LIMA – The last of Peru’s original Shining Path guerrilla leaders had ties to drug traffickers and ordered the murders of a family that failed to make payments to the group, a witness told a Lima court, judicial officials said.
Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala, known as “Comrade Artemio,” took part in a meeting a day before the massacre of the family, the witness, identified only by the code CDT1011, said.
The trial is being held in a courtroom at the Callao naval base.
The guerrilla leader ordered the killings of the Rodriguez Figueroa family members because they were “traitors,” the witness told the court.
Flores Hala had links to drug traffickers in the Huallaga River Valley, where some of the remnants of the Shining Path guerrilla group operate, the witness said.
Drug traffickers had to pay the guerrilla group a certain amount of money based on the quantity of drugs produced, the witness said, adding that anyone who refused to pay faced losing their drugs or being killed, the witness, identified by prosecutors as a former rebel, said.
Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment and the payment of $2.7 billion in reparations from Flores Hala, who is accused of staging attacks in the Huallaga River Valley region and killing some 60 police officers, a prosecutor and an undetermined number of civilians.
The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.
A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the group’s 1980 uprising.
The guerrilla group, according to commission estimates, also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses.
Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman, known to his fanatic followers as “President Gonzalo,” was captured with his top lieutenants on Sept. 12, 1992, an event that marked the “defeat” of the insurgency.
The guerrilla leader, who was a professor of philosophy at San Cristobal University before initiating his armed struggle in the Andean city of Ayacucho, once predicted that 1 million Peruvians would probably have to die in the ushering-in of the new state envisioned by Shining Path.
The group became notorious for some of its innovations, such as blowing apart with dynamite the bodies of community service workers its members killed, or hanging stray canines from lampposts as warnings to “capitalist dogs.” EFE