To the editors:

While one must surely applaud and share Bill Martin’s outrage at the unjust treatment of Abimael Guzman, the cult leader of Peru’s Shining Path, at the hands of the Peruvian military [“Defender of the Shining Path,” January 22], one must also condemn the undemocratic, antiworking-class nature of the sect that Guzman leads.

We in Solidarity are more impressed with the courageous leaders and rank-and-file members of the multitude of Peruvian grass-roots organizations, which are the organic expression of the needs of the Peruvian peasants and workers. The reading public should know that these activists have been routinely brutalized and murdered by the Shining Path.

Just one case in point: Maria Elana Moyano was dragged out of a fund-raising event, shot in the head and chest, and then her body was dynamited by the Shining Path. Moyano was a cofounder of the Metropolitan Organization of “Glass of Milk” Committees and Soup Kitchens, a feminist leader, a vice mayor of Villa El Salvador, and a member of the United Left. She was assassinated because she led a peace march that opposed the Shining Path’s call for an armed strike. At that march, the day before her murder, she spoke of the Shining Path: “We do not support those who assassinate popular leaders and massacre leaders of the soup kitchens and Vaso de Leche (Glass of Milk). . . . We do not support those who undermine the people’s organizations and who wish to impose themselves by force and brutality.”

A socialist, democratic revolution in Peru is certainly the only means by which the needs of the Peruvian people can be met. Perhaps now the mass movements of peasants and workers can flourish without being brutalized by both the Peruvian government and the Shining Path.

Joel Finkel

member, Solidarity