Also has to its credit devastating ambushes, on October 23 the combatants handed another blow to the army in Lanchoj; a land mine blew up two trucks in a convoy of three, and after a demolishing attack; and later a violent combat with eight soldiers, who commanded by a lieutenant, remained some distance from the third truck; of those three were annihilated in combat; this convoy was heavily armed since it carried chiefs to their anti-guerrilla bases; as usual, newspapers minimized the facts: “four officers and nine soldiers were annihilated.” when in fact we annihilated 36. Add to this action the clashes at Santa Ines and Chupamarca and the harassment at Castrovirreyna, totaling 11 dead.
So the reactionary Peruvian army suffered 47 dead, among them 10 officers, not counting the wounded which, obviously, raises the number of casualties. Their furious response, impotent for not being able to hit their ambushers, preys upon the unarmed masses; at Santa Ana, on 25 October, they tortured peasants asking them about the guerrillas and murdering five; in the same place, on the 28th, they burned the hut of a peasant and murdered him for being an uncle of a revolutionary soldier; and in Lachoj, 70 soldiers stationed themselves on the road, on the 28th, stopping anyone coming through, they robbed, tortured and raped women; and on the 31st they murdered four more in Pucara. Here too, the electoral process has been deepened the class struggle; reaction has set up its elections, maintaining them primarily on its armed forces; to that end they brought in more soldiers from Huancayo and marine infantry from El Callao; from Huancavelica to Ticrapo they deployed into the countryside campaigning for the elections and calling on people to vote, threatening with the firing squad anyone not doing so.
Part of their control was to establish a permit (safe-conduct) system for traveling; 5 days before the elections they stopped the train leaving Huancavelica, arrested 400 passengers, whom they robbed, tortured and paraded through the city while they shouted the same would happen to all those who don’t obtain and produce a safe-conduct pass. In the same city the soldiers waged war against revolutionary signs (paintings) with Party slogans on the walls, taking down red flags, which they dragged through the streets, shooting and reaping them, but contrary to their expectations, the people laughed and ridiculed them. Then military proceeded to conduct illegal searches of homes and murdering and disappearing noncombatant civilians (among them 13 students from the Pedagogic Institute, the victims of repeated searches.) The masses were also black mailed, for instance, as a condition to pick up their pay checks, teachers had to attend a boring lecture by the political-military chief; at the same time flyers were dropped from helicopters: “peasant friend, reject the terruco [tag for PCP insurgent] because he is your enemy” (any similarity is not a simple coincidence!).
But faced with this sinister campaign, the People’s War confronted it boldly and resolutely; as a sign of this advance in the departmental capital itself on October 8, the army barracks, commissary and police cafeteria were sabotaged; there was a blackout and, most important, agitation was begun at the cinema, the masses went out into the streets and formed a steadily increasing chorus, which turned into a roaring rally at the Main Square, shouting “vivas” to President Gonzalo, the Party, the People’s War and urging, “Don’t vote!”, amidst the darkness, dynamite explosions and rifle shots; neither soldiers nor police went out and the People’s Army (EGP) controlled the city.
The 12th, election day, passed amidst the strike and the daily blackouts from the 11th to the 13th of November; the dawn broke with red flags with the hammer and sickle posted conspicuously on the streets and violent explosions; it was a dead city until about 11:00 a.m., at which time soldiers began to enter houses looking for leaders and members of electoral boards, and bringing the people out to vote by force; but that resulted in less than 40% of the electorate in that city voting; but in the barrios, young towns, and their surroundings they did not go to vote, the strike besides, which the highways into the city were blockaded. If this happened in the capital city, in the smaller cities and in the countryside the problem was worse for reaction; since, besides not having any candidates in many places, not to vote was the sentiment and desire among the masses, because from experience “voting” means nothing for them. Here we have, too, a good example of how to use elections in a revolutionary manner.
CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF PERU
Ediciones Bandera Roja, May 1990