The arrests conducted by the Peruvian National Police [PNP} in Lima in early December was targeted at the campaigning prisoner rights organisation, the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movadef). Movadef was created in 2009, initially as an organization to fight for an amnesty and freedom of political prisoners in Peru. The organisation is regularly referred to as “the political arm of the Shining Path terrorist group” by the Peruvian state.
On December 2, 2020, hours before resigning as the Minister of the Interior, Rubén Vargas had announced the capture of 72 people accused of being linked to the PCP through the “Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movadef).” According to the government official, Movadef-linked people have been previously arrested for the alleged crime of apology for terrorism, but alleged current investigations show that they are part of the Shining Path structure. The State’s prematurely gloated; this was “historic” because it liquidated the political and military structure of the terrorist group.
The PNP operation “Olimpo” after 4 years of surveillance, infiltration, and investigations included the participation of 1,200 police officers, as well as 98 representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office. It was a multiagency offensive as Olimpo was led by the Anti-Terrorism Division (Dircote), the High Complexity Investigations Division (Diviac), the Peruvian Army Intelligence Directorate, and the Third Supraprovincial Criminal Prosecutor’s Office.
Detainees include members of Amnesty Movement and Fundamental Rights (Movadef) and Fudepp (Front of Unity and Defense of the Peruvian People) set up in 2015 to seek registration with the national Election board. Peru News Agency reported the persons under arrest include former inmates belonging to Shining Path, such as Fernando Olortegui and Victor Castillo. The list also includes Evalisa Cano, a member of the Movadef Base in Downtown Lima, and Carlos Cano Andia, described as a member of the Eastern Detachment of the Popular Guerrilla Army.
The state authorities regarded these civil organisations not simply as apologist for “terrorism”, but as the political operating arm of the Peruvian communists that still seeks the same purposes and objective of the PCP led by the imprisoned Gonzalo/Guzman. The state alleges “they obeyed directives and slogans from the dome led by Abimael Guzmán Reinoso and other members currently in prison.”
In 2017 Interior Minister Carlos Basombrío pointed out that there is evidence that Abimael Guzmán is part of the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights structure, based on documentation seized in prisons in 2014.
“I am one of those who think that Movadef is not a Sendero sympathizing group. It is more than that [a legal arm]. We have abundant documentation, and in the handwriting of Abimael Guzmán, seized in prisons in 2014, which shows that Abimael Guzmán directs Movadef, that is, he is part of the Movadef structure.”
In contrast, Movadef and its activists are condemned by those who claim the name of the the Communist Party of Peru (PCP), specifically The Peru People’s Movement (MPP), who repeatedly asserts it was generated by PCP for the party work abroad. Politically Movadef is labelled an instrument of the Right Opposition Line (ROL), “revisionist and capitulationist rats” dedicated to recycling capitulators and trained repentant guerrillas, with the need to trace a “new path” for the struggle in Peru.
Movadef raised a new characterization of society, pointing out that because of the PCP’s armed struggle, Peru stopped being semi-feudal to become a dependent capitalist country. Obviously, when they characterize Peru as dependent capitalist, the form of revolutionary action can adapt to change, where the centre of said struggle necessarily passes through participation in electoral, constitutional, and bureaucratic life. In 2011 they tried to register as a political party before the National Elections , but they were rejected, closing the door to that route by the Peruvian state. The demand for democratic rights seen by sectarian leftist critics as the same line of abstract democracy and freedom as “opportunists and revisionists Patria Roja.”
Still Movadef campaign that their constitutional rights be respected, and say they are persecuted because they “think differently” or that “they are persecuted for ideas” to defend the life and freedom of Chairman Gonzalo, of those imprisoned who wield Gonzalo Thought.
