Colombia-FARC peace talks: 5 ways the Left lives on in Latin America

If FARC-Colombia peace talks are successful, it would bring to an end one of the world's longest standing conflicts. And it is a reminder of how hardcore leftist political ideology lives on in Latin America, long after the close of the cold war. Here are five lasting examples:

Shining Path

The Shining Path, known as the Sendero Luminoso in Spanish, was founded in the late 1960s by hardline communist and former philosophy professor Abimael Guzman. It was not until the '80s, however, that the Mao-inspired group, a faction of Peru’s Communist Party, turned into a guerrilla insurgency that terrorized Peru, both in urban centers and rural areas, where it had its stronghold. The conflict, which also elicited widespread repression by the Peruvian state, is responsible for some 70,000 deaths. The Shining Path is listed, along with the FARC, as a terrorist organization by the US. With Mr. Guzman’s capture in 1992, the group has been severely weakened. But Peruvian President Ollanta Humala faces the organization's remnants, which have regrouped in recent years, despite the fact that Guzman remains jailed. This April, the rebels captured 36 natural gas workers, the first mass kidnapping of its kind since 2003.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

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We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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