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MRTA: “Tupac Amaru” Revolutionary Movement (Peru)

Movimiento Revolucionario “Tupac Amaru”

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by rob raeside
Keywords: mrta | tupac amaru | firearm: rifle | psr-ml-mir-em |
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MRTA flag
image by Santiago Tazón, 21 Jun 2001
See also:


Regarding the name, according to the transcript of official documents from this illegal organization, its Political Commission decided on March 1, 1982 to stop naming the group PSR-ML-MIR-EM (for the union of these two orgnizations: PSR-ML and MIR-EM), and start to call it Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru — the name was to be kept secret until they could rise up in arms).

MIR-EM stands for MIR-El Militante, whereas MIR is an acronym that stands for Movimiento Independiente Revolucionario (Inependent Revolutionary Movement), in common use among leftist organizations in Latin America during the 1960’s and 1970’s. The official existence of the M.R.T.A is 1984 to 1996.

For more information on the movement refer to these links:

Esteban Rivera, 09 Jan 2006

Tupac Amaru II

Tupac Amaru (real name José Condorcanqui) was born in Cuzco in 1741, and after some years declared himself an Inca descendent (which is unsure). He assembled a number of partisans, and started a revolt in Tungasuca on 6 November 1780. The attack on Cuzco was a failure and he was capturated by the spanish army and executed in Cuzco on 18 May 1782. The Quechua people remember today the just cause of Tupac Amaru and a marxist indigenous movement established in 1984 took his name. The militant people were named "emerretistas", and started the armed strugle in 1987 in the Amazonian Forest.
Jaume Ollé, 08 Dec 1996

Tupac Amaru’s full name was José Gabriel Condorcanqui Noguera (see biography in Spanish Wikipedia); he was actually killed in May, 1781 where he was put to death by being drawn and quartered (based on this XVIIth century transcript, pages 5-7).
Esteban Rivera, 09 Jan 2006

Tupac Amaru II claimed to be the descendant of Tupac Amaru I, one of the last Inca emperors. In the popular Peruvian imaginative world, Tupac Amaru II represents rebellion and resistance to invasion. However, Tupac Amaru II has always been given a secondary role in the history of the country, dominated by a minority of European origin. Tupac Amaru II reappeared in the 70;’s, put forward by the progressist members of the military regime (with socialist tendencies) of general Juan Velasco (1968-1975). In the government palace, a picture of the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was replaced by one of Tupac Amaru II, in order to highlight the Inca past of Peru. Since then, several streets in the popular sections of Lima, the capital of Peru, have been named after Tupac Amaru. That name does not appear in the richest sections of the city, including San Isidro, where the Japanese embassy is located.
Ivan Sache, 08 Dec 2000

Flag description

This flag was prominently hung from the windows and railings of the Japanese Embassy in in Lima, taken over by MRTA on 17 December 1996. The flag is a tricolor, the design long associated with revolutionary change and independence. The two outer bands are red, which is the colour traditionally associated with Marxism and socialist revolution.
David Cohen, 11 Mar 1997

A red-white-red triband sounds a lot like the national flag of Peru.
Roy Stilling, 11 March 1997

On the central white band are the letters "MRTA" - the Spanish-language acronym for the group. The head on the flag depicts Tupac Amaru. The stylised V below is formed by a star and a gun — the gun symbolising Tupac Amaru’s belief in armed struggle to acheive their objectives. The V stands for the word Venceremos — Spanish for "We shall win!" — Tupac Amaru’s slogan is «Con las masas y las armas, Patria o muerte… ¡venceremos!»
David Cohen, 11 Mar 1997

The flag can be seen here (although in very small size); The emblem can be found here (big size).
Esteban Rivera, 09 Jan 2006

Flag variations

I know three flags used by the movement:

  • Vertical white and red with the letters MRTA in black in the center.
  • Horizontal red over white with the letters MRTA in black in the centre of the white stripe
  • Peru national flag pattern with the letters MRTA (in black) on the central band, and above an image (white/black) of the head and half body (since below of the chest) of Tupac Amaru; in the left of this image one arrow with double point; and in the right side an automatic rifle (similar to a Kalashnikov AK47).
Jaume Ollé, 08 Dec 1996

Red arrow and rifle

MRTA flag var #1
image by António Martins, 25 Sep 1999

Vertical white and red

MRTA flag var #2
image by António Martins, 01 Oct 1999

Horizontal red over white

MRTA flag var #3
image by António Martins, 01 Oct 1999