You are on page 1of 10


By Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui
Aymara historian Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui is a member and past director of the Andean Oral History
Workshop in La a!"
Nayrapacha means ancient times. But not in the sense of a past that is dead, incapable of
renovation. It implies that this world can be changed, a past that can also be the future.
-Carlos Mamani (!
#n $anuary of %&'() under one of Bolivia*s incessant dictatorships) the army opened fire on a cro+d of
,uechua #ndians from the re-ion of .olata and /pi!ana near Cochabamba) killin- at least %0" 123 .he
#ndians had sta-ed a peaceful roadblock alon- the Cochabamba4Santa Cru! hi-h+ay to protest lo+
prices for a-ricultural products" .he massacre unleashed lon-4repressed ethnic conflicts) +hich had
their ori-in in efforts to inculcate a 5citi!en*s consciousness5 amon- #ndian peoples over the previous
hundred years" arado6ically) this +as a re-ion +here a market economy and private property had
predominated for centuries) +here mesti!o or culturally mi6ed ,uechua peasants had been in the fore
of the -overnment4sponsored peasant unions formed to help carry out land reform follo+in- the %&72
nationalist revolution" 103
.he residents of .olata +ere stunned by the unilateral rupture of their 5pact of citi!enship5 +ith the
state" #n the Aymara4speakin- re-ion 278 miles a+ay) +here ethnic consciousness has been hi-h since
the ei-hteenth century) the massacre +as considered an intolerable affront" #n the very same
communities that spa+ned the %'98 rebellion led by .upaq :atari) people invoked :atari*s name to
challen-e the notion that native people should accept a 5citi!en5 identity4besto+ed by liberal reformers
be-innin- in %9'() but only fully applied after %&72 4 that only confirmed #ndians* second4class status"
romotin- instead an anti4colonial identity) these 5:ataristas5 denounced the 5political serfdom5 to
+hich Andean peoples had been sub;ected throu-h public schools) universal suffra-e) and the
underminin- of community life"
.he ne+ -eneration of leaders that emer-ed developed innovative +ays of or-ani!in-" .hey founded
cultural centers 1such as the Centro <ink*a3 and urban movements 1like the $ulian Apa!a =niversity
<ovement3) as +ell as political or-ani!ations 1.upaq :atari Revolutionary <ovement and .upaq
:atari #ndian <ovement3" .he participation of Aymaras +ith hi-h4school or colle-e de-rees -ave these
or-ani!ations a ne+ and particular character"
.he :ataristas focused much of their an-er on the easant4<ilitary act) +hich the de facto re-ime of
>en" Ren? Barrientos 1%&@(4%&@&3 used to turn peasant unions a-ainst the radical and autonomous
miners unions" By denouncin- the 5pact)5 the :ataristas helped unveil the overt ="S" manipulation of
Bolivian politics and thus -ained support from the +orker and student movements" .hey +orked from
+ithin the official unions) and by %&'' had succeeded in transformin- these into a political arena for
challen-in- a broad array of state policies"
Such efforts paid off in early %&'9) before the overthro+ of the Ban!er dictatorship" At a semi4
clandestine con-ress of the pro4-overnment Aational Confederation of easant Workers) dele-ates
from all nine of Bolivia*s re-ions added .upaq :atari to the -roup*s name) thus implicitly reco-ni!in-
an unprecedented situation" Bor the first time since the %&72 revolution) an #ndian ideolo-y and
or-ani!ation +ere to lead the stru--les of the country*s #ndian and non4#ndian peasants"

.he follo+in- year) durin- a period of transition to a civilian re-ime) the :atarista movement ;oined
forces +ith <ar6ist peasant -roups to form the =nited Confederation of Rural Workers of Bolivia
1CS=.CB3) ali-ned +ith the Bolivian Workers Central 1COB3" .his ne+found unity +as put to the test
in Aovember and Cecember of that year) +hen tens of thousands of peasants sta-ed a protest campai-n
that paraly!ed ma;or hi-h+ays throu-hout the country" .heir success hei-htened the :atarista
movement*s presti-e) allo+in- it to remain at the head of the CS=.CB for nearly a decade"
.he :ataristas proposed that indi-enous identity become the core of a ne+ society" .hey dre+ on
Aymara oral traditions and the +ritin-s of #ndian intellectuals such as Bausto Reyna-a) as +ell as the
memory of the anti4colonial rebellions and the anti4liberal stru--les of the nineteenth century) to
recreate this vision" .oday*s e6perience of racial and cultural discrimination cataly!ed these aspects of
collective memory) and led to a true 5reinvention5 of Andean history" .his rene+al of people*s sense of
the past allo+ed them to envision ne+ political and social potential for the future"
#n the process) the lon-4term memory of ei-hteenth4century anti4colonial stru--les acquired ne+
si-nificance" $ust before his e6ecution) .upaq :atari had prophesi!edD 5# die today) but # +ill rise a-ain)
