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The Shining Path

The Peruvian Communist Party (PCP-SL), better known as Sendero Luminoso (‘Shining Path’) was a maoist guerrilla organization in Peru. The parties roots can be drawn to the Andean department of Ayacucho, one of Peru’s pooerest and uneducated areas, where ill even the 1950s landowners continued their serflike manner of treatment toward the natives existence. The escape their dismal lives, Ayacuchans turned toward education, migrating by the thousands in their attempt to escape that existed for them back home.

The Senderos claim that May 17 of 1980 was the beginning of the “People’s

War.” The actions that sparked their new revolution occurred on the eve of Peru’s first

presidential election in seventeen years, where a group of youths broke into a town hall

of Chusch, a small Andean town. There they stole voting lists and balloboxes and

burned them in the town center plaza. While the news of this act was lost during this

time of presidential election, the grous violent acts continued and grew in the form of

explosions from bombs that had been stolen from mines.2 Minimal attention was given

to the Senderos actions until their actions escalated again n the form of dead dogs hung

by traffic lights and lamp posts in the streets of Lima. This was first move that forced

Lima to see what was knowcking on their doorstep. While May 17th has been claimed

to be their first official move, the movement began earlier than that. It was seeded in

San Cristobal de Huamanga University, the only school of higher education within the

area which had reopened its doors in 1959 (the university had beeen founded in 1677,

but had been closed since 1885).3 With the reopening of the University, the tiny

Peruvian Communist Party (P...

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challenged and their power over the other departments had never been taken from

them. A logical explanation can be granted through the mixture of Peru’s society and the

rascism that ran rampid through it.8 Latin America’s societies for the vast majority are

categorized in groups of three: Caucasion, mestizo and Indian. Within the perameters of

daily life there are few ways in which these groups can properly communicate to allow

mutual bonds to flourish. Combined with the lack of social interaction based upon racial

standards, distance is amplified through education (or lack there of), the workforce and

finally social mobility wher Caucasions dominated the wealthy share of Lima.9 This well

distinguished seperation saw that Lima witnessed the Senderos violent action as one

not against them but one as Indian on Indian far from them.

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