The Peruvian Ministry of Justice informed this Saturday (11) that the founder of the guerrilla group Sendero Luminoso, 86-year-old Abimael Guzmán, has passed away. Accused of terrorism, he had been serving life in prison in Lima since the 1990s. The cause of death was not reported.
Guzmán, who was serving his sentence at the Callao Naval Base, was a philosophy professor at the San Cristóbal de Huamanga National University in Ayacucho, about 60 kilometers from Lima, when he joined other Peruvian intellectuals to form the Shining Path in the 1930s. 1960, to face the military dictatorship that was installed in the country with the support of the United States government.
Guzmán prison, on September 12, 1992, began to dismantle the group, which came to control southern Peru in the 1980s, after the fall of the military dictatorship. The Shining Path, with a Maoist bent, believed in the peasant revolution and began to organize itself in rural areas of the country, before rising to the urban region.
The fall of Shining Path was a banner of then-president Alberto Fujimori, who used the hunt for the group for political ends. In 2009, the former Peruvian president was sentenced to 25 years in prison by the country’s court for abuses against Guzmán’s group.
Fujimori was allegedly behind the massacre of Barrios Altos and La Cantuta, in Lima, on November 3, 1991, when 15 people were shot dead at a party. The former president would also have ordered, according to the court, the kidnapping of journalists, professors and students.
The Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movadef) is among the organizations demanding a general amnesty for members of the Shining Path, which included Guzmán. Since the electoral campaign, the Peruvian right has tried to link both President-elect Pedro Castillo and members of his government, such as Prime Minister Guido Bellido Ugarte, to the defense of terrorism, accusing them of links with organizations like Movadef. The relationship has been denied by members of the Peruvian government.
Edition: Mauro Ramos