The Lucanamarca massacre

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22/02/2017 by socialistfight

By Tony Fox

Peruvian villagers bury the dead of Lucanamarca  in April 1983

A group of Peruvian comrades from the Communist party of Peru (Shining Path) spoke on the situation in their country at the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group meeting on 17 February 2017 and urged solidarity to free their leader, Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán), and sought support for their Declaration of Lima. Some disquiet was later expressed about this group, obviously for the reasons outlined here.

In April 1983, Shining Path (SP) militants responded to the killing of one of their members by killing 69 people in Lucanamarca in the province of Huancasancos. They killed eighteen children, one only six months old, eleven women, some of whom were pregnant, and eight elderly people between fifty and seventy years old. [1]

Most of the victims died by machetes and axes but some were mercifully shot in the head. This was the first massacre committed by the Shining Path against the Peruvian peasantry. Countless others followed until the capture of Abimael Guzmán, the founder and leader, in 1992 effectively ending the reign of terror. Here he admits they carried out the massacre and justifies it by using the name of Lenin:

“In the face of reactionary military actions and the use of mesnadas (local defence squads against their SP ‘liberators’ – TF), we responded with a devastating action: Lucanamarca. Neither they nor we have forgotten it, to be sure, because they got an answer that they didn’t imagine possible. More than 80 were annihilated, that is the truth. And we say openly that there were excesses, as was analyzed in 1983. But everything in life has two aspects. Our task was to deal a devastating blow in order to put them in check, to make them understand that it was not going to be so easy. On some occasions, like that one, it was the Central Leadership itself that planned the action and gave instructions. That’s how it was. In that case, the principal thing is that we dealt them a devastating blow, and we checked them and they understood that they were dealing with a different kind of people’s fighters, that we weren’t the same as those they had fought before… If we were to give the masses a lot of restrictions, requirements and prohibitions, it would mean that deep down we didn’t want the waters to overflow. And what we needed was for the waters to overflow, to let the flood rage, because we know that when a river floods its banks it causes devastation, but then it returns to its riverbed. I repeat, this was explained clearly by Lenin, and this is how we understand those excesses. But, I insist, the main point was to make them understand that we were a hard nut to crack, and that we were ready for anything, anything”—Abimael Guzmán. [2]

They routinely assassinated state officials, trade union organisers, other leftists, including Maoists, voters in elections etc. On 16-7-84, a group of between 30 and 40 members of the Shining Path used pickaxes, hammers, stones and guns to slaughter around 100 villagers in several locations in the south of Ayacucho province, in a case known as the “bus of death”.  They admired Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, the genocidal rulers of Cambodia ousted by Vietnam. Fujimori’s Grupo Colina death squads landed him in the same prison as Guzmán now— they deserve each other. The SP is a culturally and politically reactionary movement.

Free Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán)?

[1] LA MASACRE DE LUCANAMARCA (1983),, Accessed 20-2-17 (Spanish).

[2] Interview with Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán), 30-3-14 in El Diario, a pro-Shining Path Newspaper. Accessed 20-2-17 (English).  ▲

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