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The Reemergence of the Shining Path

The Reemergence of the Shining Path


This paper examines the critical factors that have led to the reemergence of Sendero Luminoso (SL) in Peru, beginning with a history of SL up until the capture of SL’s founder, Abimael Guzman in 1992 (the ‘old SL’) in order to provide the necessary context for examining the organizational changes which have made SL post 1992 (the ‘new SL’) so effective. This is accomplished by first, focusing on the downfall of the ‘old SL’, which can be explained, in part, because it alienated the Peruvian peasantry and was cut off from its primary source of funding (the narcotics trade). Next, this paper examines the three primary factors that have allowed for the emergence of the ‘new SL’: the change in ideology from Maoist to ‘narco-capitalist’ which has ensured that the ‘new SL’ has secure access to funding from the narcotics trade; a shift in SL’s attitudes towards the peasantry in an effort to enlist their support for the ‘new SL’; and the alliance between SL and the Cocalero movement, an association of coca growers. The latter has greatly increased SL’s access to funds, armaments and recruits, while at the same time has led to an increase in the size and influence of the narcotics industry in Peru. It is evident that the ‘new SL’, allied with the Cocalero movement, poses a mounting threat to Peruvian democracy necessitating immediate attention.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Koven, Barnett S. 2010. "The Reemergence of the Shining Path." Air & Space Power Journal (February): 1-10. http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/apjinternational/apj-s/2010/2010-2/2010_02_04_koven_eng.pdf

START Author(s): 
Barnett S. Koven
Publication URL: 
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