and # +ill be millions"""5 .he :ataristas traced the crisis in the Andean +orld to the /uropean invasion
of %702" Eet they reco-ni!ed the structural impact of the %&72 revolution) and vie+ed peasant unions as
the most important arena for buildin- a multi4ethnic society based on 5unity in diversity"5 And to the
ancient ethical principles of the #nca empire 44 5.hou shalt not be a thief) a traitor or a la--ard5 4 they
added one moreD 5.hou shalt not be servile"5
.he %"7 million Amara people +ho today live in Bolivia did not consider themselves a 5people5 until
the end of the ei-hteenth century" 1(3 Curin- the pre4Hispanic and early colonial periods) the Andean
re-ion +as a mosaic of diverse ethnicities) lan-ua-es and societies) in +hich 5Aymara5 +as little more
than the lin-ua franca amon- a multitude of ethnic federations in an enormous territory centred on the
5aquatic a6is5 of lakes .iticaca and oop@" #ronically) it +as the colonial e6perience +hich imposed a
certain unity by -roupin- distinct indi-enous cultures into the homo-eni!in- cate-ory of #ndians) a
coloni!ed people" 173
Before #nca times) interlockin- kinship -roupin-s 1the ayllu or;atha3+ere dispersed in several
ecolo-ical tiers alon- the hi-hlands) valleys and lo+lands on both sides of the Andes" Cespite the
distances involved) these achieved an ecolo-ical complementarity) not by trade) but by intra and inter4
ethnic relations of redistribution and reciprocity) +hich did not seem to require the presence of a stron-
central state" Andean society has been compared to a Chinese bo6 toyD ayllus +ere linked on different
levels by ritual and symbolic relations +hich besto+ed a hi-h de-ree of le-itimacy on the increasin-ly
vertical differentiation amon- them" 1@3 .a+antinsuyu) as the #ncas called their empire) made use of all
these mechanisms to reor-ani!e the economy and ideolo-y of the Andean +orld in order to seduce the
disperse ethnic -roups into the state or to conquer them" But it did so based on the metaphor of blood
relationships) and thus codified a system of domination in +hich tolerance for ethnic diversity +as not
violated" 1'3
.his does not mean that the Andean +orld +as free of conflictF in fact) it +as rife +ith inter4ethnic
rivalries and internecine po+er stru--les" At the time of the arrival of the Spaniards) .a+antinsuyu +as
embroiled in a particularly bitter +ar of succession bet+een t+o brothers) Waskar and Ata+allpa"G .he
conquistadors easily e6ploited these divisions) initiatin- a cycle of violent domination best e6pressed
by the Andean concept of pachakuti 4 a ,uechua and Aymara +ord meanin- the disruption of the
universe" 193

G Aymara spellin-s are utili!ed for names of people in this article"
.he lootin- of temples) the 5death of the -ods)5 and the brutal a--ression a-ainst all aspects of
indi-enous society +rou-ht more than the destruction of a symbolic order and a political system" #t +as
open -enocide" .he ne+ -ods brou-ht +ith them pla-ues such as the Andean people had never seen"
Cisease) +arfare) and the massacre of civilians caused the population of seven or ei-ht million to
plummet by t+o4thirds from %708 to %7@8" By %7&8) the population had decreased by another (8H" 1&3
=ntil +ell into the si6teenth century) the Spaniards +ere confronted +ith t+o tenacious rebellionsD the
5.akiy unquy)5 +hich be-an in Huaman-a 1in present4day eru3 and spread south to+ard La a! and
ChuquisacaF and the defiant #nca state of Iilcabamba) near Cu!co" .he .akiy unquy 1a ,uechua
e6pression +hich literally means 5the dance of disease53 +as somethin- of a collective reli-ious
phenomenon) a radical reaction a-ainst the imposition of Christianity and a call for a return to the pre4
#nca cult of +ak*as) or ancestor +orship"
.he Iilcabamba rebellion +as more e6plicitly political) launched in %70@ by <anqu #nka) +ho sou-ht
to drive out the Spanish or) failin- that) to ne-otiate the reco-nition of a parallel #nca state" After a lon-
sie-e of the ancient #nca capital Cu!co and a failed attempt to take it back from the Spaniards) the
rebels +ithdre+ to the subtropical re-ion of Iilcabamba) +here they held out for more than three
decades in a kind of 5liberated !one5 1althou-h they +ere not free from /uropean disease3" .he
rebellion collapsed after its leader .upaq Amaru #) successor of Wayna ,hapaq #nka) +as beheaded in
Cu!co in %7'2" His death recalled the murder of the emperor Ata+allpa (8 years earlier and seemed to
confirm the cosmic rupture of the #nca +orld"5 1%83
Both of these efforts demonstrated the peculiar character of native resistance) +hich intimately linked
the political and reli-ious dimensions by ;oinin- the stru--le for liberation to the defense of a symbolic
order) a cultural +orld4vie+ e6pressed in ancient rituals and customs" .he defeat of both movements
