[Marxism] Bolivia's Morales joins opening meet of popular socialistgroup in Peru
fajardos at ix.netcom.com
Mon Apr 11 19:58:41 MDT 2005
"Fred Feldman" wrote:
> Peru imports Bolivian brand of socialism
> By Hal Weitzman
> Published: April 8 2005 03:00
> Although Peru has a bigger indigenous population than its neighbours
> Bolivia and Ecuador - and an indigenous president - it has traditionally
> been largely unrepresented, politically invisible and less mobilised.
> But the structural marginalisation of Peru's indigenous population is
> increasingly erupting in flashpoints of discontent. In January in
> Andahuaylas, 500km south-east of Lima, a group of disaffected former
> servicemen stormed a police station, killing four officers.
Here is where US and South American --perhaps, more specifically,
Peruvian-- notions of race and ethnicity diverge. Let me just offer a
few points to ponder;
In the US people tend to see ethnicity and "race" as going hand-in-hand,
even conflating the two to the point of near synonymity. In Peru, at
least, ethnicty and "race" are not necessarily tied together the way
they are here. And, nowhere is this more evident than in discussions of
To be an "Indigenous person" (Indigena) or "Indian" (Indio), in Peru
has meant living as an Indian; following traditional patterns of
reciprocity (e.g., "ayni", "mita", etc.) extended family relations
(e.g., "ayllu" relationships), and according to an indigenous,
Moving to the city has historically meant leaving that life behind, and
thus becoming "non-Indian."
This cultural component has led to phenomena that North Americans, with
their focus on physiological factors, tend to have a hard time wrapping
their minds around: light-complected and blue-eyed Indians (e.g., in
the northern sierra, in the highlands of Ayacucho, etc.), and
dark-complected, genetically-native non-Indians.
The Peruvian indian population has been very politically active for
decades, but it has not mobilized along ethnic lines but class lines
--as peasants. The defense of peasant economics and communities has
also been the defense of an Indian way of life and Indian communities.
In Peru, especially in the highlands, peasant (campesino) and Indian
have been nearly synonyms.
Of course, those dark-skinned individuals who no longer live or identify
as Indians do suffer discrimination because of their "Indian blood",
that is undeniable by any thinking person.
Thus, while Toledo, who is dark-skinned and has "Indian" features, is
appreciated for being son of the people (if for little else), that is a
far cry from his being considered an "Indian."
Likewise, the movement led by the Humala brothers, one of whom led the
assault on the Andahuaylas police station, the "Ethno-Cacerist Movement"
is not regarded as an Indian movement by almost any sector. They are
recognized as roughly indigenist, but are also recognized as being moved
by large dose of Chilenophobia couched in nationalistic and
The movement is basically a vehicle for the Humala brothers, especially
the older of the pair, Ollanta, to catapult themselves into political
prominence. They toy with Inca symbolism and indigenist language, but
what they emulate and named the "movement" after is the guerrilla army
led by a white, aristocratic officer, Andres Avelino Caceres during the
War of the Pacific (against Chile) and in the civil war that followed
--an army, BTW, that was, ironically, made up largely by the Morocuchos,
an indian ethnic group famed for being expert horsemen, fiercely
independent, and light-skinned and blue-eyed.
- Juan Fajardo
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