[L-I] (Fwd) [PEN-L:2795] Villarroel (was Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Milosev

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at SPAMarnet.com.ar
Sat Oct 7 20:37:25 MDT 2000

From:                   "Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky" <Gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar>
To:                     pen-l at galaxy.csuchico.edu
Date sent:              Sat, 7 Oct 2000 22:06:40 -0300
Subject:                [PEN-L:2795] Villarroel (was Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Milosevic
Priority:               normal
Send reply to:          pen-l at galaxy.csuchico.edu

En relación a [PEN-L:2787] Re: Re: Re: Re: Milosevic out?,
el 7 Oct 00, a las 10:49, Jim Devine dijo:

> Néstor ripostes:
> >The same could be said of the mob who gathered at the Murillo
> >Square of La Paz, in Bolivia, in 1943, and hang President Gualberto
> >Villaroel, whose only crime had been to behave gallantly during the
> >Chaco War, express his intention to put an end to Indian servitude,
> >and explain that Bolivia needed to gain control of its own
> >resources. Shame on them, the Bolivian "Left" was among the most
> >rabid (in any sense you like) leaders of this "revolution". But the
> >Bolivian people was forced to sit and silently watch the  events at
> >the Capital City. Some observed from the pits of the tin mines,
> >others from the vast fields of the large estates, still others from
> >the patch of land that they did not own. They were not happy, not
> >at all.
> I don't know enough about Bolivian history to comment. I would guess
> (note the verb) that Gualberto Villaroel was more complex than that.

Oh, he certainly was. Bolivia sums up, in its own tragedy, all of the
tragedies of Latin America. Nothing was spared to the land that
irrigated the growth of European capitalism with the mines of silver
of Potosí.  By the 30s, the petty bourgeoisie of the enclosed
examined each promise and each Messiah in a state of perplexity.
Bolivia had already been the scenario of a "democratic" movement of
the University students in 1928, when the University Students
that met in Cochabamba launched a full scale political campaign
against President Siles, the President who had attempted to destroy
the political machine of the old "liberal" oligarchy.

The torchbearer of this University Autonomy movement that had so soon
attuned itself with the pro-oligarchic ruling classes was Daniel
Sánchez Bustamante, the ultimate expression of the "democratic"
student. This Daniel Sánchez Bustamante was at the same time a
of the Young and lawyer of the British owned Bolivian Railway!

[An aside for those who want to understand Latin America a little
better: the Sánchez Bustamante family, by the way, is a very
archetypical oligarchic family in Bolivia and the Argentinian
Northwest. Here, where they prefer to be known as the Sánchez _de_
Bustamante (more elegant, indeed!) they were consistently at the side
of imperialists and foreign merchants, against our own national
interest. Gral. Sánchez de Bustamante, the last member of the family
that achieved some renown, was one of the hard-liners with the
Dictator Alejandro Lanusse, during the period of the great upheavals
in our Inland country cities. He was also a best partner to American
corporations and to the arch-antiArgentinian José Alfredo Martínez de

Late in the 30s, Colonel Germán Busch began a dictatorial regime
first action was a decree ordering the great miners to return to
Bolivia the dollars obtained by international sales of Bolivian ore.
He was forced into suicide, left in the most abyssal loneliness, by
the pressure of the Bolivian "rosca".  On this death, the military
civilian youth built up the Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario.

Bolivia, had been the economic core of Hispanic South America and one
of its cultural jewels, the place where the generation of
revolutionaries of the Southern Cone Independence war had learnt of
Rousseau and of Voltaire, the imposing scenario where, in 1811,
Berutti had climbed the sacred monuments of Tahuantisuyu to declare
the Indians free from servitude (he was later persecuted and taken to
a court of local judges, who found him guilty of high treason in a
trial where he was not allowed to have a defendant and he could not
speak, already muted by a deadly tongue cancer...). In 1943, it had
been brought down to the condition of a tin exporting overseas
station, ravaged by three vulture-like mine owners: Simón Patiño,
Mauricio Hochschild, and Carlos Víctor Aramayo.  The three were, of
course, in narrow relation with the international monopolies of
mineral production and trade.

The squalid State of Bolivia lived on the produce of the work of
thousand miners, secluded in the high mountains and at the mercy of
the worst forms of human exploitation.  Three millions of Quechua and
Aymara speaking peasant indians had no contact with monetary economy.
Subjected to the institution of "pongaje", that is of free labor due
to the landowner, they were prisoners of production for
self-consumption, victimized by the _gamonales_, and fed on coca
leaves. And these same indians had followed Túpac Amaru in the great
rebellion of the late 18th. Century! Echoes of that rebellion were
still resounding all over Bolivia, but they were just that: echoes.

