LA Business
 LA History
 LA Literature
 Asians in LA
collections | instruction & training | electronic resources | internet resources | finding aids | exchanges

Sendero Luminoso: Guide to Resources

This pathfinder is designed as a starting point to aid the beginning researcher in finding information on Sendero Luminoso at FIU LIbraries. It is a guide to important sources; including books, journals, reference works, government documents and electronic resources. This guide is in no way exhaustive and will undoubtedly lead the user to a variety of sources not mentioned here.

  1. Introduction
  2. Reference Materials
  3. Books
  4. Articles & Journals
  5. Government Documents
  6. Electronic Databases
  7. Videos
  8. Internet Resources

I. Introduction

On May 17th, 1980 a small group of young men raided the polling place and burned the ballots in the rural town of Chuschi high in the Peruvian Andes. It was the first national election after 12 years of military rule. The people of Peru had no idea that this small incident would curse the country’s return to democracy for the next decade and a half. The Communist Party of Peru by the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariátegui, better known as Sendero Luminoso or the Shining Path, had thus launched its armed fight. Its birth, however, began long before in the classrooms of Abimael Guzmán, a charismatic professor at the Universidad Nacional de San Cristóbal de Huamanga, who was nicknamed "Shampoo" for his ability to convince his students of almost anything.

Within a few years Sendero Luminoso had shrewdly turned a critical national situation to their advantage by exacerbating class consciousness and social resentment among the indigenous people of the highlands. Although considered a legitimate insurrection by some and a repressive, reactionary movement by others, no one can deny the violence and bloodshed directly and indirectly attributed to the emergence of Sendero Luminoso. With the beginning of the urban strategy in the late 1980s and the involvement in the coca trade in the Upper Huallaga Valley soon after, it seemed all of Peru was a war zone. Flagrant human rights abuses by the military and its U.S.-trained counter-guerrilla forces (Sinchis) and the numerous killings of independent grass roots organizers, local politicians and unsympathetic civilians by Sendero Luminoso left the people of Peru caught in the middle.

Then on September 12, 1992 Presidente Gonzalo (Guzmán’s nom de guerre) was captured during a raid of a safe house in Lima. Considerably weakened, Sendero has lost its role in determining the future of Peru. But although it no longer holds the country captive, it still remains a force to be reckoned with.

II. Reference Materials (all shelved on the 2nd floor, in the Reference Department).
Use these sources for a general overview of Sendero Luminoso.

Bennet, John M. Sendero Luminoso in Context: An annotated Bibliography. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998. REF Z1870.3 B46 1998
One of the most recent bibliographies published with over 1400 citations divided by subject. Focuses on works that deal with the political, social, historical and cultural content. Goes beyond the evolution of the movement to include statistics, demography, political economy, gender and education. Some annotations.

Stern, Peter. Sendero Luminoso: An Annotated Bibliography of the Shining path Guerrilla Movement, 1980-1993. New Mexico: SALALM Secretariat, General Library, University of New Mexico, c1995. REF F3348.2 S7 1995
An excellent source that reviews the mojority of journal articles and books published in the United States and Peru over a 13-year period. The 1185 citations are arranged chronologically and come complete with annotations. There is an introduction about the formation of Sendero and also suggestions at the end on where to look for future reading on the topic. this is a must for anyone researching Sendero.

Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. 1988. REF F1406.E53 1996 v.4 c.2
Readable and informative condensed version of Peruvian history. Coverage begins with a survey of Peruvian history and devotes separate sections to organizations, political parties and revolutionary movements. The section on Sendero Luminoso is written by David Scott Palmer, a leading Senderologist.

Handbook of Leftist Guerrilla Groups in Latin America and the Caribbean. 2000. REF: F1410.G83.1995
An up-to-date, short survey of Sendero’s origins, strategy and actions. Includes references to important works. Although lacks discussion on the philosophy of the movement, it is good as a starting point to research.

Latin American Revolutionaries: Groups, Goals, Methods. 1990. N. MIA REF JL966.R34 1990
Excellent and well-organized overview of Sendero Luminoso. It logically breaks the movement down into separate sections; including location, origins, membership, leadership, ideology, propaganda, views on violence, military structure, external support and trends and assessment. This directory is not only descriptive, but also evaluative. It criticizes the ineptitude of the government and the violence of Sendero. Written before the capture of Guzmán, the authors mention the real possibility of a military takeover if Sendero is not defeated.