cemented the schism bet+een #ndian and Spaniard) and contributed to the mythical vie+ that the
conquistadors +ere not quite human) that they +ere mali-nant bein-s 1lik *ichiriin ,uechua) kharisiriin
Aymara3 sent to e6tract the untu) the lifeblood of the people" Colonial rule +as firmly in place by the
end of the si6teenth century) under the administration of Iiceroy Brancisco .oledo" /colo-ically
disperse communities +ere relocated into nucleated settlements) made to pay tribute in silver and in
labor) and forced to accept Christianity) the 5coloni!ation of the soul"5 1%%3
Curin- the seventeenth century) a series of la+s) kno+n as the Leyes de #ndias) +ere enacted to
5protect5 the indi-enous population" Colonial la+ partitioned the Andean +orld into dual entities) the
5Republic of Spaniards5 and the 5Republic of #ndians)5 each +ith its o+n separate courts) la+s and
ri-hts"* 1%23 Brom the point of vie+ of the colonial state) the division +as a pra-matic measure to
prevent the e6termination of the labour force and restrain the ambitions of the coloni!ers" But from the
perspective of the indi-enous population) the idea of 5t+o republics)5 +hich implied some kind of
mutual reco-nition bet+een coloni!ers and coloni!ed) came to embody comple6 Andean territorial
concepts) includin- not only physical space but le-al or political domain4the political space for self4
#f the Conquest itself could not be reversed) at least the vanquished could use the Leyes de #ndias to
conserve +hat remained of their territories and traditional authorities" .hese 5ri-hts5 became in-rained
in the Aymara collective memory as a sort of 5social pact5 bet+een the coloni!ers and the coloni!ed" #n
e6chan-e) #ndians +ould obey the forced labour edicts 1mit*a3) pay tribute) and even incorporate forei-n
-ods into their pantheon of deities"
#ndian land ri-hts +ere formali!ed throu-h land titles 1settlement and sale a-reements3 -ranted by the
colonial administration to #ndian authorities" Over time) these titles 1nayra titulu or ch*ullpa titulu3) even
thou-h they fell +ithin the frame+ork of Spanish le-al concepts) encapsulated and recreated the
memory of ethnic identity" 1%03 Both the sacred meanin- of space as the site of ancestor shrines and
tombs) as +ell as traditional territorial or-ani!ation in discontinuous ecolo-ical !ones) mana-ed to filter
throu-h" After independence) colonial land titles and the notion of le-al ri-hts embodied in the Leyes
de #ndias +ere used to defend indi-enous territories a-ainst the voracity of lar-e lando+ners" .hese
t+o dimensions of the colonial e6perience remain part of indi-enous identity today" 1%(3
.he Bourbon reforms introduced in Spain in the ei-hteenth century) like most reforms -enerated in the
metropolis) +ere adopted selectively by colonial societies to enable local elites to respond to ne+
economic and political demands +hile preservin- the colonial order" After passin- throu-h the colonial
prism) the results +ere often the opposite of the reforms* ori-inal intent" .hus) +hat in Spain +ere
policies inspired by the humanism of the /nli-htenment became in the Americas ne+ and
5enli-htened5 +ays to deny the humanity of Aative Americans" <easures that in Spain led to the
moderni!ation of the state and the creation of a national laisse!4faire economy +ere unable in the
colonies to clear a+ay restrictions on commercial activity or control the compulsory sale of imported
-oods to commoners) a lucrative practice in the hands of local officials"
<uch has been +ritten about the %'98 #ndian rebellion led by $os@ >abriel .upaq Amaru and his
successorsF less is kno+n about the Chayanta and Sikasika revolts +hich occurred at the same time) the
latter led by $ulian Apasa .upaq :atari" 1%73 Bor more than half a century) colonial ta6 la+s had
provoked a -rounds+ell of protest amon- farmers) #ndian labourers) merchants and artisans) and even
lando+ners and parish priests" #n mid4%'98) an apparently spontaneous revolt broke out in <acha) in
the province of Chayanta) to free an #ndian cacique 1authority3) .omis :atari) ;ailed after a dispute +ith
local mesti!o authorities +ho had tried to usurp his position" .hen in Aovember %'98) $os? >abriel
.upaq Amaru led a +ell4or-ani!ed rebellion in .un-asuca) near Cu!co" $ulian Apasa .upaq :atari) an
#ndian commoner from Sullka+i 1Sikasika3) rose up and laid sei-e to La a! from <arch to October
%'9%) durin- +hich one fourth of the city*s population died" After the defeat in April %'9% of .upaq
Amaru in Cu!co) the rebellion shifted to A!in-aro) +here his relatives Andr?s and Cie-o Cristobal led
the stru--le" Andr?s successfully laid sie-e to Sorata in Au-ust of that year) but by Aovember he and
Cie-o Cristobal +ere forced to surrender to the Spanish authorities" .he rebellion +as crushed by the
be-innin- of %'92"
<ost scholars ascribe the rebellion*s failure to an inherent tension bet+een the 5national5 inte-rationist
