On May 17, 1980, on the eve of Peru’s presidential election, five masked men stormed a small town in the Andean heartland. They set election ballots ablaze and vanished into the night, but not before planting a red hammer-and-sickle banner in the town square. The lone man arrested the next morning later swore allegiance to a group called Shining Path.
Described by a US State Department cable as “cold-blooded and bestial”, Shining Path orchestrated bombings, assassinations, and massacres across the cities, countryside, and jungles of Peru in a murderous campaign to seize power and impose a Communist government. At its helm was the professor-turned-revolutionary Abimael Guzmn, who launched his single-minded insurrection alongside two women: his charismatic young wife, Augusta La Torre, and the formidable Elena Iparraguirre, who married Guzmn soon after Augusta’s mysterious death. Their fanatical devotion to an outmoded and dogmatic ideology, and the military’s bloody response, led to the death of nearly 70,000 Peruvians.
Orin Starn and Miguel La Serna’s narrative history of Shining Path is both panoramic and intimate, set against the socioeconomic upheavals of Peru’s rocky transition from military dictatorship to elected democracy.
Narrator: Robert Fass
Duration: 12 hours 35 minutes
Released: 19 Apr 2006
Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books