Philippines,Peru and Nepal seem to the similar countries economically. Then why did the armed struggle work only in Nepal and not in all these places? Where did the government go right in these places and the countries go wrong in all these places.A slightly detailed insight into this will be mot certainly welcome.

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    In what sense "worked" Are you talking about the Nepali civil war 96-06? And the People Power revolution in the Phillipines (1986) That "worked" didn't it? And is it the "shining path" group in Peru? That didn't work... Or are you asking about something completely different
    – James K
    Apr 11, 2021 at 13:54
  • Absolutely correct..Bang on @JamesK Apr 11, 2021 at 13:54
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    But it did work in 1986 in Phillipines. A dictator was removed and a democratic government installed.
    – James K
    Apr 11, 2021 at 14:06
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    @James K: And look at what that "democratic" government has given the Phillipines: a bloodthirsty murder as President.
    – jamesqf
    Apr 11, 2021 at 16:52
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    "Philippines,Peru and Nepal seem to the similar countries economically." Really?! It doesn't seem right to me. Any reference? Apr 12, 2021 at 22:48

2 Answers 2


Governments are normally quite capable of surviving an armed insurgency by a small rebel group. The military of a state is normally far more capable than any armed faction.

What governments find difficult to survive is a mass movement. The exact size of a "mass movement" is debated, but the 3.5% rule is sometimes quoted. That is, if 3.5% of the population is actively resisting your government, it won't survive. That means 3.5% of the population on the streets actively protesting.

In Peru, the Shining Path group never had this kind of support. In the Philippines, the Aquino revolution did have this support and the revolution was successful, but various communist armed groups have never been able to mobilise this number of people.

In Nepal, the Maoist military groups likewise had no wide support for many years. It was only when they formed alliances with other opposition groups that a peaceful revolution occurred. The Maoists didn't succeed in all their goals, after all, Nepal is not now a Maoist communist state. So the Maoists failed in Nepal, until they gave up armed struggle and build a wide coalition of supporters. It is a broad-based support, with 3.5% of the population actively protesting that leads to regime change.


First, what is armed struggle? Do the Taliban qualify? i.e. does it mean that the people waging it are "good guys"? How do you qualify that?

So, sticking specifically to why Peru's government survived the Shining Path, despite decades of failing their indigenous population (an ongoing failure, by the way), what exact attraction did Shining Path hold for the "hearts and minds" of that population? Why would they choose to back that insurgency? Did the SP insurgency respect the natives and actually help them?

I think not. Let's look at the Lucanamarca Massacre

On 17 May 1980 the Shining Path went to war against the Peruvian state. The Shining Path was based in the Ayacucho Region. In March 1983, ronderos killed Olegario Curitomay, a Shining Path commander in Lucanamarca, a small town in the Huanca Sancos Province of Ayacucho. The ronderos took Curitomay to the town square, stoned him, stabbed him, set him on fire, and finally shot him.1

Shining Path militants responded to the death of Olegario Curitomay by entering the province of Huancasancos and the towns of Yanaccollpa, Ataccara, Llacchua, Muylacruz, and Lucanamarca, and killing 69 people. Of those killed by the Shining Path, eighteen were children, the youngest of whom was only six months old. Also killed were eleven women, some of whom were pregnant. Eight of the victims were between fifty and seventy years old.

Let's say what Comrade Guzman, the insurgency leader had to say, in a freely-given interview (my emphasises):

In the face of reactionary military actions... we responded with a devastating action: Lucanamarca. Neither they nor we have forgotten it, to be sure, because they got an answer that they didn't imagine possible. More than 80 were annihilated, that is the truth. And we say openly that there were excesses, as was analyzed in 1983. But everything in life has two aspects. Our task was to deal a devastating blow in order to put them in check, to make them understand that it was not going to be so easy. On some occasions, like that one, it was the Central Leadership itself that planned the action and gave instructions. That's how it was. In that case, the principal thing is that we dealt them a devastating blow, and we checked them and they understood that they were dealing with a different kind of people's fighters, that we weren't the same as those they had fought before. This is what they understood. The excesses are the negative aspect... If we were to give the masses a lot of restrictions, requirements and prohibitions, it would mean that deep down we didn't want the waters to overflow. And what we needed was for the waters to overflow, to let the flood rage, because we know that when a river floods its banks it causes devastation, but then it returns to its riverbed.... [T]he main point was to make them understand that we were a hard nut to crack, and that we were ready for anything, anything.

So, ask yourself, why the heck would the people follow that lunatic? Unlike the Taliban in Afghanistan, Communism had little inherent cultural attraction to the natives. Sure, it sounds great to be talking about people's liberation, but you can only coerce people with that type of fear and you risk, even with an initially oppressive government, that the people choose the government as the lesser of two evils.

Just to be clear, the then-Peruvian governments, ending with Fujimori, committed a number of atrocities of its own and is hardly blameless.

Further reading:

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