Former political prisoner Esther Palacios argues in support for “the new grand strategy proposed by its president [Gonzalo] of moving from a political struggle with weapons to a political struggle without weapons and to use all possible forms of struggle within the political struggle. Thus, fight for the fundamental rights restricted or denied by the open dictatorship of Fujimorism imposed by neoliberalism in 1992 and within which the different demo-bourgeois governments continue.https://revistazoom.com.ar/memorias-desde-nemesis/
This new stage marks them out as having capitulated, label as traitors and the described as “faithful followers of the Prachanda Path in Latin America”. There are well-rehearsed positions against Movadef’s approach:
— Not only did they go against the People’s War, but claimed the way to solve the fundamental problems of society is through reconciliation, peace, the meeting of classes—they yelled like Kautsky, “there is no longer any room for armed struggle for the solution of class conflicts,” and “that it will be ridiculous … to preach a violent disorder” to change society. They turned their backs on the People’s War, on the revolution, they created their “glass ceiling” that was no more than reform and renewed constitutionalism, and they went against those who support the People’s War.
The thought that Chairman Gonzalo, “the greatest living Marxist-Leninist-Maoist on the face of the earth” could be accuse of being the author of the CIA’s “Peace Letters” and the right-wing opportunist line is repeatedly denied as part of the betrayal of Maoism, Chairman Gonzalo, the party and the People’s War by those who have given up on the revolution.
What remains loudly claimed is that it was in Peru, and precisely with the PCP’s doctrinaire interpretations of Mao and the People’s War that Mao Tse-tung Thought became Maoism, that is, a third and superior stage of Marxism, and not only that, but also its contributions of universal validity of Gonzalo Thought, an obstacle to opportunism and revisionism. Within the international communist movement is voiced the advice they should take Chairman Gonzalo to account for his own conduct of leadership in his own country, his “Left” opportunist line before his capture in 1992 and Right opportunist line soon after his capture. Furthermore, these conflicting opportunist lines have brought about the decline of the people’s war in Peru.
The elevation of Gonzalo Thought, in particular the concept of a militarised party and protracted people’s war, and the characterisation of Maoism places in the shadows those “miserable rats of the right opportunist line (ROL), revisionist and capitulationist,” who claim (with as much authenticity) to be equally inspired and led by Gonzalo to act and group themselves, as “the third instrument of the revolution”, the united front led by the PCP.
Rejecting the hoax is rejecting a presentation of Chairman Gonzalo, dejected, defeated who had generated letters calling for demobilization and entering a “new stage”, of the need to enter a new phase of the struggle marked by reconciliation and, a scenario that involves amnesty, electoral struggle, and struggle for rights in the framework of bourgeois democracy. All this is seen as a denial of the PCP, Gonzalo Thought, the people’s war and consequently of the ideology of the proletariat.
Hence , the flare up at the re-publication of the new edition of the so-called “Peace Letters”, the hoax of the CIA-Peruvian reaction presented by the former Minister of the Interior (of the Minter) Rubén Vargas shortly after the arrests in Lima of Movadef’s activists.
MPP somehow regard the arrests as a CIA operation, “the continuation of the one set up by this spy agency of US imperialism to detain and then infame Chairman Gonzalo, presenting him as the head of the ROL, with the service of these “revisionist and capitulationist rats” to annihilate the leadership of the party and the revolution.
There is a reference point frozen in time that remains fundament for those who honour the name of “Fourth Sword of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.” Two weeks after his arrest, Guzman was presented briefly before television cameras. Wearing a black-and-white striped prison uniform, he was filmed pacing back and forth in what resembled a circus lion’s cage
Guzman took full advantage of the 15 minutes the government gave him. “Here, under these circumstances, some may think that this is a great defeat,” he said defiantly. “They are dreaming. We say, keep on dreaming. It is simply––and nothing more than––a stone along the path. The path is long. We will reach our destination, we will triumph!” Guzman then stridently ordered his organization to continue the armed struggle, which he now described as a patriotic defense of the nation against imminent imperialist intervention.
