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The Shining Path, or the Communist Party of Peru for the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui, is one of the most radical and violent of the many left wing terrorist groups in the world. They claim to be Marxists, however, they are really Maoists, favoring a peasant-run socialist economy instead of one led by a corps of urban cadres. They have been responsible for over 25,000 murders since they began operating in 1980.

Their actions include assasinations, bombings, raids, and other ultraviolent activities. They were the group responsible for the siege at the Japanese embassy in Lima, Peru a few years back. Not a single terrorist survived that episode.

Their organization has been under attack recently, with the capture of various Shining Path leaders. Their founder, Abimael Guzmán Reynoso, was arrested in 1992 and is serving a life sentence in a special prison. He was an "intellectual", while being a Maoist, also envied other communist models, including Stalinist Russia and even the Cambodian Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot. Their funds come from various sources, from South American drug kingpins to robbery. Shining Path terrorists would enter a rural Peruvian town, kill all the shopkeepers (in the name of Marxism, of course), and steal all their possessions.

By the way, Rage Against the Machine gave money to these murderers.

Sorry DMan, but the Sendero Luminoso wished to be responsible for the siege in the Japanese embassy back in 1996 (and beginning of 1997) because of all the publicity. However, it was the MRTA: Moviemento Revolutionario de Tupac Amaru, and the terrorists were executed without any form of trial.

First of all, don't get me wrong, I don't agree with their activities, but I can imagine why they use violence. uhmmm, let me phrase this different: I don't know what I would do if I was growing up and living up there in the Andes.
Violence is something you use when you run out of arguments before having said something. Normally. But what if you're not allowed to say something? What if, when you do say something that isn't positive about the government, get killed? What if your family members show clear signs of malnutrition? What if there's no good health security, education etc in your region of the country...???
I don't think there is a clear and firm line between "the good guys vs. the bad guys". It's easier to judge/misjudge(?) when sitting and relaxing with the prejudices in a comfi-chair in a rich First World country.

The actions by the Sendero Luminoso in the eighties did make a difference: e.g. there are more schools, vaccination programs, and villages get electricity. IIRC, the political actions of the Sendero Luminoso are in a dormant state, and "other" activities involve drug trafficking, and indeed, taking over villages in the selva (Tingo Maria and it's region).

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