What ever happened to the Shining Path?

1) Fujimori did not exactly do the "crushing". The groundwork for that was laid over a number of years prior to his administration by the Garcia government and by the PCP leadership itself. By 1990 when Fujimori was elected both the armed services and the PCP had been engaging for several years in what the PCP termed "war of interpenetration." What that meant was that both were mutually infiltrated at almost every level. On the military's side, I was told by a Peruvian journalist, it meant, for example that at least once the military hospital in Lima had a hammer-and-sickle flag run up its flag pole and that the Navy kept its troops isolated at sea as much as possible. For the police, it meant, as I was told by a police officer in 1988, that they and the PCP mutually warned each other of operations so as to avoid running into one another and being forced into a gunfight.

For the PCP it meant that much of its metropolitan structure was known to the police, and thus the PCP leadership was required to use known and tested militants for top-level work. In time, many of these had passed though the prisons, as was the case with Laura Zambrano. She was the object of continual surveillance upon her release, and when she was reintegrated into the Metropolitan committee, it was she who unwittingly led the police to the house in which Guzman was captured. That work was the result of investigations undertaken years earlier but for which Fujimori was fortuitously able to take credit.

2) While most agree that the war is basically over, careful reading of the signs, indicated that that assessment may yet be premature. True, there is no denying that a group which, by conservative government estimates, carried out and average of eight actions a day(!) from 1980 to 1988, but which in 1998 brags about having carried out six in a month, has suffered a severe setback. But, weakened does not equal dead, and there are persistent rumours of sendero militants making headway in various areas of the country, carrying out the patient, grassroots political work that marked the years between 1974 and 1982, and which allowed them to rapidly gain ground once the war was on.

3) The MRTA is moribund, anyone can see that. But Sendero and the military under Garcia are responsible for that, as is the coming apart of the MIR - MRTA alliance, rather than Fujimori and Montesinos.

Like it or not, Fujimori may not have crushed anything more than democracy in Peru.

Juan Fajardo