tendency of .upaq Amaru and the ethnic separatist leanin-s of .upaq :atari) +hich led to a different
set of alliances +ith mesti!os and Creoles" 1%@3 But this Western conceptual frame+ork) +hich some
apply to today*s :atarista movement as +ell) falls short" Civerse and often conflictin- +orld4vie+s
+ere at +ork +ithin the rebel movement" .he leaders4most of them educated people) capable of
translatin- indi-enous concepts into Spanish terminolo-y4had a vision of politics that derived from the
colonial +orld" .heir use of +ords) paper and 5collective ne-otiation)5 and their belief that victory
besto+s ri-hts) marked a radical departure from the +ays of most native people" <ost #ndians vie+ed
politics +ithin a frame+ork of ritual and symbolic codes) based on the ancient capacity for tolerance
and unity amon- the diverse homolo-ous cultures and societies of the Andean +orld"
.he colonial notion of 5t+o republics)5 +hereby coloni!ers and coloni!ed could coe6ist) +as also an
element in the rebellion" But the Bourbonic reforms had eroded this idea to such a de-ree that
coe6istence amon- #ndians) cholos 1acculturated #ndians3) mesti!os and Creoles only seemed possible
throu-h the restoration of the +orld balance 1pacha3 by means of an upheaval 1kuti3 in +hich the
ancient soverei-ns +ould return to the peak of the se-mented social pyramid) an outcome that
Spaniards and Creoles) as +ell as the ma;ority of mesti!os and cholos) obviously +ould not tolerate"
.he rebel leadership called for a pachakuti) but +as also prepared to accept a minimum pro-ramme to
assure coe6istenceD respect for the la+ +ithin the 5t+o republic5 code"
Bor the farmers) labourers) and #ndian +omen +ho formed the rank and file of the rebellion) and +ho
e6perienced daily e6ploitation at the hands of the colonial rulers) coe6istence +ith the colonial +orld
meant continued abuse" Bor these -roups) only the e6pulsion of the invaders could restore equilibrium
to the indi-enous +orld" Borei-ners +ere a-ain vie+ed as iiakaq) kharisiri) lik*ichiri"1%'3 .hese t+o
poles4one seekin- coe6istence) the other e6pulsion4+ere present in all the re-ional factions of the
rebellion) and it continually oscillated bet+een them" .his may help e6plain some of its radical tactics"
.he restoration of the cosmic order 4 +hat a linear perception of time condemns as 5turnin- back the
clock of history5 4 is e6pressed by the Andean concept of nayrapachaD a past capable of redeemin- the
future) of turnin- the tables" #sn*t this the aspiration of indi-enous movements the +orld over +hich
continue to affirm their ancestral culture in the midst of modern societyJ
#n %'98) the pre4Columbian +orld +as not restored" .he defeat of the rebellion +as played out like a
reenactment of the Conquest) and it left a bitter le-acy" .he terror of the sie-e of La a!) in-rained in
the memory of the conquerors) became the foundation for future relations bet+een the Andean
countries 1+hich became independent a -eneration later3 and the dominated #ndian population" Set
a-ainst the /urope of the /nli-htenment) indi-enous culture +as portrayed as 5barbarian)5 5heretic)5
5sava-e54and more recently in liberal4<ar6ist thou-ht) as 5pre4capitalist"5 All these characteri!ations
presumed 5a pro-ression) a transformation) +hether from pa-anism to Christianity) or from barbarism
to civili!ation"5* 1%93
Iiolence also became in-rained in indi-enous memory" .he punishment for the leaders of the rebellion
+as particularly -rislyD they +ere quartered) decapitated or burned alive" ieces of their bodies +ere
scattered throu-hout the re-ion that had rebelledF their ashes +ere thro+n into the rivers 1like the ashes
of +ak*as ancestor shrines durin- the e6tirpation of idolatries3" #n these ceremonies) the Spaniards and
Creoles4as +ell as many mesti!os and acculturated #ndians) out of fear or by conviction4reaffirmed the
ri-ht of conquest as the foundation of their society" Bor the #ndians) this drove home vividly the
messa-e of their defeat) but only as one of the pendulous s+in-s of the cyclical movement of history"
.he quartered #ndian body +ould a-ain be made +hole) throu-h the pachakuti 4 the time of
/ven the most 5enli-htened5 Spaniards carried out these violent acts as a 5civili!in- mission)5 a holy
+ar a-ainst the infidels) or an e6orcism of the devil 4 and sometimes all three at once" One of the most
rabidly anti4#ndian pronouncements in the +ake of the defeat of Amaru and :atari in %'92 is attributed
to a prosperous resident of La a!D 5"""the #ndian needs a constant lash to keep him from la!iness) and
he should not acquire +ealth for this +ill only encoura-e his drunkenness and propensity to rebel"
Brom no+ on) L#ndiansM should pay double tribute to the Cro+n" .he :in- should abolish #ndian
communities and sell their lands to Spaniards) Lhe shouldM turn the #ndians over to the Holy Office of
