Maritza Garrido Lecca a former militant of the Peruvian communist Shining Path organization is set to be released from prison today having served 25 years on accusations of treason and terrorism by the state.
She was captured alongside the Shining Path’s leader Abimael Guzman by Peruvian authorities with the aid of U.S. intelligence forces on Dec. 12, 1992. The group had engaged in militant actions against the state, seeking to overthrow the dictator Alberto Fujimori, who is now imprisoned on several charges of human rights violations, including the 1991 Barrio Altos massacre of Shining Path members.
Maritza Garrido Lecca was 27 years old when she was arrested and had a promising career as a prima ballerina and contemporary dancer. The house where she was arrested with several other members of the group also served as a dance studio.
Despite belonging to a wealthy family, Garrido Lecca became an activist after being exposed to Shining Path material by her aunt, also a militant in the organization. Her commitment to the organization was further strengthened after witnessing the atrocities carried out by the state against left-wing opposition leaders and supporters.
Originally charged with treason, in 2001 her sentence was extended to 25 years for her alleged involvement in the Shining Path’s Department of Organizational Support and for sheltering Abimael Guzman at her house and dance studio.
In several interviews she has given over the years from prison, Garrido Lecca has remained unrepentant stating “I have no regrets,” also failing to discount the possibility of her rejoining militant groups. Some 16 other members of Shining Path are also set to be released before the end of the year.