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Kavitha Dispatch

There's a Guerrilla in the House!

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Looks can be deceiving! University of San Cristobal is definitely unique!
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There are just a few things different about the college here in Ayacucho. It looks like other colleges with students walking to class and hanging out. But how many schools have you been to where there are sheep grazing as you walk to class?

A much more important difference is that one of the biggest terrorist groups in the past thirty years was led by a teacher here!

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This picture, from the cover of a Shining Path pamphlet from the late 1980s, advocates world revolution
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The group is called the Shining Path, and they wanted to help the poor. Since there are a lot of poor people in parts of Peru, the Shining Path had a lot of people who liked their ideas. But then, about 20 years ago, the Shining Path became very violent. They were so sure they were right, they didn't care what they had to do to win, and they tried to upset the whole country by being very violent. In the end over 23,000 people were killed.

"Those were very dangerous years here in Ayacucho, " says our friend Magda, who was going to school at the time… "there was nothing we could do. We were too scared..."

Another friend, Victor, told me that "Many people fled to the coast and there were no outside visitors since all the roads were controlled by the Shining Path--they were too dangerous to pass. Tourists, like you, have only now just started coming back to our area - only in the past few years. "

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Even in jail, in 1992, Guzman predicted a Shining Path victory
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In 1992, the leader of the Shining Path was caught and put in jail for life. Now the violence has pretty much stopped. It is sad to think that people who wanted to help poor people would be so violent and hurt so many people. I am glad the violence has stopped. It means that Abeja and I got the opportunity to get to know these wonderful people who have lived through so much.

Kavitha

Kevin - Notice! Lost and Found: My Identity in Peru! I am Vietnamese, American, and have Slanted Eyes, too!
 
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