the #nquisition) since they are more malicious than us) and burn the Leyes de #ndias"""5 1%&3
/6cept for the #nquisition4+hich +ould be replaced by more enli-htened +ays of coloni!in- native
souls) such as schools and barracks4these recommendations +ere scrupulously applied in the rebellious
territories by the Creole elite that took over the reins of -overnment follo+in- independence bet+een
%9%8 and %927" .he ne+ Andean republics emer-ed branded by their conflictive history) +hich ratified
the irreconcilable division into t+o +orlds) but +ithout the le-al safe-uards of the colonial 5pact"5 1283
.he Leyes de #ndias +ere replaced by the massacre of #ndians 1and of +orkers3 as the principal +ay in
+hich the Creole and mesti!o elite practised 5politics5 +henever that elite +as obli-ed to emer-e from
its -ilded halls to normali!e its relations +ith the dominated #ndian and cholo +orld" Slau-hter +as and
continues to be employed preventively) rather than punitively) to ensure 5stability"* 12%3
Another structural le-acy of the %'984%'92 rebellion and repression +as the notion that reforms too
+ere to be undertaken only as preventive measures) to calm the real or ima-ined fury of the underclass"
.he t+o ma;or efforts at liberal reform4in %9'( and follo+in- the %&72 revolution4invariably turned
into +ays to obscure and preserve the old colonial structures) due to the insecurity and double morality
of the reformers"
=nder the 5citi!enship5 -ranted to #ndians in the %9'( liberal le-islation) 5equality before the la+5
applied only to individuals" .he la+ denied protection to indi-enous communities) +hose only 5ri-ht5
+as the ri-ht to sell their lands" .he %&70 a-rarian reform broadened the meanin- of individual to mean
property4o+ner) by parcellin- out lar-e holdin-s and communal lands to peasant families" #n both
frame+orks) indi-enous culture +as considered an obstacle to social pro-ress" #ndians +ould -ain
human ri-hts only after they had -iven up their culture and assumed a Western identity as educated)
mesti!o producers) property4o+ners and consumers" /6tremes of violence a-ainst the 5pre4Western5
#ndian +orld could thus be tolerated" 1223
By %&'() +hen the modern :atarista movement emer-ed) nearly t+o centuries had passed since the
Amaru4:atari rebellion" <ore than t+o decades had -one by since the populist and nationalist
revolution of %&72" #n the interim) indi-enous movements tended to oscillate bet+een t+o +idely
disparate -oals) successively or simultaneously e6pressed in le-al stru--le and armed stru--leD either
Bolivian society must accept #ndian autonomy and return to the colonial pact of the 5t+o republics5F or
the Creole elites must live up to the universal humanist spirit of the liberal reforms) -rantin- full and
equal ri-hts to all citi!ens) +ithout racial) ethnic or reli-ious discrimination"
.he :ataristas faced a similar situation durin- their decade at the head of the national peasant
federation 1CS=.CB3" By acceptin- the union as the main forum for peasant or-ani!in-) they had to
confront the unpleasant le-acy of -overnment tutela-e and) more broadly) that of the entire citi!en
model" .hey also had to deny) in practice) the cultural and or-ani!ational pluralism of e6istin- native
societies" /ven +ith :ataristas at the head) the CS=.CB became increasin-ly isolated from #ndian
or-ani!ations in the Ama!on and the re-ional ethnic authorities in northern otosi) +estern Oruro) and
even the hi-hlands and valleys around La a! and Chuquisaca" #n these re-ions the union*s presence
+as some+hat artificial) limited by the 5civili!in-5 and clientelistic practices that +ere inherited from
post4revolutionary mesti!o unionism" 1203
<uch of the blame for this isolation can be attributed to pressure from the Left) +hich +ielded -reat
influence +ithin the unions" :atarista initiatives to restructure the CS=.CB takin- ethnic diversity into
account +ere continually blocked" .he Left apparently found it difficult to accept policies formulated
by #ndians) and moreover) feared that reco-ni!in- traditional ethnic authorities +ould reduce the Left*s
capacity to influence the political activity of the movement" Iie+in- themselves as the only ones
capable of 5politics)5 and unable to tolerate #ndians* aspiration to lead themselves) leftists consistently
sou-ht to manipulate or divide the peasant federation"
.he conflict bet+een the Left and the :ataristas came to a head bet+een %&97 and %&99) in the midst of
the -overnment*s free4market5shock treatment)5 +hich broke the back of the labor movement and
decimated the rural economy" LSee AACLA*s Report on the Americas) Iol" NNI) Ao" %"M .he
combination of internal strife and the -overnment*s offensive decimated the CS=.CB" .he :ataristas
lost influence) +hile the ethnic consciousness they championed became little more than a banner
