By Steve Otto
Celebrities die every day. Some times they are people I really like. But today I heard of the death of Chairman Gonzalo/ AKA Abimael Guzmán, or Manuel Rubén Abimael Guzmán Reinoso. Many people online called him the greatest living Marxist alive today. I’m not sure if that was true, but he is dead now, so he can no longer be the greatest LIVING Marxists of our time. He does win the title of greatest Marxist theoretician of the 21st century—or at least close. All the other great ones died in either the 19th century or the 20th century. In all seriousness, he has been a major political figure of the 21st century.
World wide he has lots of followers in Latin America and Europe. Just a few days ago the Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist) called on trade unions, progressive democratic forces and human rights organizations around the world to organize agitations for the release of a veteran Peruvian communist leader, Dr. Abimael Guzmán.
Of course we can expect the so called main stream press to refer to him as just a terrorist and provide no hint that he did any good in Peru or that any of the peasants or barrio dwellers got anything out of supporting him. According to nearly all of the mainstream press Gonzalo did nothing more than kill people, including the peasants he was supposedly trying to save. For example, from The Washington Post:
“Abimael Guzmán, the mastermind of the Shining Path terrorist organization in Peru, a brutal Maoist movement that nearly toppled the country’s government in the 1980s and early 1990s, leaving thousands of people dead, died Sept. 11 in a hospital at a military prison outside Lima.”
We can expect a lot more of this kind of reporting in the coming weeks—that is if they pay any attention to him at all. The mainstream press did little about the ISIS (Islamic State) unarmed prisoners in Iraq that were thrown to their deaths off roof tops. Our main stream press has given crocodile tears over the US pull out in Afghanistan. And CCN was honest enough to admit:
“Another 30,000 Peruvians died at the hands of the government and paramilitary groups in the fight against the group, a government commission said in 2003.”
To those of us on the left, Chairman Gonzalo was a great man, a great military strategist and a great theoretician. No amount of white wash will erase that fact. Many people know who he was and what he was. With all that phony 9/11 US military hero worship, the rest of us will remember that Chairman Gonzalo lost his life on this day and his life is way more important than the military adventurists who tried to avenge an act against an empire.
Pix by Peru People's Movement.