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Comrade Artemio giving an interview
|Born||Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala
September 8, 1961
|Other names||Comrade Artemio|
|Occupation||Terrorist leader, guerilla|
|Known for||Protracted guerilla insurgency tactics|
Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala, known as Comrade Artemio (born September 8, 1961) is a former leader of the Peruvian Maoist group Shining Path. Along with Comrade Alipio, he was one of the highest-ranking members of the Shining Path who had not been imprisoned or killed. However, on February 12, 2012, he was captured by a combined force of the Peruvian Army.
Flores went to high school in Camana, Camana Province, Arequipa Department. He served in the Peruvian Army in the 221 Tank Battalion in Locumba, Tacna in 1979. He ended his service in December 1980. His face appears in the August 1989 video where Comrade Gonzalo appears dancing "Zorba the Greek" with all the Shining Path high command.
Very little was known about Comrade Artemio. He has appeared on video tapes, but always wearing a ski mask, often with an extra piece of cloth sewed on to hide his eyes. Messages supposed to have been written by him make the claim that he is only the regional commander of the Shining Path for the Huallaga Valley, implying that he is not the leader of the entire movement. This might be because he takes the imprisoned former leaders (Abimael Guzmán and Óscar Ramírez Durand) to be the true leaders and doesn't believe their orders for the Shining Path to lay down its arms.
On September 26, 2006, a news crew from the television show Panorama interviewed Artemio in a jungle base established by Shining Path. They also filmed about 50 Shining Path militants, all of whom were masked. Artemio demanded that the Peruvian government grant amnesty to imprisoned Shining Path members and open a peace dialogue with the remaining Shining Path members. Days after the report, the National Police raided the site where Artemio gave the interview. Some Shining Path members were arrested, but Artemio was not. In November, 2007, police claimed to have killed Artemio's second-in-command, a guerrilla known as JL.
In September, 2008, Artemio gave his first recorded interview since 2006. In it he stated that the Shining Path would continue to fight despite escalating military pressure.
On December 7, 2011, it was reported that 'Comrade Artemio' had admitted that the Shining Path were defeated. He is said to have offered 'dialogue' with the government regarding disarmament.
The next day, the BBC released an interview with "Comrade Artemio," identified as Florindo Eleuterio Flores-Hala. Flores-Hala admitted "mistakes" in continuing the Shining Path's war effort, and said he was ready to negotiate terms with the Peruvian government.
On June 7, 2013 Artemio was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay 500 million soles in civil reparations.
- El Comercio "Profile: Artemio, the last Shining Path leader (in Spanish)" . Accessed 21 February 2012.
- BBC "Peru police 'kill leading rebel'" Available online. Accessed January 13, 2008.
- AP "Peru rebel leader refuses to lay down arms" Available online. Accessed October 10, 2008.
- BBC "Peru's Shining Path defeated, rebel leader admits" Available on-line.
- Artemio unmasked: Peru's Shining Path commander comes in from the cold
- Leader of Peru's leftist insurgency shot and captured in jungle