(Table of contents)

III. Books

Kirk, Robin. The monkey's paw: new chrociles from Peru F3448.2 .K55 1997
Journalist Robin Kirk combines interviews and personal narrative to present a vivid portrait of Peru beginning in 1983 just as the Shining Path emerged and ending with the return of peasant refugees to their war-ravaged Andean villages. The book includes a chapter that explores why so many women felt compelled to join Sendero.

Kirk, Robin. Untold Terror: Violence against Women in Peru’s Armed Conflict. JC599.P457 1992
Kirk describes, in gruesome detail, the abuses by both the military and Sendero Luminoso towards women. There are first hand accounts and interviews with women who have been victims, soldiers who have victimized and Sendero who have committed abuses. She provides a very idealistic solution to the problem – that they be recognized as illegal acts and that the perpetrators be punished.

McCormick, Gordon H. The Shining Path and Peruvian Terrorism AS36 .R28 P-7297
This is the first of three RAND reports by McCormick, a leading U.S. Senderologist. McCormick predicts the demise of Sendero because it is too centralized, structured, isolated and extreme. It also has a good analysis of the differences between Sendero and other Latin American guerrilla movements

McCormick, Gordon H. The Shining Path and the Future of Peru. F3448.2 M395 1990
With this report, McCormick retracts his original theory about the inevitable decline of Sendero Luminoso. Three years later, with increased Sendero activity and multiplying human rights abuses by both the military and Sendero, this report discusses the real possibility of a military coup to return the country to order. Sendero has proven more resilient than expected.

Palmer, David Scott. The Shining Path of Peru. F3448.2 .S54 1994
A compilation of articles by leading Sendero scholars, including Degregori, McClintock, Tarazona-Sevillano and Gorriti. At times criticized for not providing any new scholarship on the movement, it remains a convenient source for a broad overview of many aspects of Sendero Luminoso - origins, thought, rural and urban strategies and expansion into the coca market. Although not supporters of Sendero, both the editor and some scholars (Cynthia McClintock, for example) argue that the insurrection has more of a popular base than Poole and Renique (authors of Peru: Time of Fear) would agree with.

Reid, Michael. Peru: Paths to Poverty. HC227 .R388 1985
This book begins with a brief chronology of important dates from 1532 with the landing of Pizarro at Tumbes up until 1984. Although a bit outdated, it remains a good source for background on the Velasco reformist military regime in the 1970s – the same period when Guzmán was forming an ideological circle of followers at the University where he taught.

Rochlin, James Francis. Vanguard revolutionaries in Latin America : Peru, Colombia, Mexico. F1414.2 .R55 2003
Discusses revolutionary movements, in terms of origin, ideologies, and support bases, and conceptualizes strategy, security and power within each context. The guerilla movements analyzed are Sendero Luminoso (Peru), FARC and ELN (Colombia), and EZLN (Mexico).

Starn, Orin. Nightwatch: the politics of protest in the Andes. HD1531.P4 S73 1999
The book explores the evolution of Per's peasant social movements such as the rondas campesinas which grew into an entire system of peasant justice. Those movements became a rallying point for rural pride through the early 90's and were perhaps even an obstacle to the spread of the Shining Path. By focusing on the rondas mobilizations occurring during this perios of Peruvian history.

Starn Orin, Degregori Carlos Ivan and Kirk Robin. The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics. F3431 .P478 1995
Excellent overview of Peruvian history, culture and politics to help put Sendero Luminoso in perspective. It includes chapters on ancient civilizations, conquest and colonial rule, modern politics, the demise of the "old order," Sendero Luminoso, and the cocaine economy. It is a mix of articles, interviews, literature, and poetry written by famous Peruvians and historians of Peru. It also includes the words to Guzmán’s "We are the initiators" speech delivered on April 19, 1980 to bring in the violent part of the insurrection.

