Abimael Guzman ( Chairman Gonzalo), the leader of the brutal Shining Path insurgency in Peru who was captured in 1992, died on Saturday in a military hospital after an illness, the Peruvian government said.
Guzman, 86, died at 6:40 a.m. local time after suffering from an infection, Justice Minister Anibal Torres said.
The former philosophy professor launched an insurgency against the state in 1980 and presided over numerous car bombings and assassinations in the years that followed. Tens of thousands died. Guzman was captured in 1992 and sentenced in life in prison for terrorism and other crimes.
The Shining Path “murdered thousands of innocents and undermined the peace of the country. We do not forget the horror of that time, and his death will not erase his crimes,” Economy Minister Pedro Francke said.
Guzman preached a messianic vision of a classless Maoist utopia based on pure communism, considering himself the “Fourth Sword of Marxism” after Karl Marx, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Mao Zedong.
He advocated a peasant revolution in which rebels would first gain control of the countryside and then advance to the cities. – AP