorians), corrupt (due to bribes from cocaine lords) and
ideologically bankrupt organization, whose brutality in repressing the
Sendero Luminoso undoubtedly cased the deaths of thousands of innocents
but is not the driving force behind the current regime. It can maintain
Fujimori in power because there is no effective political opposition,
specially from the Left, thanks to the ideologically driven murders of
Sendero. Since the capture of Abimael Guzman, Sendero Luminoso is less of
a threat, but I think that the damage done to the progressive forces in
Peru limits their ability to mobilize against Fujimori. It is the
"neoliberal" right (led by writer Mario Vargas Llosa and former UN
secretary general Javier Perez de Cuellar) that is the main opposition
force to Fujimori.

Francisco J. Gonzalez

gonzalez at

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