anyone could han-"
#n fact) the Left itself came to adopt a pro4#ndian discourse as a +ay to deal +ith its o+n crisis" >rafted
on to the traditional liberalKrevolutionary lan-ua-e of <ar6ism and the populist herita-e of the Bolivian
revolution) the Left*s ne+ indi-enismo still e6cludes #ndians" /lite leftist politicians continue to believe
they are the proper o+ners of the political arena" Some even envision themselves at the top of a pluri4
national) pluri4ethnic future state) analo-ous to the position occupied by the :in- of Spain in the
ei-hteenth Century" 12(3
.oday) as in the past) indi-enous movements demand a radical restructurin- of society" #ndian
autonomy 1territorial) social) cultural) lin-uistic and political3 is the startin- point for buildin- a ne+
e-alitarian) multi4ethnic nation" .hese ideas +ere present in the stru--les of <anqu #nka in %70@ and
both Amaru and :atari in %'98" But) as in the past) indi-enous stru--les today clash head on +ith
tenacious colonial structures that condemn indians to a fate of punishment and mutilation"
History teaches us that this dialectic -ives rise to separatist sentiment" #f co4e6istence is impossible) it is
only lo-ical that indi-enous -roups acquire an identity based on e6clusion) and adopt a radical posture
callin- for the e6pulsion of the invaders and the recuperation of soverei-nty lost in %702" At the other
end of the spectrum) the question of citi!enship and participation in 5Bolivian5 society is a point of
much debate" .he evident crisis in the paradi-ms of 5pro-ress5 and 5development5 has opened up the
discussion of the potential of an #ndian vision for the future"
What sort of social and political or-ani!ation +ould make an e-alitarian multi4ethnic society possibleJ
What sort of state could -ive institutional e6pression to such a society) and ensure equality and mutual
respectJ .he notion of a multi4ethnic state raises a question as old as the #ncaD #n a comple6) multi4
ethnic 5nation5 composed of diverse societies) +ho should constitute the umbrella authority that +ould
link its many se-mentsJ #n Bolivia) +here #ndians make up @8H of the population) and +here the
ma;ority of cholos and mesti!os suffer similar effects of alienation) these issues touch the lives of
millions" .he fact that they can be freely debated is a hopeful si-n that the future of Bolivia is still
#n October %&&8) 988 #ndians from the Ama!on 4 <o6efios) Euracar?s) Chimanes and >uaranfes 4
+alked 008 miles from the northern Ama!onian city of .rinidad to La a!) in a month4lon- 5<arch for
Land and Ci-nity"5 When the marchers reached the mountain pass that separates the hi-hlands from the
Ama!onian plains) thousands of Aymaras) ,uechuas) and =rus from all over Bolivia) to-ether +ith
many non4#ndians from the capital) turned out spontaneously to +elcome our brothers and sisters" .he
march turned into a multi4ethnic festival that coat4and4tie Bolivia could not quell" At that moment) the
clear calm sky suddenly clouded over and unleashed a do+npour" .he thunder and rain lasted only a
fe+ minutes) then the sun a-ain shone" 1Be+ failed to note that the very same thin- had occurred
durin- the e6ecutions of both .upaq Amaru # and .upaq Amaru ##" 1273
Brom the depths of time and space) the fusion of the fra-mented #ndian body suddenly seemed possible
4 like a pachakuti)the cosmic rupture that strikes like li-htnin- in the clear blue sky of linear history"
But the blindness of the official nation 4 for +hich reform means simply the ;ockeyin- for po+er
amon- political parties 4 raises a darker spectre" erhaps the time of +ar is not far off" achakuti means
both catastrophe and renovation" Which of the t+o +ill prevail is a question still unans+ered"
%" Carlos <amani Condori)5Historia y prehistoriaD Conde nos encontramos los indiosJ)5 in resencia
Cominical 1La a!3) <arch %&9'"
2" .he -overnment reported %0 dead) %8 in;ured and 2% imprisoned" .he $ustice and eace
Commission) ho+ever) recorded at least 98 dead and missin-) and even more +ounded and imprisoned)
men) +omen and children" Comision de $usticia y a!) La masacre del valle) 1La a!D Cuadernos
$usticia y a! Ao" 2) %&'73" See also) Silvia Rivera 5Oppressed but not Cefeated5D
easant Stru--les amon- the Aymara and ,hech+a in Bolivia) %&884%&98 1>enevaD =nited Aations
Research #nstitute for Social Cevelopment) %&9'3) p"%2%"
0" See) for e6ample) Brooke Larson) Colonialism and A-rarian transformation in BoliviaD Cochabamba
%7784%&88 1rincetonD rinceton =niversity ress) %&993 and >ustavo Rodri-ue! and Humberto
Solares) Sociedad oli-arquica) chicha y cultura popular 1CochabambaD /ditorial Serrano) %&&83" See
also Silvia Rivera) 5Oppressed But Aot Cefeated5
(" Of Bolivia*s seven million people) at least %"7 million are Aymara and 2"7 million are ,uechua 4 a
clear #ndian ma;ority" Aymara is spoken by (9H of the residents of La a!"
