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Peru: Shining Path at the University of San Marcos?

video [es] uploaded to YouTube of a rally in favor of the movement Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso), which took place at the San Marcos University (UNMSM), earned a front-page article in the newspaper Perú 21 on June 16. The newspaper wrote [es]: “The scenes recorded last Monday night at the university campus resembled scenes from the long dark history lived by the oldest university of the Americas when, at the end of the 80s, terrorists strolled by as if [the university] was their home…about 50 people rallied to request amnesty for the former terrorist leader Abimael Guzmán and of other convicted Shining Path members…  demonstrators moved freely carrying red flags and giving speeches in favor of the release of the so-called political prisoners.”

The issue was also covered by other media in Lima. The newspaper La República wrote [es] that “authorities of the Ministry of Interior and the Public Ministry will begin an investigation together with the university administration.” On RPP the president of UNMSM, Luiz Izquierdo said [es] that “the discussion of the student rally has been exaggerated … there were only 30 people involved, and in the university there are 30 thousand students.” Meanwhile Perú 21 collects declarations by the former president of UNMSM Manuel Burga, who said [es] that “there are radical sectors that are gaining more and more space … to attract young people to its preaching.”

CPN Radio quotes the Student Fedearation of Peru who indicated [es] that “the media has began a ‘discredit campaign’ against the University of San Marcos.”

The media coverage points to a resurgence of the Shining Path movement, but one has to wonder if this is truly the case. San Marcos is going through a difficult time [es] with several internal elections being denounced for irregularities. The video, published by YouTube user periodismope and titled “The last straw: San Marcos students marched demanding the freedom of Abimael Guzman and Shining Path members” (“El colmo. Estudiantes de San Marcos marchan pidiendo la libertad de Abimael Guzmán y senderistas”) can be watched here [es].

The video's Comment section reflects not only a rejection of the Shining Path reappearance, but also a discussion with various opinions:

andres6kx el colmo??esos depende de cada opersona que tipo d epénsamiento tenga y que ideologia seguir!!..son libres de hacer eso no estoy afavor de ellos ni en contra…eso es libre la ley lo ampara..

andres6kx [es] the last straw??that depends on each person's way of thinking and ideology!! they are free to do that [,] I'm neither in favor or against them…they are free [,] the law covers them..

PISKOMAN30 Aqui esta una de las causas por las que estos muchachos gritan por Abimael… existe gente que defiende a los terroristas desde youtube. Lo minimo que podemos hacer es demostrar toda nuestra indignacion contra los que quieres manipular a los jovenes.

PISKOMAN30 [es] This is one of the reasons why these people shout for Abimael…there are people that defend terrorists via youtube. We can do the same by showing all our indignation against those who want to manipulate the youth.

jaimevl no olvidemos que el terrorismo no es un problema, es la consecuencia de un problema: la exclusión extrema. Mientras el país esté tan dividido (p.ej. la economía crece mientras en Apurímac lo que aumenta es la pobreza, que ya alcanza el 70 %), siempre habrá gente rabiosa, dispuesta a seguir al primer loco que les prometa cambio y revancha, sea Abimael o cualquier otro.

jaimevl [es] let's not forget that terrorism is not a problem, it is a consequence of a problem: extreme exclusion. While the country remains divided (for example the economy grows while in Apurímac poverty is growing, already reaching 70%), there will always be angry people, ready to follow the first crazy person that promises change and revenge, whether it be Abimael or anyone else.

rammstein122 Uhmmm.. La solucion es un cierra puertas y un peloton con sus AKM para hacer desaparecer esta lacra..

rammstein122 [es] Uhmmm.. The solution is to do a close down and [bring] a platoon with their AKM to make that scourge disappear…

NaPaMoCa a mi me parece poca seriedad colgar un video asi sin mayor información! como sabes q son sanmarquinos, como sabes q son de letras, o sociales, es un tema q hay q tocar con mucho cuidado… te haz dado cuenta de los comentarios!! q hay!!!

NaPaMoCa [es] I think uploading a video with no additional information is irresponsible! how do you know that those people are from the University of San Marcos? How do you know they are studying art, or social sciences, it is an issue that has to be dealt with carefully…have you noticed these comments!!

ongasidme DE PRONTO ESTUVE EN CLASES Y SE OYO ESTOS GRITOS, MUCHOS SALIERON DE SUS AULAS, ALGUNOS NO…

aldanagustavo De algo estoy seguro, sembrar opinion con 1.27 minutos es muy facil. Sobre todo con un tema tan delicado. … Empecemos con averiguar qué pasó ese día. Que las redes sociales no sean alacahuetes de oscuros augurios

luffyisaac algunos no eran alumnos mas eran viejos terrucos solo eran unos 15 inveciles que andaban gritando mas les gritaban terrucos, basura de la sociedad, de nuevo joden ??…

ongasidme [es] I WAS IN CLASS AND SUDDENLY I HEARD THESE SCREAMS, A LOT OF PEOPLE LEFT THEIR CLASSROOMS, SOME DIDN'T…

luffyisaac [es] some were not students but were old terrorists [,] there were only about 15 imbeciles screaming, scum of society, they are bothering us again?

aldanagustavo [es] Of one thing I'm sure, planting an opinion with 1.27 minutes is very easy. Especially about such a delicate issue… Let's begin by finding out what happened that day. Social Networks should not be snitchers of dark omens

The opinions registered on blogs are somewhat more elaborate, and they include questions regarding the way the government and the media have handled the issue. For example, Jorge Moreno from El Reportero de la Historia (The Historic Reporter) remembers his own experience and reflects on it [es]:

Pertenezco a una generación que estudió en San Marcos cuando las aulas estaban saturadas de pintas rojas y negras dando vivas a la lucha armada y al presidente Gonzalo … Una generación que tuvo el privilegio, o la dudosa suerte, de tener de compañero de carpeta de al lado a un soplón de la policía o a un ‘saco’, como llamábamos entonces a los senderistas … No me avergüenza decir que nunca tuve un gesto heroico contra ellos como si lo tuvieron algunos de mis compañeros o amigos, algunos de los cuales tuvieron que abandonar sus estudios o marcharse al extranjero (a otros los metieron presos o los mataron en alguna cárcel). Y no lo tuve por una sola razón: miedo.

