Is the Shining Path the New Khmer Rouge?

Published in: Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, v. 17, no. 4, Oct.-Dec. 1994, p. 305-322

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1994

by William Rosenau

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This article assesses the claim that Peru's Shining Path insurgency is the new Khmer Rouge, a reincarnation of the brutal communist movement responsible for the death of more than one million Cambodians during the 1975-1979 Democratic Kampuchea era. Although Shining Path is unlikely to seize power in Peru the analogy is still worth evaluating, given its prominence in public debates over the nature of the insurgency. On the basis of Foreign Broadcast Information Service reports, party statements, and other primary and secondary sources, two major characteristics of these organizations are compared: ideology and prerevolution behavior in their respective liberated zones. While acknowledging that the Shining Path and the Khmer Rouge share a number of important features, the article concludes that a Shining Path regime would be less extreme than Democratic Kampuchea, and that it is an overstatement to call the insurgency the new Khmer Rouge.

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