Tupac Amaru -- Peru's smaller guerrilla group
Overshadowed by Shining Path movement
December 18, 1996
Web posted at: 11:00 a.m. EST
(CNN) -- Since it first took up arms in 1984, the Marxist
Tupac Amaru revolutionary movement in Peru has been largely
overshadowed by the larger Maoist-influenced Shining Path
Tupac Amaru, whose ideology is inspired by Fidel Castro's
Cuba, most likely never had more than 1,800 members, and is
believed to have no more than a few hundred now.
Focusing mostly on urban warfare, Tupac Amaru rebels bombed
fast food restaurants, robbed banks, and kidnapped
businessmen. The larger Shining Path group terrorized
mountain villages, towns, and poor urban areas.
Tupac Amaru was named for Tupac Amaru II, an indigenous rebel
who was executed for an uprising against the Spanish in the
1700s. That rebel had taken his name from the last ruler of
the Inca empire before Spain conquered Peru.
In recent years, top commanders of Tupac Amaru had said they
were giving up the fight. Their chief, Victor Polay, was
captured in 1992 and is serving a life sentence. Soon after,
other top leaders surrendered their weapons to President
Since then, Tupac Amaru had not been heard from and its
members were believed to be in their jungle hideouts.
The guerrillas called Tuesday's assault on the Japanese
ambassador's house "Breaking the Silence," and said their
highest priority was to obtain Polay's release.
Related sites: Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.