There was a tiny class of apathic landowners and doctors in law with
fast tongue, that ruled on domestic politics, narrowly associated
a handful of useless generals, whose bravest deeds of arms (in the
land of Juana Azurduy de Padilla!) were with bottles and bribes. All
of them bowed to the power that was known in Bolivia as the miners'
"Superstate".  Landowners, mineowners, and the importing _comprador_
bourgeoisie constituted what was known as the "Rosca", a direct
inheritor of the high classes that, from the times of the Spanish
conquest, asphixiated the popular masses in the Highland.  The State
was so weak that tax collection was leased on grant (by the way, this
is beginning to happen in Argentina today).  Race was consigned in
personal documentation, and the managers of the Patiño Mines decided
who was to be the next President.

The impoverished petty bourgeois of Bolivia, people with the most
illustrious names in the country's history, scions of Presidents,
Generals, writers, representatives and University teachers, were
literally hungry, and in rage. The last drop that filled the coup was
the Chaco war, a war that was fought by Bolivians and Paraguayans on
behalf of the great oil companies (Bolivians fought for Standard Oil,
Paraguayans for Royal Dutch Shell, thus defining the conflict between
England and the United States in South America). The young military
officers who survived the carnage had seen the venality and graft of
the leading classes in the face. It had no secret for them.

Nationalists and military sealed an alliance when, on december 20,
1943, they gave a coup.  Of course, since they gave the coup in the
midst of an interimperialist war, and their coup was directed against
the interests of mining companies property of the "democratic" side,
they were immediately labeled "nazis".  And Bolivian Leftists were
among the most brave fighters against this "nazism".

Gualberto Villarroel was the leader of the "nazi" petty bourgeoisie
that had taken power. He immediately commited two crimes: he
organized, for the first time in the history of the country, a
Federation of Mine Workers, and he convened, for the first time since
the times of another Bolivian popular leader, President Andrés Belzu
(that is the 1840s...), a congress of Indian peasants. Villarroel
showed that the new government was to roll on the correct tracks, and
then it was the time for the Rosca and the imperialist media (in
times, the Press) to force him into nothingness.

Villarroel did not dare to nationalize the mines, nor did he give the
land to the peasants. Thus, he found himself devoid of social allies,
American imperialism and the meaningless oligarchic parties could
easily drag behind them the petty bourgeoisie of La Paz, always
subject to ideological terrorism of the great liberal lawyers. A
conspiration exploded in july 21, 1946. Villarroel was overthrown, he
was hung from a street lamp at Murillo Square, and the mineowners
returned to the Palacio Quemado (the House of Government).

The jeeps of the American Embassy took part of the "revolution", as
well as the "liberals", and the university students who were in
of new "Teachers of the Young".  The PIR (Bolivian Stalinists) and
POR (Bolivian Trotskyists, of the brand that betrayed Trotsky that
had so many children afterwards) joined hands with the parties of the
center and of the right against this Fascist dictator. Worse yet,
Pablo Neruda (by those times absolutely sold out to Stalinism) phoned
to José Antonio Arze, the chief of the PIR, to congratulate him.  In
the meantime, Mauricio Hochschild simply stated: "I had forecast that
Villarroel would be overthrown soon".

The results of the july 21st. "revolution" were immediately applauded
by the American "free press" and its Latin American echoes. Shame on
Russia, the Leningrad Navy and the cannons at Moscow made 101 cannon
salvos in honor of the revolution.  The Argentinian Communist Party,
the most pathetic of the slaves to "orders from Moscow" that ever
existed in the world, cabled its own congratulations, signed by the
blood stained hand of the torturer of Spanish revolutionaries
Codovilla, to the new regime. The Peruvian APRA leader, Manuel
declared joyfully that this had been one of the most brilliant pages
of civic heroism that Latin America had ever witnessed.

Simón Patiño must have smiled when he signed the cheque for 20,000
dollars that he sent to the "martyrs of freedom".  Everything was in
order again.

On Bolívar, we can talk later.

The above was extracted and translated, with some additions,
fromJorge Abelardo Ramos: _Historia de la Nación Latinoamericana_. A.
Peña Lillo,  Buenos Aires, 1968.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar

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