Tbe center-south provinces of Peru witnessed a "conquest that
failed" in the 1980s and early 1990S.
was here that Sendero focused
its drive to conquer rural peoples and territories, and to achieve a capacity
to strangle Lima from within and without. Tbe impoverished and heavily
Indian Department of Ayacucho constituted the regional birthplace and
recruitment arena of the party. Ayacucho and the adjoining and socially
similar departments of Apurimac and Huancavelica concentrated much of
the violent suffering and the accompanying political, social, and cultural
processes induced by the war. Strategic areas of expansion lay just north
of Ayacucho and Huancavelica in the more mestizo and commercially dy-
namic central sierra departments of Junin and Pasco, in the montana slopes
that descended toward jungle zones along the eastern fringes of northern
Ayacucho and Junin, and toward the jungle and coca leaf zones along the
east of Pasco and Huanuco. In Junin and Pasco were concentrated agricul-
tural production and hydroelectric power crucial to Lima's supply of food
and energy, mines that supplied a good deal of national export income, and
along the western edges of the region, the sierra heights that overlooked
Lima and the central coast. Tbe montana zones along eastern edges of Aya-
eucho and the central sierra provided refuge territory for guerrillas fleeing
from military forces or encounters in the highlands, and access to revenues
from the coca-cocaine economy.
Tbe essays in Part II analyze the interior dynamics of this failed con-
quest. Tbose by Carlos Ivan Degregori and Ponciano del Pino illuminate
two remarkable processes at the heart of the war: the consistent capacity
of the senderistas both to win and to squander an initial political base-a
blend of acceptance and sympathy-in rural Ayacucho; and the subjective
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