The End of the Shining Path? Apparently not.
On Dec. 8th, I wrote about the Dec. 7th interview with Comrade Artemio, one of the two leaders of the Maoist-inspired Peruvian terrorist organization Sendero Luminoso. In the interview, Comrade Artemio announced a ceasefire and called on the Peruvian government to meet with them to negotiate a peaceful win-win situation. My primary argument was that despite Comrade Artemio’s admission that el Sendero had been tactically defeated, there might still be reason to proceed with caution.
Yesterday was the bloodiest day seen by el Perú in quite some time. One soldier was killed and five others were wounded when guerillas ambushed a military vehicle near Ayacucho. A few hours later, seven more soldiers were wounded when an air force helicopter searching for the guerillas was attacked while dropping off special operations troops for a mission.
As I mentioned on my blog last week, part of the disconnect comes from the fact that the remnants of el Sendero split off into two factions. While none of the news sources have verified which faction carried out yesterday’s attacks, it’s important to note that they took place in the region where Comrade Jose’s faction operates. To his credit, it seems unlikely that Comrade Artemio broke the ceasefire he called for. But it just goes to show how divided the two factions are, and it underscores his statement that he could not speak for Comrade Jose’s faction.
Neither of the factions is recognized as being part of the “true” Sendero by its founder, since they have continued the campaign of violence for almost a decade after he called (from prison) for all Senderistas to lay down their arms.
Let me reiterate something I said last week:
In the end, we hope and we pray for peace. While it seems unlikely that the government of Peru will “negotiate” with el Sendero, hopefully both factions will go the way of the ETA in Spain, rather than taking heart from the example of the FARC in Colombia. The legacy of el Sendero has clearly left its scar, and it’s time for the people who have been wounded the most to seek closure.