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The New Politics of Inequality in Latin AmericaRethinking Participation and Representation$
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Douglas A. Chalmers, Carlos M. Vilas, Katherine Hite, Scott B. Martin, Kerianne Piester, and Monique Segarra

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198781837

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198781830.001.0001

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Political Violence and the Grassroots in Lima, Peru

Political Violence and the Grassroots in Lima, Peru

(p.281) 12 Political Violence and the Grassroots in Lima, Peru
The New Politics of Inequality in Latin America

Jo‐Marie Burt

Oxford University Press

In the early 1990s, the rural‐based Maoist guerrilla organization, know as Shining Path, held Lima virtually under siege. The capture of the movement's leader by the Fujimori government in 1992 effectively undermined the movement's activities. The question remains, however, as to why Shining Path generated so much support in Lima's shantytowns. Are poor people more willing to support violent political alternatives? This study argues that subaltern groups in Peru continually negotiate relationships with a range of political actors, from populist presidents to leftist organizations. It looks beyond Shining Path's use of terror and intimidation to its provision of material and symbolic goods. Within the shantytowns, the absence of state services, extreme poverty, growing crime, and insecurity and weak local institutions to mediate conflict made Shining Path's tactics seem as an effective means of restoring social order and imparting social justice. The group failed to develop long‐term political ties. When the state targeted the shantytowns with increased services and provided a security, Shining Path lost support among popular sectors.

Keywords:   grassroots organizations, Guerilla movements, Peru Shining Path, political violence, Shantytown, social justice, social order

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