Peru mu­seum of Maoist rebels bears warn­ing for fu­ture

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

In a gloomy room in Peru's anti-ter­ror­ism po­lice head­quar­ters lies a trove of old red flags and books of Marx, seized from jailed com­mu­nist rebel leader Abi­mael Guz­man. Now the po­lice of­fi­cers who cu­rate this min­imu­seum in Lima fear a new gen­er­a­tion could be dust­ing off the legacy of the leader of the dreaded Shin­ing Path guer­rilla force. In one cor­ner, dressed in striped con­vict's over­alls with his trade­mark brown sun­glasses and bushy black beard, stands a lop­sided ef­figy of Guz­man him­self­shut in a cage. That is how many Peru­vians pre­fer to think of the in­sur­gent, who turns 82 on Satur­day. His fight­ers waged a two-decade fight against the Peru­vian state that au­thor­i­ties say left 70,000 dead.

Bloody his­tory

Among the col­lec­tion-open for vis­its only by ap­point­ment-are per­sonal ef­fects taken from other Shin­ing Path fol­low­ers who were jailed over the years. Peru turned a page on a dark, bloody pe­riod in its his­tory when Guz­man was cap­tured in 1992 and handed a per­ma­nent life sen­tence. But of­fi­cials warn that now two po­lit­i­cal groups are try­ing to re­vive his legacy. The Move­ment for Amnesty and Fun­da­men­tal Rights (MOVADEF) is a group of families of im­pris­oned guer­ril­las, con­sid­ered by po­lice to be the Shin­ing Path's po­lit­i­cal wing.

An­other al­lied group is also ac­tive, po­lice say: the Peo­ple's Unity and De­fense Front (FUDEPP). "The aim of the mu­seum is to show that the mes­sage of Guz­man's cult was one of death and de­struc­tion," says Jorge Luis Pin­zas, the re­tired po­lice colonel who looks after the mu­seum. "That is some­thing that the young peo­ple who did not live through the time of ter­ror­ism have to learn, now that MOVADEF is try­ing to re­cruit them."

Prey­ing on poor

Peru has en­joyed a rel­a­tive eco­nomic boom in re­cent years, but mil­lions still live in poverty. And now growth is slow­ing. Pin­zas says the Maoist po­lit­i­cal groups are prey­ing on the young and poor to re­vive Guz­man's fun­da­men­tal­ist mes­sage: that so­ci­ety should be re­built through vi­o­lent strug­gle. "Both groups are like wolves in sheep's cloth­ing," says Pin­zas. "They do not want a new so­ci­ety. They want to de­stroy it."

MOVADEF and FUDEPP have tried to run for of­fice in elec­tions but have met with le­gal ob­sta­cles. Au­thor­i­ties fear their po­lit­i­cal ef­forts are a pre­lude to more vi­o­lence. In Septem­ber, a court barred them from seek­ing of­fice un­til they for­mally re­nounce Guz­man's teach­ings of vi­o­lence. Au­thor­i­ties es­ti­mate some 400 mem­bers of what re­mains of Shin­ing Path are en­gaged in drug traf­fick­ing in the re­mote south­east.

The two po­lit­i­cal groups mean­while have some 2,500 mem­bers -- 70 per­cent of the stu­dents, po­lice say. They de­mand a gen­eral amnesty for all who took part in the con­flict on both sides-in­clud­ing Guz­man. His lawyers mean­while have tried un­suc­cess­fully in the courts to re­claim his book col­lec­tion. The li­brary oc­cu­pies the walls of a whole room and in­cludes books by Karl Marx, Mao, Lenin and more. The books of­fer a tour through the po­lit­i­cal mind of the phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor turned guer­rilla. There is even an old travel guide: "How To Travel Through Europe On Five Dol­lars a Day." — AP

Per­sonal be­long­ings of the leader of the ter­ror­ist group Sen­dero Lu­mi­noso (Shin­ing Path), Abi­mael Guz­man, and other stuff re­lated to the group, are dis­played in a small mu­seum.

Books on Chi­nese com­mu­nist rev­o­lu­tion­ary Mao Tse-Tung that be­longed to the ter­ror­ist group Sen­dero Lu­mi­noso (Shin­ing Path), are seen in the small mu­seum at the anti-ter­ror­ist direc­tion Dir­cote ded­i­cated to the group's leader Abi­mael Guz­man.

Pic­ture taken at a mu­seum at the anti-ter­ror­ist direc­tion Dir­cote that keeps some per­sonal be­long­ings of the leader of the ter­ror­ist group Sen­dero Lu­mi­noso (Shin­ing Path), Abi­mael Guz­man, and other stuff re­lated to the group.

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