Beyond Guzman? The future of the Shining Path in Peru
Rix, James C.
McCormick, Gordon H.
Tollefson, Scott D.
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Peru's Shining Path revolutionary movement is at a crossroads. With the September 1992 capture of its founder Abimael Guzman and much of its Central Committee, the movement that appeared so strong has now been decapitated. Given this, it is tempting to dismiss the Shining Path as a significant threat to Peru's current order. This thesis contends that it is too early to close the book on the Shining Path as a long-term threat. While no one can as yet accurately assess the Shining Path's future, the most important determinant of the Shining Path's fate will be its ability to contain the damage of Guzman's capture by adapting to a new state of affairs. This thesis analyzes the organization's record of flexibility and appeal by examining the ideology, strategy, and tactics employed through the course of its 12 year war. The thesis concludes that the organization, while uncompromising at the ideological level, has demonstrated an exceptional degree of flexibility at the tactical level. This flexibility will be essential if the organization is to regroup and continue its assault. While the outcome is uncertain this soon after Guzman's capture, the Shining Path's demonstrated capacity to adapt to diverse circumstances suggests that the organization has the capability, after a period of reconsolidation, to renew itself and continue its revolutionary war.
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