Shining Path, Span. Sendero Luminoso, Peruvian Communist guerrilla force, officially the Communist party of Peru. Founded in 1970 by Abimael Guzmán Reynoso as an orthodox Marxist-Leninist offshoot of the Peruvian Communist party, the Shining Path turned to terrorism in 1980. By the mid-1980s it had several thousand guerrillas, largely in rural central and S Peru. The group began urban terrorism in the late 1980s. In 1992 President Fujimori instituted martial law, and the subsequent capture and life sentence of Guzmán and the jailing of most the organization's central committee diminished their guerrilla raids and largely ended any serious threat to the government. The group persisted, however, continuing its attacks on a smaller scale, and experienced a minor resurgence from 2007, when it became involved in protecting the illegal cocaine trade. In 20 years of fighting as many as 69,000 people, most of them civilians, died. In 2003, Guzmán's conviction was overturned, but a new proceeding in 2004 ended in a mistrial. Guzmán was retried a second time beginning in 2005, and was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison. In 2012 the government claimed to have defeated a remnant group operating in central Peru; other remnants remained in S Peru.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.