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Political Science | Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature


Gary Prevost; Jose Antonio Fabres


The Fall of Sendero Luminoso evaluates the rise and decline of the Shining Path movement, or Sendero Luminoso, in Peru. The social insurrection began in 1980 and seeks to establish a communist state in Peru through the use of guerrilla warfare. The 1992 capture of Sendero's leader, Abimael Guzman, significantly weakened the organization and its influence in Peruvian society has diminished. My thesis attempts to postulate the reasons for the collapse of the organization with a particular focus on how the practices and policies of Sendero inhibited the revolution from establishing a deep social foundation. I argue that Sendero's use of guerrilla warfare against civilians, failure to represent the social needs of the populace, and refusal to unite with other leftist parties in Peru hampered its ability to gain mass appeal and respond to the harsh military counterinsurgency by the government. Primary issues covered in the thesis include social justice, Peruvian politics, and revolutionary theory.