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Shining Path - Simon Strong

Shining Path - Simon Strong

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A detailed account of Peru's Shining Path explores the devastating impact of the terrorist revolutionaries on Peru; exposes the group's history, bizarre ideology, and global links; and examines the potential international implications of the Shining Path. 

The Shining Path (Spanish: Sendero Luminoso), officially the Communist Party of Peru (Partido Comunista del Perú, abbr. PCP), is a far-left political party and guerrilla group in Peru, following Marxism–Leninism–Maoism and Gonzalo Thought. Academics often refer to the group as the Communist Party of Peru – Shining Path (Partido Comunista del Perú – Sendero Luminoso, abbr. PCP-SL) to distinguish it from other communist parties in Peru. When it first launched its "people's war" in 1980, the Shining Path's goal was to overthrow the government through guerrilla warfare and replace it with a New Democracy.

The Shining Path believed that by establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat, inducing a cultural revolution, and eventually sparking a world revolution, they could arrive at full communism. Their representatives stated that the then-existing socialist countries were revisionist, and the Shining Path was the vanguard of the world communist movement. The Shining Path's ideology and tactics have influenced other Maoist insurgent groups such as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) and other Revolutionary Internationalist Movement-affiliated organizations.

The Shining Path has been widely condemned for its brutality, including violence deployed against peasants, trade union organizers, competing Marxist groups, elected officials and the general public.

The Shining Path is regarded as a terrorist organization by the government of Peru, along with Japan, the United States, the European Union, and Canada, all of whom consequently prohibit funding and other financial support to the group. Since the captures of Shining Path founder Abimael Guzmán in 1992 and his successors Óscar Ramírez in 1999 and Comrade Artemio in 2012, the Shining Path declined in activity.

The main remaining faction of the Shining Path, the Militarized Communist Party of Peru (MPCP), is active in the Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro (VRAEM) region of Peru, and it has since distanced itself from the Shining Path's legacy in 2018 in order to maintain the support of peasants previously persecuted by the Shining Path.

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