LIMA – Peruvian Ambassador to Argentina Nicolas Lynch submitted his resignation to President Ollanta Humala, who accepted it on Sunday, in the wake of his meeting with supporters of the Shining Path guerrilla group in Buenos Aires.
Lynch arrived in Lima on Friday after being recalled by Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo.
The ambassador was asked to explain why he met in January with representatives of Movadef, a group that has been calling for a pardon for Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman, who is serving a life prison sentence for terrorism.
Roncagliolo asked Lynch to resign after learning that the ambassador told Argentina’s Radio Master that he met with the Movadef members because “the embassy is the home of Peruvians,” media reports said.
Humala accepted the ambassador’s resignation and cancelled his credentials, a resolution published Sunday in the official El Peruano newspaper said.
Lynch took up his post in Buenos Aires in October 2011.
The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.
A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the group’s 1980 uprising.
The guerrilla group, according to commission estimates, also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses.
Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman, known to his fanatic followers as “President Gonzalo,” was captured with his top lieutenants on Sept. 12, 1992, an event that marked the “defeat” of the insurgency.
The guerrilla leader, who was a professor of philosophy at San Cristobal University before initiating his armed struggle in the Andean city of Ayacucho, once predicted that 1 million Peruvians would probably have to die in the ushering-in of the new state envisioned by Shining Path.
The group became notorious for some of its innovations, such as blowing apart with dynamite the bodies of community service workers its members killed, or hanging stray canines from lampposts as warnings to “capitalist dogs.”