7" .herese Bouysse Cassa-ne) La identidad aymaraD Apro6imacion historica" Si-los NI4NI# 1La a!D
#nstituto de Historia Social Boliviana) %&9'3) pp" %8%4%29"
@" Some call this 5dual and se-mentary or-ani!ation"5 See :arl .roll) 5Las culturas superiores andinas
y el medio -eo-rifico)5Allpanchis)no" %7 1%&983F $ohn <aurra) Bormaciones economicas y politicas del
mundo andino 1LimaD lnstituto de /studios eruanos) %&'73) and 5Andean Societies)5Annual Revie+ of
Anthropolo-y) no" %0 1%&9(3" See also .ristan latt) 5Symmetries en miroirD le concept de yanantin
che! les <acha de Bolivie)5 Annales /"S"C" Ao" 00
'" See $" S!emenski) La utopia tupamarista 1LimaD ontifica =niversidad Catolica del eru) %&903F
Bouysse) La identidad aymara) p"08() +ho vie+s the #nca as 5coloni!ers5 vis4a4vis the Aymara) ;ust as
the Aymara 5coloni!ed5 the =ru"
9" acha is 5time4space)5 and kuti is 5turn5 or 5revolution"5 As +ith many Andean concepts) pachakuti
can take on different shades of meanin-) in this case either 5catastrophe5 or 5renovation"5
&" Aathan Wachtel) Los vencidosD Los indios del eru frente a la conquista espaOola) %7084%7'8
1<adridD Alian!a =niversidad) %&'@3) pp" %(84%(%" .he destruction of the indi-enous +orld is
eloquently described by #ncan chronicler Belipe >uaman oma de Ayala 1Waman uma3 in /l primer
nueva cronica y buen -obierno) trans" and ed" by $ohn I" <urra) Rolena Adomo and $or-e L" =rioste
1<e6icoD Si-lo NN#) %&983"
%8" Aathan Wachtel) Los vencidos) pp" 2@&42&%F and S!eminski) La utopia tupamarista) pp" %274%2@"
S!eminski maintains the pachakuti corresponded to 5sometime bet+een the outbreak of the civil +ar
bet+een Ata+ Wallpa #nkas and Waskhar #nka and the beheadin- of .hupa Amaro #nka in %7'2"5 He
notes) moreover) that the Spanish Iiceroy .oledo 5+as called acha4:uti by the #ndians"5
%%" .his phrase is taken from Bernando <ires) La coloni!acion de las almasD <ision y conquista en
hispanoamerica 1San $oseD Cepartamento /ucumenico de #nvesti-aciones) %&9'3" #n a broad sense) the
term can be used to describe not only reli-ious coloni!ation) but many other mechanisms 1such as
education) or the notion of 5civili!ation53 used by the dominant elites to undermine #ndian identity and
impose a Western +orld4vie+"
%2" See Brank Salomon) 5Ancestor Cults and Resistance to the State in Arequipa) ca" %'(94%'7()5 in
Steve Stem 1ed"3 Resistance) Rebellion and Consciousness in the Andean easant World) %9th to 28th
Centuries 1<adisonD .he =niversity of Wisconsin ress) %&9'3F see also .eodoro Hampe <artine!)
