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The Collective
Saturday, September 20, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: Peru rebel rejects surrender call:

Comrade Artemio, whose real name is Filomeno Cerron Cardoso, leads what is left of the group.

In his first apparent interview in almost two years, he told a local radio station near the rebel stronghold, Radio La Luz in Aucayacu in Huanuco region, that the rebels completely rejected an ultimatum issued by Peru’s national police chief to surrender.

“We still insist that what is needed is a political solution, what is needed is a general amnesty and national reconciliation,” he said.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if one’s first reaction was “the Shining Who?” depending on one’s age and predisposition to pay attention to Latin American politics. The Shining Path was once one of the most fearsome and violent guerrilla groups in the history of Latin America and they created a great of havoc in their day. However, they are now less than a shadow of a shell of their former selves:

The Shining Path nowadays is just a fraction of its former size, reports the BBC’s Dan Collyns from Lima, but its fighters still control remote coca-growing areas of Peru’s central jungle and are heavily involved in the drugs trade.

Experts say there are no more than 150 fighters and they no longer present a threat to national security.

The group has killed dozens of policemen and anti drugs workers in recent years, but it is a far cry from the Maoist-inspired organisation of the 1980s and 1990s which tried to impose a communist regime and in the process saw almost 70,000 people killed, our reporter adds.

This is not a group in a position to demand much of anything from the government. Indeed, save for the legacy of the name,1 they would appear to be little more than petty criminals at the moment.

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  1. To range into the silly for a moment, I have always thought the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso in Spanish) had ones of the best all time guerrilla group names-although nothing can top this one. []
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