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In Peru and the Philippines, Maoist Insurgencies Update Their Rhetoric

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More than 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with most of the world’s attention having shifted to the threat of international terrorism, the Philippines and Peru are still struggling to pacify their countries’ communist insurgencies. Rather than fading into history, the Philippines’ New People’s Army (NPA) and Peru’s Shining Path have updated their rhetoric to reflect contemporary concerns in an effort to make their ideologies relevant to the “masses” in the post-Cold War era.

The NPA and Shining Path, which were founded in 1969 and 1982, respectively, have not abandoned their discourse on Marxism and land reform, but their justification for attacks on multinational corporations and the government now centers on indigenous peoples’ rights and the environment. On Oct. 3, 2011, 200 NPA fighters launched simultaneous attacks on three mining companies in Surigao del Norte in northeast Mindanao, destroying roughly $11.5 million worth of equipment and facilities and briefly taking employees hostage. The Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA’s parent political organization, released a statement saying that the attacks were carried out for “the protection of the environment and natural resources and the defense of the rights of the Lumad [indigenous] people, peasants and workers.” In another statement, released on March 29, 2012, to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the group’s founding, an NPA spokesperson listed popular protest actions carried out by the group as being focused on “environmental destruction caused by large-scale mining, logging and plantation, [and] massive land-grabbing of peasant lands.” ...

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