That defiance remains celebrated.
What is disregarded and discarded from historic memory was another television appearance a year later in December 1993 when Guzman appeared in a video surrounded by all of the imprisoned members of the Central Committee reading out a document signed by them all reiterating request for peace talks with the government. While Fujimori sternly rejected any possibility of negotiating with Shining Path––”winners” of wars do not negotiate – no peace agreement was ever reached, both due to the refusal of the government and the refusal of those who remained in command of the war.
The original media reports in 1993 were that, from jail, Chairman Gonzalo was calling for the Shining Path “guerrillas to suspend the war, and to the government to start peace talks”. It was not a surrender as such but merely a call for negotiations under the pretext that the political period had undergone a major change. Other important jailed PCP leaders began to recruit support for a peace accord. The Peruvian state promoted the so-called “peace accords” by shuttling members of the ROL around from prison to prison to promote it. Still, it seems most of the political prisoners rejected the ROL, under very difficult conditions. The leadership outside the prisons rejected the peace proposal and continued fighting, thus setting up a two-line struggle in the PCP. In 1994 the PCP began to break-up and fall into decline. Critics say that in 25 years those adhering to the “old line” of armed action have stalled and they have never taken even one district, and, even if they do some ambushes, this does not add up to a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist people’s war.
The Movimeento Popular Peru de Alemania – MPP-Germany- operating through an anti-imperialist group based in Hamburg, was the only “PCP” group abroad to accept the “Peace Letters” as genuine and claims to have received phone calls from Abimael Guzman /Chairman Gonzalo instructing it to work for a peace accord in Peru.
These Peace Letters allegedly written by Abimael Guzman were quickly followed in October 1993 by a hundred-page document signed ‘President Gonzalo’ and released by the PCP under the title Asumir y combatir por la Nueva gran Decisión y Definición (‘Accepting and Fighting for the New Great Decision and Definition’) based on a supposedly qualitative change in the political period used to justify this initiative.
Since being imprisoned under harsh isolating security, two manuscripts have been smuggled out that have been largely ignored by those who maintain a protracted people’s war stance. The first publication smuggled out of prison was Guzman’s memoir, De puño y letra, a series of autobiographical manuscripts, letters, and legal arguments compiled by Elena Iparraguirre, his wife and number two in the hierarchy.
Reviewing, when publicly presented on September 12th 2009 at a hotel in Lima, former high profile supporter, Luis Arce Borja saw only betrayal arguing that the Shining Path, since 1993, has become a political party of the counterrevolution after all, objectively, Guzman’s book serves the interests of the government.
Almost all of the thousand published copies were seized by the government, and attention turned to repress (apply the apology law) the authors and publishers who collaborated with the publication of ‘De Puño y Letra‘.
Whereas Luis Arce Borja sees it reaffirms once again what he calls the treacherous conduct of Guzman, “who in 1993 agreed to a kind of cemetery peace with Alberto Fujimori and Vladimiro Montesinos”, generally the controversial book was regarded as an apologia for violence as a means to meet political ends but it also places the conflict firmly in the past and calls for national reconciliation.
Dr. Alfredo Crespo, lawyer for Abimael Guzman, in defense of this publication, has said that Gonzalo has ended the “historical process of the armed struggle”. The content reaffirms the approach of Guzman regarding a proposal for a peace agreement made in 1993, and an “amnesty general for all those who participated in the internal war”.
Guzman’s 2014 book, Memories from Nemesis compiles documents and memoirs substantiating the move to struggle without arms.
The merit of this decision from the leader split the organisation, accepted by some and rejected by others – both claiming to uphold Gonzaloist Thought. The repression of the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movadef) illustrates the state’s views that it is uprooted the underground PCP loyal to Guzman. To acknowledge that raises too many unpalatable issues for its political opponents who chisel the arrests in Lima into their own constructed reality of the overarching narrative of a hoax and CIA conspiracy.