Shining Path Political Party Raise Fears With Talk of Future Armed Struggle

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A Peruvian political group, linked to the rebel movement of the Shining Path, has stated it might take up arms in the future, even though it has tenuous ties with the armed remnants of the group.

Leaders of the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movadef), a political movement dedicated to securing the release of imprisoned Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman, held a meeting in Ayacucho province last week in which the possibility of returning to an armed, ideological struggle was broached, reported El Comercio.

One of the speakers at the meeting declared, “Some say that … the class struggle is over. It’s not. It hasn’t finished.”

Both Manuel Fajardo and Alfredo Crespo, leaders of Movadef and also lawyers representing Guzman, stated that these struggles could develop into future clashes, with Crespo telling news program Cuarto Poder that though the group is only seeking the release of Guzman for now, there are no guarantees that armed struggle will not return further down the line, according to Peru 21.

Opposition politicians in Peru denounced Movadef’s threat of picking up arms, with one stating, “We can’t let our guard down … we have to take a stand as if we were in the most difficult era of terrorism.”

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Despite the alarm that Movadef’s comments have caused among Peruvian media, the actual threat of the group taking up arms is low, with their statements little more than rhetoric.

For one, the group is more focused on being seen as a legitimate political movement — they had their application to become a political party quashed in January — rather than an armed revolutionary force.

Secondly, Movadef’s ties with the remaining faction of the Shining Path in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE) are tenuous. The VRAE faction have openly denounced Guzman on a number of occasions, labelling him a traitor while Guzman has been similarly critical of the VRAE group, saying in 2009 that they were little more than drug traffickers with no ideology. As a result of its relationship with Guzman, it would seem that Movadef would not ally itself with the one group which could potentially aid it in any future armed struggle. 

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