El mismo miedo que ahora me invade al ver cómo este grupo de estudiantes le está dando a las autoridades el pretexto ideal y perfecto para terminar de liquidar a San Marcos y a la universidad pública. ¿Acaso no recuerdan que fue el mismo partido que hoy gobierna que no respetó la entonces inviolabilidad del campus universitario e ingresó a San Marcos en 1987 como un ladrón en la noche y detuvo a cientos de estudiantes so pretexto de la lucha antiterrorista?

I belong to a generation who studied in San Marcos when the classrooms were saturated with red and black paint cheering the armed struggle and President Gonzalo … A generation that had the privilege, or the dubious luck, of having a classmate who was a police informant or a ‘bag’ as we called the Shining Path members back then … I am not ashamed to say I never had a heroic gesture against them as some of my colleagues or friends had, some of whom had to leave school or go abroad (others were imprisoned or killed in a prison.) And I didn't show heroism for one reason: fear.

The same fear that I am filled with now seeing how this group of students [es] is giving the authorities the ideal and perfect pretext [es] to finish off San Marcos and the public university. Do you not remember that the same party that governs today was the one that did not respect the sanctity of the campus and entered San Marcos in 1987 as a thief in the night and detained hundreds of students on the pretext of fighting terrorism?

Herberth Castro from Herberthcastroinfantas’s Blog blaims [es] the president of the university for everything that is happening:

El y solo él es el responsable de todo lo que pasó. Las autoridades policiales poco tienen que ver en este pleito. Si existe una infiltración en San Marcos es el rector quien tiene la obligación de evitar que esto ocurra aplicando el reglamento o sentar la denuncia ante las autoridades policiales y no lavarse tan fácilmente las manos. … La cosa es que este lío no debió salir de la ciudad universitaria. Ni siquiera debió ser objeto de primeras planas. … Ya imagino las carcajadas que habrá soltado Abimael en su celda mofándose de todos los intonsos y lo feliz que se habrá puesto por el favor que le han hecho a sus seguidores con semejante publicidad gratuita. No solo se ha mostrado la revista sino el libro que escribió “De puño y letra” dándose a conocer hasta los lugares de venta. Eso se llama estar en el ojo de la tormenta, es decir en Vórtice

He and he alone is responsible for everything that happened. The police have little to do with this incident. If there is an infiltration of San Marcos [University] it is the president who is required to prevent this from happening by applying the rules or laying a complaint with the police instead of washing his hands so easily. … The thing is that this mess should not have left campus. It shouldn't have made headlines. … I can imagine the laughter Abimael must have released in his cell mocking everyone and how happy he will be with the favor they have done to his followers with the free publicity. [The media] has not only shown the magazine but also the book he wrote, even telling people where to buy it. That is called being in the eye of the storm, ie at the Vortex

The blog AID UNMSM – Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Políticas from the Department of Law and Political Science of UNMSM posted this release [es]:

Ante los videos propalados en algunos medios de comunicación que denuncian la infiltración y proliferación del grupo radical Sendero Luminoso en algunas facultades de la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos … El tercio estudiantil de Derecho y Ciencia Política hace de manifiesto su total rechazo y repudio y que la comunidad estudiantil se siente indignada por estas manifestaciones políticas, y que la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos no es un nido y nunca ha sido un nido de terroristas.

Regarding the videos spread by some media outlets denouncing the infiltration and proliferation of the radical group Sendero Luminoso [(Shining Path)] in some departments of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos [UNMSM] … The students of Law and Political Science manifest their complete rejection and condemnation and that the student community is outraged by these political demonstrations, and the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos is not a nest and has never been a nest of terrorists.

Finally, Globalizado finishes a post on the incidents with the hope [es] that this incident will not affect the university.

Esperemos que no se siga alarmando en demasía al público en general con este tema, hay mucha gente en San Marcos que no está para nada ligada al terrorismo y que sabe que estas cosas no vienen de ahora. Que se debe tener un ojo sobre ese pequeño grupúsculo que persiste en seguir con la doctrina del “Presidente Gonzalo” es algo con lo que no sólo hay que estar de acuerdo sino esperar que realmente se esté haciendo, pero de ahí a tomar esto como pretexto para cosas mayores… realmente tendría consecuencias funestas para la Universidad.

Hopefully the public won't be alarmed much longer with this issue, there are many people in San Marcos [University] that are not at all linked to terrorism and that know these things are not new. That they should keep an eye on that little splinter group that continues to follow the doctrine of “Presidente Gonzalo” [of the Shining Path] is something we must not only agree on but hope that is actually being done, but to take this as a pretext for bigger things … could have dire consequences for the university.
Thumbnail from Flickr user leyla.b used under a Creative Commons license.

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