Comrade Gonzalo, Are You Still With Us?

Himal carried the article "The Paradoxical Support of Nepal's Left for Comrade Gonzalo" by Stephen L. Mikesell in its March/April 1993 issue. In late November, the international press reported that Abimael Guzman (Comrade Gonzolo) had exchanged his bushy beard for a trim moustache, and had apparently shed his ideology as well. While the rebels accuse the government of torturing and drugging Guzman, other Peruvians think that the spirit of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) Maoist guerrilla movements leader has been truly broken. Given the relevance of Guzman for many in Nepal's Left, Himal asked research scholar Mikesell to provide a follow-up commentary.

THE New York Times reports that, from jail, Comrade Gonzalo is calling for the Shining Path "guerrillas to suspend the war, and to the government to start peace talks". Elements of the US Left in New York City say that these were the words of a man desperate to get out. Committee members of the Shining Path say it is "a dirty trick by the government". The Peruvian authorities admit to having isolated Gonzalo and of providing him only with sele­cted information that showed that the Shining Path was being destroyed. hi return for each of his conciliatory statements, the Government is gradually improving his prison conditions.

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Himal Southasian