The Organization of Shining Path

  • Gabriela Tarazona-Sevillano


Shining Path (SL or Sendero) stands out among guerrilla and terrorist groups worldwide for its strong and complex organization, with a substantial grassroots support structure. These defining characteristics have helped Sendero adapt to changing circumstances in Peru and maintain itself as a viable, expanding insurgency. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the major components of the organization and to analyze its strengths and weaknesses.


Central Committee Special Squad Peruvian Government Urban Underclass Regional Commander 
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  1. 1.
    Laura Puertas, “Instruido para matar,” Caretas (Lima), May 30, 1988, p. 28.Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    José Carios Mariátegui (1895–1930) was Peru’s first Marxist analyst. His writings, in particular Siete ensayos de interpretation de la realidad peruana (Lima, 1926), strongly influenced Shining Path’s characterization of Peru.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Statistics for 1982 from David Scott Palmer, “Peru,” in Yearbook of International Communist Affairs 1983, ed. Robert Wesson (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1983), p. 123. Inflation figure for 1988 from DESCO, Resumen Semanal (Lima), 501, December 23, 1988–January 5, 1989, p. 1. Inflation figure for 1989 from El Comercio (Lima), January 5, 1990, p. A2; and for 1990, from Resumen Semanal, 601, December 21, 1990–January 3, 1991, p. 1.Google Scholar
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    Data from Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE), Perú: Compendio estadístico 1987 (Lima: INE, May 1988), p. 80.Google Scholar
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    José Gonzales, “Sendero de mujeres,” Si (Lima), April 6, 1987, p. 83.Google Scholar
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    José María Salcedo, “Con Sendero en Lurigancho,” Quehacer, 39, February–March 1982, p. 64.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Scott Palmer 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriela Tarazona-Sevillano

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