Infamous Cadavers: Peru Wants to Burn Guerrilla Leader's Body to Prevent Creation of Sinister Shrine

Abimael Guzman - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.09.2021
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The founder and former leader of the Peru’s Shining Path guerrillas, Abimael Guzman, died in prison at the weekend. He is the latest in a long line of infamous politicians and rebels whose deaths have led to fears their graves would become shrines.
The Peruvian Justice Minister, Anibal Torres, has asked the Attorney General for permission to cremate the remains of legendary guerrilla leader Abimal Guzman.
Guzman, who was better known as Chairman Gonzalo, died on Saturday aged 86.
Under Peruvian law the remains of an inmate who died in prison should be turned over to a direct relative but Guzman has none, except his wife Elena Iparraguirre, who was Shining Path's second-in-command and is also serving a life sentence for terrorism.
The body is being held in a morgue in the city of Callao by the public prosecutor pending a decision by the Attorney General.
Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) was founded by an intellectual elite in the early 1980s and began a bloody guerrilla war in the Andes mountains, around the city of Ayacucho.
Having failed to win over to their side indigenous villagers they switched strategies in the early 1990s and began an urban bombing campaign. Altogether around 70,000 people were killed during the violence, many of them civilians killed by the military.
Shining Path were eventually defeated after right-wing President Alberto Fujimori came to power in 1990 and gave the military and police carte blanche.
In September 1992 Guzman and Iparraguirre were tracked down to a safe house in a suburb of Lima. They were hiding in an apartment above a dance school.
“You can kill a man, but you can never kill this,” Guzman said after his arrest, pointing at his brain.
While most of Shining Path’s members gave up after Guzman and Iparraguirre were arrested in 1992, a tiny group of Senderistas continues the fight in the jungles of northern Peru.
A Peruvian military spokesman said a Shining Path fighter was killed during clashes with troops in a remote coca-leaf growing region.
The Senderista was said to be part of a small group known as “Comarade Pucañahui's column."
Fujimori’s daughter Keiko was a candidate for the presidency earlier this year but lost out to leftist Pedro Castillo, who took office in July aiming to tackle much of the social inequality which gave rise to Shining Path 40 years ago.
The debate about what to do with Guzman’s body has echoes of the deaths of other infamous leaders.
When Adolf Hitler died in his bunker beneath Berlin in 1945 Soviet troops reportedly set fire to his corpse but in the absence of a body stories persisted for decades that the Nazi leader had actually survived and gone into hiding somewhere.
Hitler’s former deputy Rudolf Hess died in Spandau prison in 1987 his body was buried in the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel.
But Hess’s grave became a neo-Nazi shrine and in 2011 his remains were disinterred, cremated and his ashes scattered at sea by his family.
The United States government was determined Osama bin Laden would not get any martyr worship so after he was killed in a clandestine operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, his body was thrown into the Indian Ocean after DNA samples had been taken.
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