Every September 12 the capture of one of the most cruel genocide perpetrators in the country is remembered. This event meant the decline of the most bloodthirsty terrorist group in the country and a triumph for Peru. Credits: Andina
The life of Manuel Rubén Abimael Guzmán Reinoso begins in the town of Mollendo, Islay province, in Arequipa, on December 3, 1934. After having lived as a child alone with his mother, Berenice Reinoso Cervantes, in Sicuani, Cusco, and Chimbote, in Áncash, traveled to Callao to resume his studies and stay with relatives on his mother’s side.
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Following the death of Berenice Reinoso, Abimael went to live again in Arequipa with his father, Abimael Guzmán Silva, an accountant who had 10 children with different women. In fact, he recognized Abimael
Abimael studied high school at the La Salle school, of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, in Arequipa, and at the age of 19 he entered the University of San Agustín to graduate in Law and Philosophy. In that house of studies he began to be interested in the doctrines of Karl Marx and Immanuel Kant. Here he became director of his teacher training program, which attracted students from indigenous peoples.
Carlos La Torre, leader of the Communist Party in Ayacucho, often invited Guzmán to debate issues related to communism. And this is how he meets Augusta La Torre, the first wife of the founder of the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso, who was already familiar with communist doctrine and who supported the idea of ending the inequalities that affect Peruvian society through a revolution.
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Augusta’s parents celebrated their daughter’s civil wedding in 1964, when La Torre was a minor and Guzmán was already close to 30 years old. The recent couple used to frequent Luis Lumbreras, a prominent Peruvian archaeologist, who testified that Augusta was very intelligent, very affectionate and a unique person. He also stated that if “one of the two had led a revolution,” he assured that it would be Augusta.
The wedding of Abimael Guzmán and Augusta La Torre with their parents. Credits: RPP
Since 1962 he served as a professor at the National University of San Cristóbal de Huamanga, in Ayacucho. A year later he was appointed delegate of the Faculty of Social Sciences, where he began communist infiltration work. In a context of violence, he joined other professors and followers of Marxism to begin what he called the Maoist “popular revolution” in Peru.
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In 1965 he traveled to China several times to gain more detailed knowledge about Mao Zedong’s government. Upon his return from that trip he had a vision of a Peru without money, banks, industry or foreign trade, where the inhabitants would live off of barter.
He left teaching in 1975 and went underground. His allies began recruiting peasants and university students, persuading them that the so-called “armed struggle” was the only way to pave the way for a new State governed by the people, an idea with which consolidated the creation of the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso.
According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Shining Path is responsible for almost 54% of the dead and missing during the political violence in Peru: 12,500 fatalities, of them eleven thousand civilians murdered and 1,500 missing.
In 1980, the village of Chuschi received the first impact from followers of the organization, where the electoral ballots were burned in an election that awarded the presidency to Fernando Belaúnde Terry.
Shining Path ruthlessly attacked thousands of peasants who did not join them or who collaborated with the Government. His followers placed bombs on electrical towers, public buildings and indiscriminately murdered police, soldiers, politicians and civilians.
On the other hand, the government reacted violently by murdering and torturing Quechua-speaking peasants, since they were considered collaborators of Sendero.
Another of the ferocious Sendero Luminoso attacks occurred in Lima, exactly on Tarata Street, in Miraflores, where a car bomb loaded with 250 kilos of explosives destroyed and damaged buildings, businesses, cars and killed 25 people.
The attack on Tarata Street was an act orchestrated by the Sendero Luminoso board.
Luis Alberto Arana Franco, administrator of the César Vallejo Academy and the main provider of funds for the central leadership of the terrorist organization, known as “Cholo Sotil”, was captured by the forces of the Special Intelligence Group (GEIN) of the Directorate Against Terrorism (Dircote) of the National Police of Peru, in mid-1992 during the Huascahura operation.
This operation dismantled the operations of the logistical and financial apparatus of the terrorist organization. The capture of important commanders made “Cholo Sotil” take precautions to avoid being intervened, however this did not prevent him from being tracked.
Arana Franco was general administrator of the César Vallejo pre-university academy. The César Vallejo and ADUNI academies had become Maoist indoctrination centers for those aspiring to enter a national university. Before Arana Franco assumed the position of general administrator, the Police had intervened at the César Vallejo academy, dismantling the Special Working Group (GET) that operated there. The intervention caused Arana Franco to assume the general administration, under the auspices of Abimael Guzmán.
31 years ago, on Saturday, September 12, 1992, “Operation Victory” took place, a perfect plan that allowed the fall of Abimael Guzmán, the greatest bloodthirsty terrorist that our country witnessed.
That day, in a house in a middle-class neighborhood in Lima, a group of GEIN troops captured him without firing a shot, after a long and patient follow-up of the also called “Comrade Gonzalo.”
During Alberto Fujimori’s government, Abimael was shown to the press wearing a black and white striped prisoner’s suit, locked in a cage. A military court sentenced him to life imprisonment, but that sentence was annulled in 2003 by decision of the Constitutional Court when it considered unconstitutional several presidential decrees that authorized the execution of secret trials.
A new trial that took place between September 2005 and October 2006 again sentenced Abimael Guzmán to life imprisonment. In addition, ten other Shining Path leaders were also sentenced.
Abimael Guzmán, the leader of Sendero Luminoso and the creator of terrorism in Peru. (Andean)
The founder and leader of the Shining Path terrorist group, Abimael Guzmán Reinoso, died at the age of 86, a victim of “bilateral pneumonia” while serving a life sentence at the Callao Naval Base.
According to the National Penitentiary Institute of Peru (INPE), Abimael Guzmán lost his life at 6:40 in the morning on Saturday, September 11, 2021 “due to complications in his state of health.” Pulmonology experts said bilateral pneumonia develops when pathogens – whether viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms – inflame the lungs.