The Washington Post published today an article by Joshua Partlow and Lucien Chauvin, about the resurgence of the Shining Path guerrilla group (Sendero Luminoso) in Peru.
The article titled "In Peru, a Rebellion Reborn" includes a good photo of an Indigenous soldier recovering from his wounds at a hospital in Peru, and highlights "Dreaded Shining Path Returns as a Drug-Financed Movement Seeking Popular Support"
My first impression on the article is that it seems like an alarmist propaganda note – posted in an entire page: a rare privilege for any news coming from South America.
About the picture, it drew my attention not only the physical attractiveness of the Indigenous Peruvian man, but the impeccable looks of the hospital -coordinated colors, a large mirror and new clean sheets- something that doesn’t match what I've seen in the poor hospitals of Lima.
Shining Path: an invention of some groups
I've never been able to understand the nature of Sendero Luminoso (SL), but I support those who think that SL was a movement created by racist interests of alienated Andean and Creole groups, and other interest groups eager for power. SL has never been a good alternative that favors the Indigenous peoples of Peru; on the contrary it has been one of its worst bloodthirsty enemies.
For the Indigenous peoples of Peru, the legacy and the image of SL is the same left by the brutal paramilitary groups and the abusive police and military sectors of the Peruvian State: they are plain thieves, rapists and murderers.
Meanwhile, Abimael Guzmán, the top leader and founder of SL-lives tranquilly in a prison of Lima, paid with the money of Peruvians. In his hometown Ayacucho his name is still respected, and there is a building at the San Cristobal University named after him.
Now that the government of Alan García faces a deep moral, economic, political, and ideological crisis, suffering of lack of leaders with the ability to maintain the cabinet afloat, despair is notorious.
Garcia has recently resorted to a post Yehude Simon –a pseudo leftist and repentant former member of the bloodthirsty MRTA guerrilla group- as his Prime Minister.
In a country where the elites live permanently afraid that the rest of Peruvians will elect a leftist leader in the 2011 elections, anything is possible.
It is possible for instance, to create fear, war and violence in order to gain power and authority. The alleged resurgence of the Shining Path, appears to be an orchestrated and planned movement, intended to remove the wounds of violence that we Peruvians witnessed in the 1980s and 1990s - and to ensure abusive actions of the Garcia government.
WP's article speaks of a changed SL, now less radical than their Maoists predecessors, and that promotes a communist government system that even accepts foreign investment. It includes opinions from Peru’s Vice President Luis Giampietri, who was involved in the killing of innocent civilians in 1986, crimes for which he hasn’t been prosecuted yet.
The wily Giampietri makes a comparison of SL with the FARC, the Colombian guerrilla group that depends on cocaine sales for survival. But Giampietri but doesn’t mention that right-wing paramilitaries in Colombia -associated with the Uribe government and as is happening in Peru with the current government- also benefit from the trade of a drug that should have been legalized long ago.
The response that Garcia's government is offering to this supposed SL rebellion, is an aggressive military action that cares little about the rights of civilians. It sends into battle troops of Indigenous youth -like the man in the photo- to fight for a country that offers them no opportunities, against other young Indigenous people like themselves.
That is the same attitude that Alan García showed in his first government (1985-1990) when -oh, what a coincidence- both SL as MRTA became more aggressive, violent and destructive than ever. At the same time drug trafficking increased significantly, and since Garcia has taken power for a second term, the production of cocaine has increased by 18 percent in Peru, as the WP article mentions.
It does not sound too hard to believe that a corrupt government protected by unjust elites in control of a country, is capable of orchestrating an internal war -to cause destruction and death among the poorest and most exploited of the same country. It is very possible in Peru. Because like it happened more than ten years ago, if SL resurges and promotes another civil war, the privileged rich Peruvians won’t suffer the greatest consequences.
Again, the poor Peruvians will be bearing the brunt.
Then again, Garcia's government and the elites who support it, will have the power they need to get out of the current crises they are facing, and that way they can suppress peaceful social struggles underway in Peru. Those who fight against Garcia will be called terrorists and human rights violation will be legitimized.
Incidentally, the same interest groups will benefit from the arms race and the business involving the nightmares carried by wars and armed conflicts. And then, when the country is going again under violence and chaos, corrupted former dictator Alberto Fujimori -or his cynical daughter Keiko- will raise as the saviors of Peru, and perhaps Peruvians will fall for it.
I hope that none of that will occur.