|Communist Party of Peru|
|Active||1980 - Present|
|Branch||The People's Guerrilla Army is the official name of the armed branch of the party.|
|Size||Probably a few hundred fighters|
|Garrison/HQ||Unknown, probably Upper Huallaga Valley|
|Nickname||Sendero Luminoso, Shining Path|
|Motto||"Long live the People's War," "It is Right to Rebel"|
|Anniversaries||May 17, 1980|
|Equipment||Small arms and dynamite|
|Battles/wars||Internal conflict in Peru|
|Abimael Guzmán |
|Hammer and sickle|
The Communist Party of Peru (Spanish: El Partido Comunista del Perú), more commonly known as the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso), is a Maoist guerrilla organization in Peru that launched the internal conflict in Peru in 1980. The more familiar name distinguishes the group from several other Peruvian communist parties with similar names (see Communism in Peru). It originates from a maxim of José Carlos Mariátegui, founder of the original Peruvian Communist Party: "El Marxismo-Leninismo abrirá el sendero luminoso hacia la revolución" (“Marxism-Leninism will open the shining path to revolution”). This maxim was featured in the masthead of the newspaper of a Shining Path front group, and Peruvian communist groups are often distinguished by the names of their publications. The followers of the group are generally called senderistas. All documents, periodicals and other materials produced by the organization are signed by the Communist Party of Peru (PCP). Academics refer to them as PCP-SL.
Shining Path's stated goal is to replace Peruvian bourgeois institutions with a communist peasant revolutionary regime, presumably passing first through the Maoist developmental stage of New Democracy. Since the capture of its leader Abimael Guzmán in 1992, it has only been sporadically active. Shining Path's ideology and tactics have been influential on other Maoist insurgent groups, notably the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and other Revolutionary Internationalist Movement-affiliated organizations.
Widely condemned for its brutality, including violence deployed against peasants, trade union organizers, popularly elected officials and the general civilian population, Shining Path is on the U.S. Department of State's "Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations" list. Peru, the European Union, and Canada likewise regard Shining Path as a terrorist group and prohibit providing funding or other financial
Shining Path was founded in the late 1960s by former university philosophy professor Abimael Guzmán (referred to by his followers by his nom de guerre Presidente Gonzalo), whose teachings created the foundation for its militant Maoist doctrine. It was an offshoot of the Communist Party of Peru — Bandera Roja ("red flag"), which in turn split from the original Peruvian Communist Party, a derivation of the Peruvian Socialist Party, founded by José Carlos Mariátegui in 1928.
Shining Path first established a foothold in San Cristóbal of Huamanga University, where Guzmán taught philosophy. The university had recently reopened after being closed for about half a century, and many students of the newly-educated class adopted Shining Path's radical ideology. Between 1973 and 1975, Shining Path gained control of the student councils in the Universities of Huancayo and La Cantuta, and developed a significant presence in the National University of Engineering in Lima and the National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas. Sometime later, it lost many student elections in the universities, including Guzmán's own San Cristóbal of Huamanga, and decided to abandon the universities and reconsolidate itself.