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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Indigenous Highland Peoples in Peru

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Date(s) Item
1990 Alberto Fujimori, an independent, was elected as President. He campaigned for equal rights for ethnic groups and supported indigenous issues.
Apr 27, 1990 About 2,000 Indians from Chota (in the Andes) protested an interest rate increase by the government-run Agrarian Bank. These Indians were members of the Rondas Campesinas, or peasant organizations, of the Highland region, who had mobilized to represent their interests to the government and to stop corruption in their towns.
May 1991 Indigenous areas experienced a cholera epidemic. Over 3,000 people died with 160,000 cases reported.
Jun 26, 1991 In response to attacks by the Shining Path against the government, President Fujimori gave out rifles in the town of Caquichocha to support civilian militias against the guerrilla movement. The government had designed a "ronda" plan, which arms civilians in the Andes (primarily Indians) to fight against the guerrilla Senderistas.
Dec 10, 1991 The Catholic Church reported that the Shining Path was persecuting its priests and attacking individuals involved in the Church. There are 438 American missionaries in Peru, which is the largest concentration outside the U.S.
Dec 18, 1991 The Shining Path was reported to have chapters of support in the U.S.and Europe. Advocacy groups for the Senderistas are working in Berkeley, Chicago, New York, Belgium, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Britain, and Denmark. However, this support was reported to be ideological, not economic. The Shining Path is reported to be self-financed and armed by stealing weapons from soldiers and shipments.
1992 President Fujimori dissolved the Congress and established rule by decree (an "autogolpe" - a self administered coup d'etat) in response to the violent gains made by the Shining Path. Fujimori claimed that the Congress and judiciary were lenient on guerrilla members. The OAS called for an immediate return to democratic institutions.
Feb 16, 1992 The Shining Path called a strike in Lima in protest of government anti-inflation measures. The strike caused all transportation in the city to stop. Seventeen people were killed in the violence ensuing from the strike.
Apr 2, 1992 The New York Times reported that the Shining Path launched a campaign of attacks on the urban sectors of the country. This group was formed in 1978 and began its mobilization in 1980 against the state. By this date, over 25,000 deaths were associated with this group. Shining Path concentrated its violence in the shantytown areas of Lima, such as Villa El Salvador, where they dynamited the body of an outspoken opponent of the group. The Shining Path was reported to have 5,000 fully armed fighters against Peru's army of 80,000. Studies have estimated the supporters of the group as approximately 25,000.
Apr 9, 1992 The U.S. suspended new aid to Peru due to its suspension of democratic institutions, but did continue its food assistance program. In 1991, the U.S. aid to Peru was $233 million, which grew to $293 in 1992.
Apr 12, 1992 The Shining Path shot to death Roberto Luy Wu, a member of Congress, and his female companion in a Lima restaurant.
May 1992 President Fujimori met with OAS members to discuss a new plan to re-institute democracy in Peru. The Peruvian police seized control of the Canto Grande prison, outside Lima, where Senderistas had converted two cell blocks into liberated zones, off-limits to jailers and other uninvited guests.
Jun 9, 1992 Many indigenous people were trying to escape the ronderos, or government formed civil militias against the Shining Path. Reports of abuses against these indigenous members stated that the Shining Path had infiltrated the government army and had caused much violence against the ronderos to stop their movement against the Shining Path.
Jul 19, 1992 The health of indigenous people was reported to be declining due to the rise of shantytowns. It was reported that only a small portion of people receive sewage services and public water, and that only a small portion of the sewage is treated before being dumped into the ocean.
Sep 12, 1992 The leader of the Shining Path, Abimael Guzman, was arrested and put in jail.
Sep 18, 1992 The Peruvian army was rounding up suspected guerrilla members of the Shining Path.
Oct 1992 Abilmael Guzman, Sendero leader, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Oct 12, 1992 The Shining Path guerrillas killed 44 Indians in the Andean community of Ayacucho. This was the biggest attack since their leader was captured. About 50 guerrillas attacked the town of Huayao in La Mar province.
Oct 20, 1992 The anti-terrorist police detained eight Senderistas in an attempt to de-mobilize the group leadership.
Nov 1992 Twenty-five retired Army officers attempted to assassinate President Fujimori and were put under house arrest. The coup was in response to Fujimori's suspension of the Congress and assumption of governmental control The senderistas detonated a car bomb outside a school for the police, wounding 10 people.
Mar 1993 The International Committee of the Red Cross criticized the treatment of prisoners in the Castro prison and called for a more humane environment. The prisoners, many of them indigenous people, were kept in 6-by-12 foot cages. Many indigenous people claimed that they were wrongly jailed for support of Sendero. The U.S. also warned Peru to stop human rights violations or risk loosing their financial support. This support is crucial to Peru's economy because it is in debt to the World Bank and the IMF for $1.8 billion, and needs access to new credit.
May 1993 President Fujimori was criticized for human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings and disappearances. Some of these incidents took place in indigenous populated areas.
Oct 19, 1993 Sendero leader Guzman gave a speech to his members calling for a peace accord and an end to the violence. Many people were skeptical of this speech and senderistas blamed the government for forcing Guzman to make such a speech.
Dec 29, 1993 The Democratic Constituent Congress produced a new constitution which was approved by voter referendum. This included strengthening the presidency and the death penalty for "terrorists."
Nov 19, 1994 The last remaining Sendero faction, led by Oscar Ramirez Duran, a rival of Guzman, had retreated into the central Peruvian jungle region around the Ene and Tambo rivers.
