Guerrila warfare is a type of warfare fought by irregulars in fast-moving,
small-scale actions against orthodox military and police forces and, on occasion, against rival insurgent forces, either independently or in conjunction with a larger political-military strategy. The term means "little war" in Spanish, and the word, guerrilla, is used to describe the concept. A person who is a member of a guerrilla is a guerrillero.

The tactics employed by "guerrillas" date back to over 2000 years ago. Sun Tzu argued that all warfare involves the employing of one's strength to exploit the weakness of the enemy. In his book, The Art of War, Sun Tzu gives several suggestions on how to defeat an enemy that is larger and better equipped than your own army.

Guerrilla Warfare in Latin AmericaEdit

The use of Guerrilla warfare in Latin America has been very prevalent in both the 19th and 20th century. The
Guerrilla Warfare Tactics01:27

Guerrilla Warfare Tactics

Outlining the tactics

Cuban revolution, led by Fidel Castro, largely used Guerrilla forces as a means of victory. The Colombian armed conflict, extending from 1964 to the present day, has had its use. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation, which has been relatively non-violent in Mexico since 1994, used common Guerrilla techniques. The internal conflict in Peru also has major ties to guerrilla warfare. Sendero Luminoso, or the Shining Path, is a revolutionary communist party in Peru. It claims its origins and its name from José Carlos Mariátegui, who founded the Peruvian Socialist Party. The name Shining Path derives from the Mariátegui quote, “El Marxismo-Leninismo abrirá el sendero luminoso hacia la revolución," which in English translates to "Marxism–Leninism will open the shining path to revolution."[1] This group views themselves as this path to revolutionary changes in Peru. The Shining Path use the techniques written by Mao Zedong, the leader of the communist forces in China. Their methods of bringing about this change include guerilla warfare and violent terrorism against all opposing forces, including other socialist groups. The senderistas, or followers of the Shining Path, believe that anyone not with them is a threat against them, making them one of the most dangerous political groups in the world.

Marxism and Guerrilla WarfareEdit

Marxism and Guerrilla warfare also have ties in Latin America. The Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara wrote a book, entitled La Guerra de Guerrillas, published immediately following the Cuban revolution in 1961. Guevara had initially wanted it to be a manual on guerrilla warfare, elaborating the foco theory (foquismo) for other revolutionary movements in Latin America. The main principle of foco theory stresses the use of vanguardism, a Lenin idea where a small group of people infiltrate the center of the revolutionary movement to steer it in the direction of the group’s goals. Guevera wanted these vanguards to lead the people discontented with the current government in a revolution. Guevara's book was also studied by counter-revolutionary military schools. It draws on the lessons of fighting during the Cuban Revolutionary War, which in turn were informed by two books from the Spanish Civil War, Nuevas guerras and Medicina contra invasión, stressing the need for an underpinning political motivation to guerrilla methods.[2]


  1. "Shining Path", Accessed April 30, 2012.
  2. "Guerrilla Warfare"

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