Of all the terrorist movements since World War II that had any realistic potential to form a national government, only one was decisively defeated on the battleground of ideas. Sendero Luminoso, the Shining Path, arose in Peru in 1980. It was ...
distinguished by both the radicalism of its Maoist ideology and the viciousness of its tactics. An American diplomat, Bernard Aronson, called the Shining Path the most murderous guerilla group ever to operate in the Western Hemisphere and compared them to the Khmer Rouge. At one point this group commanded eighty thousand followers--two-thirds the size of Great Britain's standing army--and was the single largest political organization in the country.
The task of making the Shining Path politically irrelevant was accomplished primarily by ideological means. Hernando de Soto offered an alternative vision of Peru's poor. Rather than see them as the proletariat, he showed that they were in fact budding entrepreneurs whose greatest desire was not to bring down the market economy but to join it.