1995 President Alberto Fujimori was re-elected. His campaign focused on the de-mobilization of the Sendero Luminoso.
Feb 8, 1995 Peru rejected the Ecuadorian cease-fire peace proposal regarding its two-week-old border war. It was reported that indigenous groups have been wounded in battle by bombings in the Amazonian regions of both countries. This dispute has forced many Indians from their land and homes.
Feb 9, 1995 Approximately 12,000 Shuar-Achuars live on the Peruvian side of the border and have crossed freely into Ecuador. It was reported that the military had used Indians on both sides as human shields and to dig paths for fighting.
Feb 16, 1995 UNESCO urged both Ecuador and Peru to stop fighting due to the wounding and killings of civilians, mostly indigenous people. Rigoberta Menchu held a news conference also to protest the fighting in indigenous areas. Indian delegates from both countries signed an accord against the war and killings of indigenous people on either side of the border.
Mar 1995 The U.S. Department of State reported over 27,000 deaths were related to the violence of the Shining Path. They also reported that the indigenous population faces pervasive discrimination and social prejudice, in addition to suffering many human rights violations. The report stated that indigenous people are not represented in decisions which affect them or their lands, and that the government is actively promoting commercial development on their territories. Malnutrition and disease was reported as being rampant among these communities. Due to the fact that many indigenous people live in isolated areas, the government does not strictly enforce its protection of civil and political rights, nor does it provide adequate public services. It was also reported that the Shining Path was a prime threat to the well-being of indigenous people.
Nov 19, 2002 Llpansuyo, the first indigenous political party in Peru, is founded by members of seventeen native groups from the Andes and Amazonian regions (The Quechua Network. Llapansuyo: Peru Party Seeks to Claim Power for the Native People. 2002.).
Apr 19 - Sep 30, 2004 Following an April ultimatum in which Shining Path (SL) threatened violence if the government did not seek a political settlement to hostilities, SL remnants were thought to be behind the ambushing of a military patrol, killing one marine and wounding two on June 4. On the same day, the SL was behind another incident in which two police and one naval officer were killed. The government responds with a declared state of emergency over Apurimac, Ayacucho, Huanacavelica, Junin and Cusco. (Temple, Stephen. 06/04/2004. “Shining Path Ambush Leaves Three Dead in Peru.” World Markets Analysis; Joynes, Kate. 09/20/2004. “State of Emergency Extended Against Peruvian Rebel Resurgence.” World Markets Analysis.)
Apr 26 - May 24, 2004 Aymara in Ilave demanded the resignation of the mayor after accusing him of corruption. Protests ensued and the mayor was eventually captured by the mob and lynched. Police arrested six for involvement in the death of the mayor, which led to additional demonstrations calling for their release. (Associated Press. 5/10/2004. “Peru police guard road network as protest begins near Lake Titicaca.”)
Apr 29, 2004 An estimated 200 Aymara kidnapped five city council members from Tilali after they failed to find the mayor, whom they accused of corruption. (Temple, Stephen, 4/30/3004, “Protests Spread Across Peru,” World Markets Anlyalsis)
Jun 24, 2004 Approximately 30 rebels from Sendero Luminoso (SL) were responsible for attacking a state-owned asphalt plant, killing one soldier guarding the facility. (Associated Press Worldstream, 06/24/2004, "Rebels kill soldier during attack at remote plant in Peru”)
Jun 25, 2004 Peruvian police arrested Rosa Calderon Lara (Comrade Gaviota), a suspected leader in Sendero Luminoso. (Joynes, Kate, 06/28/2004, “Peruvian Police Make Shining Path Rebel Arrest,” World Markets Analysis)
Jan 1 - 4, 2005 An indigenous nationalist group calling for the resignation of President Toledo, Movimiento Etnocacerista (ME) led by Antauro Humala, seized a police station. Two days later, they ambushed a police car killing four and injuring others. They also held hostages until the government negotiated their release and the surrender of ME members and their leader. Two ME members were killed and 14 were injured by the end of the fighting. (The Globe and Mail, 1/03/2005, “Ambush in southern Peru kills four police officers” ; NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs, 1/14/2005, “Peru: New Rebel Group Creates New Year Hostage Crisis, six die Before Surrender”)
May 24 - 26, 2005 Violent protests broke out at the BHP Biliton Ltd. copper mine. The workers began a protest to seek an increased share of profits when they looted the facility, broke windows and set fire to grasses outside. Police used tear gas to disperse the rioters, injuring 16. (Associated Press Wordstream, 05/26/2005, "Peru government to send delegation to end protest against copper mine")
Jul 24, 2005 Police were sent to pick up a dead body when they were ambushed by a Sendero Luminoso unit of 15 fighters, killing three and wounding two. The attack began with a mine thrown at the police vehicle followed by gunshots. (BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 07/25/2005, "Shining Path rebels ambush police vehicle killing three in Peru”)
Dec 5, 2005 Sendero Luminoso was suspected of being behind an ambush that killed five officers in Ayacucho. The officers were transporting individuals arrested for involvement in the drug trade. (Xinhua General News Service, 12/06/2005, “Five police officers killed in ambush in southeastern Peru”)
Dec 21, 2005 Sendero Luminoso ambushed a nine-person police patrol killing eight. (Barbel, Marion, 12/21/2005, “Shining Path Conducts Another Deadly Ambush in Peru,” World Markets Analysis)


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Information current as of July 16, 2010