On June 6 some 30 armed rebels invaded a Transportadora de Gas del Peru (TGP) encampment, holding 19 workers and a helicopter pilot for over an hour, reported La Republica. The rebels warned the workers that they would be forced out of the zone if they cooperated with the security forces.
The language used in the letter indicates the group’s determination to identify themselves as a political movement, and not a mere drug trafficking organization as the government claims. They call on the gas companies not to stand in the way of the “armed revolution” and refer to themselves as “communist revolutionaries,” calling government forces representatives of a “narco-state.”
Since the Quispe brothers took command of the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE) branch of the Shining Path in 1999, they have broken with imprisoned founder Abimal Guzman and tried to create a new image for the group. In interviews given over the last decade they have repeatedly said they are in favor of investment in the region. In a 2009 interview Víctor Quispe Palomino, alias “Comrade Jose,” told reporters that the group no longer attacked public infrastructure or killed civilians, and that his forces had gone from village to village explaining this new policy.