”Comrade Artemio” head of one of the two remnant groups of the Peruvian armed terrorist Shinning Path movement admitted defeat and called on the government in Lima to begin a dialogue process to reach a peace accord.
In an interview with journalists Gustavo Gorriti and Romina Mella and aired in the IDL Reporters internet site, Artemio admits that the war started in 1980 against the Peruvian state “ended in defeat”.
“Yes, it is real, we can’t deny it” said the leader of the remnant group of terrorists in the rain-forest Huallaga valley, although pointing out that the movement continues to pursue the same political objective but in practical terms “it is not possible”.
Artemio said his true name is Jose Pepe Flores Hala, 47 and born in the southern state of Arequipa and admitted having an armed column to guarantee their “negotiation position”.
“We sincerely want to reach a political solution; we want to end all this, but through a negotiation round”, said Artemio.
He insisted in a ‘military truce’ to begin discussions for negotiations, something he alleges to have attempted several times with the mediation of the Red Cross and the Catholic Church.
“I tried to establish discussions with the help of Monsignor Bambarén Gastelumendi, with the head of the Red Cross, back in 2003 when the government of President Alejandro Toledo, (2000/2006)”.
He also admitted having approached the government of President Ollanta Humala but he was asked for unconditional surrender, handing the arms and to stand to the consequences of the rule of law, which “I have rejected”
Artemio insists his proposal is a “long term peace”, but continues to believe in Marxism and that “the only way to change the Peruvian political system is with violence”.
“Of course the class struggle with continue; political struggle will continue. The war comes to an end but politics without arms continues, organized as the Communist party of Peru, we are not going to lay back and sleep”.
The guerrilla leader also admitted that Shinning Path needs to make self-criticism particularly regarding the attacks on security forces and the selective killings committed since the eighties.
However the terrorist leader insisted that his armed column is the “armed guarantee” for leader and founder of Shinning Path, sentenced to life, Abimael Guzmán, but “we will only act and defend ourselves if attacked upon by the military”.
According to Peruvian authorities the same way Artemio leads the a group in Huallaga, another branch is hiding in the Valle de los Rios Apurimac and Ene to the centre and south of Peru under command of brothers Victor, Miguel Angel and Carlos Pisque Palomino, all working in close alliance with their financers, the drug cartels.
“At this point, if they feel defeated they will have to surrender, hand in their guns and face the courts for all the killings and damage they have done”, said a Peruvian government source.