5Continuidad en el mundo andinoD los indi-enas del eri frente a la le-islacion colonial 1s" NI#3)5
America #ndi-ena) Iol" (7) no" 2 1%&973"
%0" .hese are Aymara terms" Aayra means ancient) in the past) but also eye) or vision" Ch*ullpa means
pre4historic or pre4#nca" See Silvia Rivera) 5/l mallku y la sociedad colonial en el si-lo NI##)5
Avances) no" # 1%&'93" .he role of these settlement and sale a-reements in t+entieth4century #ndian
resistance has also been addressed in .aller de Historia Oral Andina) /l indio Santos <arka .*ula)
cacique principal de los ayllus de ,allapay apoderado -eneral de las comunidades ori-inarias la
republica 1La a!D /diciones del .aller de de Historia Oral Andina) %&993F and Rivera et al") 5edimos
la revision de limitesD un episodio de incomunicacion de castas en %&%94%&2%)5 paper presented at the
Simposio sobre reproduccion y transformacion de las sociedades andinas 1,uitoD Social Science
Research Council) $uly %&9@3"
%(" Brom the ablo Parate Willka rebellion of %9&& to the revolt of the caciques in %&%(4%&02) that
vision +ould muster violent opposition to the assimilative Liberal reforms +hich the Creole elite
implemented in %9'(" See Ramiro Condarco) Parare) el 5temible5 WillkaD Historia de la rebellion
indi-ena de %9&& 1La a!D .alleres >r@ficos Bolivianos) %&923F .ristan latt) /stado boliviano y ayllu
andino 1LimaD #nstituto de /studios eruanos) %&923F and Carlos <amani) .araqu %9@@4%&07D<asacre)
>uerray 5Renovacion5 en la bio-rafia de /duardo L" Aina ,hispi 1La a!D Aru+iyiri) %&&%3"
%7" See especially Alberto Blores >alindo) .upac Amaru %%)%'98 1LimaD Retablo de apel) %&'@3" .he
+ork of olish historian $an S!eminski is one of the best efforts at reconstructin- the perspective of the
rebels" See also Stem 1ed"3) Resistance) Rebellion and ConsciousnessF Scarlett O*helan) =n si-lo de
rebeliones anticoloniales" eru y Bolivia %'884%'90 1Cu!coD Centro Bartolome de las Casas) %&993"
%@" See) for e6ample) Leon Campbell) 5#deolo-y and Bactionalism Curin- the >reat Rebellion) %'984
%'92)5 in Stern 1ed"3) ibidF and Luis Curand Blore!) #ndependencia e inte-racian en el plan politico de
.upac Amaru 1LimaD "L" Iillanueva) %&'03"
%'" .his idea is evident in many Aymara myths) +hich describe the reconciliation of the irreconcilable"
See $an S!eminski) 5Why :ill the SpaniardJ Ae+ erspectives on Andean #nsurrectionary #deolo-y in
the %9th Century)5 in Stem 1ed"3) Resistance) Rebellion) and Consciousness"
%9" S!eminski) La utopia tuparamarista) p" 98" .his vie+ is shared by many <ar6ists) +hich helps
e6plain the rift bet+een leftist or-ani!ations and indi-enous movements"
%&" ,uoted in ibid) p" (%"
28" #ncluded in this le-acy are the mesti!os and cholos) +hose ambi-uous position as
coloni!ersKcoloni!ed formed a conflictive bond bet+een the t+o se-re-ated +orlds) creatin- ne+
alliances for each"
2%" Similarities to the practice and ideolo-y of5lo+4intensity +arfare5 are more than coincidental" With
respect to the theme of massacre) emer-in- Aymara historio-raphy has made important contributions"
See Carlos <amani) 5Historia y prehistoria)5 and Roberto Choque) Sublevacion y masacre de $estids de
<achaqa 1La a!D Chitakolla) %&9@3"
22" Cemands re-ardin- education sho+ed this ambi-uity" See) for e6ample) Carlos <amani) ibidF
.aller de Historia Oral Andina) La escuela indi-enaD Coloni!acion o cuidadaniaJ 1La a!D Aru+iyiri)
%&&%3F and Silvia Rivera et al" Cuidadania soberaniaJ Cuatro ensayos sobre el colonialismo interno de
Bolivia 1La a!D Aru+iyiri) forthcomin-3"
20" Bor more details) see Silvia Rivera) 5Liberal Cemocracy and Ayllu Cemocracy in BoliviaD .he Case
of Aorthern otosi)5 $ournal of Cevelopment Studies) Iol" 2@) no" ( 1%&&83F $uan Beli6 Arias)
5<ilenarismo y resistencia anticolonialD el movimiento de Apoderados4/spirituales en la re-ion de
#cla4.arvita 1%&0@4%&@(3)5 unpublished mss"
2(" See) for e6ample) <ovimiento Bolivia Libre) Repensar el pais 1La a!D s"p"i") %&9'3 or Navier Albo)
ar una Bolivia diferente" Aportes para un proyecto histarico popular 1La a!D Centro de #nvesti-aci@n
y romocion Campesina) %&&%3
27" See S!eminski) La utopia) p" %9%) and Wachtel) Los vencidos) p" 2&8"