[Marxism] Bolivia's Morales joins opening meet of popular socialistgroup in Peru

Juan Fajardo 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, 
agricultural economy.

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 
anti-imperialist rhetoric.

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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