Tarazona-Sevillano, Gabriela. with John B. Reuter. Sendero Luminoso and the Threat of Narcoterrorism HV6433 .P4 T37 1990
Written by a former Peruvian prosecutor, this source provides more than just a discussion of Sendero and narcoterrorism. Beginning with an overview of the history of Sendero Luminoso, the remaining majority of the text discusses the Peruvian definition of Peruvian terrorism and the way in which the judicial system has changed and adopted to the threat of the guerrillas. The section on narcoterrorism argues that although Sendero and the coca farmers have differing goals, their enemies are the same and therefore carry on a mutually beneficial relationship. This book intends to give practical solutions to problems, but these are more symbolic than realistic.

(Table of contents)

IV. Articles & Journals

"Fatal Attraction: Peru's Shining Path." NACLA Report on the Americas 24 (Dec 1990/Jan 1991): 9-39. Periodicals F1401 .N58
Entire issue (6 articles) devoted to Sendero Luminoso. Excellent ideological, economic and political background of the guerrilla movement.

Burt, Jo-Marie and Ricci, Jose López. "Shining Path After Guzmán." NACLA Report on the Americas 28/3 (Nov-Dec 1994): 6-9. Periodicals F1401 .N58 Discusses the future of Sendero Luminoso after Guzmán began calling for peace talks with the Peruvian government one year after his capture. Sendero continues under the leadership of Oscar Ramirez Durand, known as "Comrade Feliciano". Although the violence in the country has decreased drastically, Sendero still strikes periodically.

Chavin, Lucien O. "Peru's ‘Other’ Guerrillas Try to Regroup." Notisur (28 Feb 1997). Full text:
Sendero is not used to being in the shadows nor sharing the limelight, especially with another guerrilla group – one which they consider to be reformist. But after the takeover of the Japanese residence by Tupac Amaru, all eyes were turned away from Sendero. Chavin looks at past violent habits of Sendero and considers the possibilities of Sendero regrouping.

Guillermoprieto, Alma. "Down the Shining Path: Letter from Lima." The New Yorker 68/51 (8 Feb. 1993): 64-74. Periodicals AP2 .N6763
Written after the arrest of Guzmán, Guillermoprieto does an outstanding job of analyzing his transformation from philosophy student to terrorist. Extremely readable and engrossing, she humanizes the man behind the bloodbath.

Izaguirre, Carlos Reyna "Shining Path in the 21st Century." NACLA Report on the Americas 30/1 (Jul-Aug 1996): 37-38. Periodicals F1401 .N58
More observations on Sendero under "Comrade Feliciano." Notes that although the group has suffered many setbacks it hopes to sustain the organization.

Kent, Robert B. "Geographical Dimension of the Shining Path Insurgency in Peru." The Geographical Review 83/4 (Oct 1993): 441-454. Periodicals G1.G35
Thoroughly discusses the expansion of Sendero Luminoso from a geographer’s standpoint. Analyses the ability of the movement to remain viable in different environments under different social and cultural structures.

Mansilla, H.C.F. "La violencia política en el Perú: un esbozo interdisciplinario de interpretación." Historia y sociedad (Medellín) 8 (March 2002): 149-177. Periodicals F2251 .H5
Examines the political violence in Peru, with special attention given to Sendero Luminoso and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. The author analyzes the social-psychological dimension of the culture of authoritarianism, as well as the multiple causes of political violence.

Mauceri, Philip. "Military Politics and Counter-Insurgency in Peru." Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 33 (Winter 1991): 83-109. Periodicals F1401 .J68
Concentrates on the role of the military and its transformation from leaders in the government under Velasco to the underdogs in the fight against the guerrillas.

Starn, Orin. "Maoism in the Andes: The Communist Party of Peru-Shining Path and the Refusal of History." Journal of Latin American Studies 27/2 (May 1993): 399-421. Periodicals F1401 .J69
Starn dismisses the theory espoused by some Senderologists that Sendero considers Peruvian culture and Andean traditions in its manifesto. In fact, it shows an apathy towards Peruvian history and instead focuses on class struggle and the international aspects of staging a revolution.

(Table of contents)

V. Government Documents
(all shelved on the 2nd floor, in the Government Documents Department).

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs. "Peru: U.S. Priorities and Policies: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, March 10, 1993" Washington : Government Printing Office, 1993 Gov. Docs. Y 1.1/7:103-129
A hearing to discuss U.S. policies towards Peru in the wake of Fujimori’s auto-coup in April 1992 and continued human rights abuses.

