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Guzmán, Abimael (Abimael Guzmán Reynoso) (1934–)

Abimael Guzmán Reynoso is founder and was leader of the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) terrorist organization of Peru.

The illegitimate son of a wealthy Peruvian businessman, Guzmán was born in December 1934 in Arequipa, Peru. He excelled as a student but showed little interest in politics until his late teens, when he began associating with leftist intellectuals. He became the protégée of the painter Carlos de la Riva, an ardent admirer of Joseph Stalin; Guzmán joined the Peruvian Communist Party in the late 1950s.

In 1962, Guzmán was appointed to the post of professor of philosophy at San Cristobal del Huamanga University in Ayacucho, a remote, desperately poor province inhabited mostly by Peruvian Indians. There, Guzmán began to hold weekly political discussions with students and colleagues; Guzmán was a passionate speaker, and his tirades against the injustices of Peruvian society and the need for Indian ...

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