A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

BAAD - Shining Path (SL) - 2012


Shining Path (SL)

Shining Path, or Sendero Luminoso (SL), was founded in 1970 by Abimeal Guzman, a philosophy professor at the National University of San Cristobal de Huamanga.[1] Heavily influenced by leftist ideology, Guzman adhered most steadfastly to Maoist ideas and the methods of the Chinese Revolution.[2] Throughout the 1970s the group was relatively dormant, slowly increasing membership to over 500 leading up to April 1980, when the Shining Path announced a declaration of war against the Peruvian government.[3] One month later, four members of the group burned ballots, marking the beginning of violent clashes between Shining Path and the government.[4]
The lack of a formidable military presence in the areas in which Shining Path operated allowed the group to perpetrate attacks virtually unopposed.[5] Initially, their main targets were local authorities, but this expanded overtime to encompass infrastructure and civilians.[6] The 1980s in Peru were marked by significant violence with the death toll rising to roughly 20,000 by the end of the decade.[7] In 1992, Abimeal Guzman was captured and imprisoned.[8] His arrest caused a sharp decline in the fighting power of the group. A year after his 1992 arrest and conviction to a life sentence, Guzman advocated for a peace deal, which split Shining Path into two camps, those that wished to continue fighting and those who wanted to pursue negotiations.[9]
Despite a resurgence in the 2000s,[10] Shining Path does not present the same threat to Peru as it once did, although it does continue to harass the state through various means. Primary activities for Shining Path revolve around drug trafficking, through which the organization is able to generate significant income from escorting and protecting drug traffickers.[11] View full narrative

Quick Facts for 2012


118 (Total of 1998 through 2012)


Greater than 500

Territorial Control:
Does Not Control Territory (0)

Funding through Drug Trafficking:

Sorry, but there are no organizational details available for this group at this time.


Primary Ideology

  • Ag = Anti-Globalization
  • An = Anarchist
  • En = Ethnic
  • Ev = Environmental
  • Le = Leftist
  • Re = Religious
  • Ri = Rightist
  • Se = Separatist
  • Su = Supremacist
  • Vi = Vigilante


  •  Ally
  •  Suspected Ally
  •  Rival
  •  Violence
  •  Mixed Relations


  •  Blue 0 - 1479 fatalities
  •  Green 1479 - 2958 fatalities
  •  Yellow 2958 - 4437 fatalities
  •  Orange 4437 - 5916 fatalities
  •  Red 5916 - 7396 fatalities

Lethality is calculated as the total number of fatalities from 1998-2012.


Icon sizes depict approximate relative sizes of the organizations.

  • Smallest 0 - 10 members
  •   11 - 100 members
  •   101 - 1000 members
  •   1001 - 10000 members
  • Largest > 10000 members

Other Notes

Icons with no color coding or ideology icon have no detailed data at this time, and are provided as relationship information only.