United States. Congress. House. Committee on foreign Affairs. Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs. "The Shining Path after Jazzman: the threat and the international response: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, second session, September23, 1992." Washington : Government Printing Office, 1992. Gov. Docs. Microfiche Y 4.F 76/1:G 99
A discussion of the significance of Guzmán’s capture, the future of Sendero Luminoso and how the U.S. and the international community can aid Peru in defeating the guerrillas. Attendance by many leading scholars in the field, including Cynthia McClintock and Gustavo Gorriti.

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Foreign Affairs. Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs. "The threat of the Shining Path to democracy in Peru: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, second session, March 11 and 12, 1992" Washington : Government Printing Office, 1992. Gov. Docs. Y 4.F 76/1:D 39/18
A hearing to discuss the adequacy of the Peruvian government's efforts to counter Sendero and to gather recommendations for U.S. policy in Peru. Gordon McCormick does not recommend U.S. involvement at this time due to the abysmal human rights record and the internal corruption of the Peruvian military; while Gabriela Tarrazona- Sevillano doubts that Peru can win the struggle by itself.

(Table of contents)

VI. Electronic Databases

 via First Search

Indexes 2000+ international scholarly journals, government and other publications on current events in the political and social sciences.


HAPI (Hispanic American Periodicals Index)

Indexes publications on all aspects of Latin American studies.


HLAS (Handbook of Latin American Studies)
 via Library of Congress
 via RLG/Eureka

Indexes 400+ scholarly journals on US-Hispanic and Latin American topics.


Historical Abstracts
via ABC-Clio

Indexes 2000+ scholarly journals in history from 1450 to the present. (Excludes the United States and Canada.)


Humanities Abstracts
via FirstSearch.

Indexes scholarly journals and other publications on health and nutrition.


Social Science Abstracts
via FirstSearch.

Indexes 350+ international scholarly journals and popular magazines in the social sciences.


via FirstSearch.

Indexes 250+ publications in sociology and related disciplines.


Sociological Abstracts
via Cambridge Scientific Abstracts.

Indexes 2600+ publications in sociology and related disciplines.


(Table of contents)

VII. Videos

Americas. 9, Fire in the mind. UNIV.PARK AV Video Coll. & B.BAY AV Video Coll. F1408.A63 1993 v.9
A series of programs looking at contemporary Latin America. As Latin American countries struggle to come to terms with their problems, many demand fundamental structural change - revolution. This program focuses on revolutions in two countries: El Salvador and Peru. It examines the conflict in El Salvador, rooted in issues of land and poverty and where some of the problems are being addressed. But in Peru, serious economic conditions and poverty have resulted in a violent and more deadly revolutionary group, the Shining Path.

La Boca del Lobo (The Lion's Den). AV Video Coll. VC 5651
Fiction inspired by the army's 1983 massacre of 47 men, women and children suspected of terrorism. The movie portrays the moral and disintegration of the members of a small army contingent sent away to uncover Sendero Luminoso in a remote mountain village. Peru, 1989. Directed by Francisco J. Lombardi. 122 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles

Peru: between the hammer & the anvil: a documentary. UNIV.PARK AV Video Coll. F3448.2.P465 1997
Relates the history of the Pervian guerrilla group Sendero Luminoso, the Peruvian government's struggle against it, and the government's own violence against the population, and shows that conflict's effects on the economic and social conditions of Peru today.

Terror and counter-terror : can democracy survive? B.BAY AV Video HV6431.T445 1995 v.2
Discusses the economic, political, and military pressures on Peru's government by the Sendero Luminoso. Shows how Sendero, which uses both urban terror and rural guerrilla tactics, has brought Peru's shaky democracy to the point of collapse.

VIII. Internet Resources

The People's War in Peru: Information about the Communist Party of Peru. Includes Presidente Gonzalo's "Interview of the Century".

Committee to Support the Revolution in PeruAn organization out of Berkeley, CA that provides propaganda and recent newsworthy information on Sendero.

North American Congress on Latin America.  NACLA is an independent, non-profit organization founded in 1966.  The home page includes a search engine and annotated citations of articles from recent issues of NACLA Report on the Americas.

(Table of contents)

Library Home    |    FIU Home    |    Latin American and Caribbean Center Home
Copyright © 2000-2004 Florida International University
Last updated: April 21, 2004