The Bolivian Federal War: The Legacy of a Broken Alliance

Jailed Aymara soldiers.

Jailed Aymara soldiers.

In the course of history, alliances can dissolve into betrayal, injustice and violence. This is the case that NYU PhD. in Latin American and current Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University, Forrest Hylton detailed in his presentation “They Should Rule and Take Over Everything”: The Mohoza Insurgency, “Race War,” and State Formation in Bolivia’s Federal War, 1899-1905. In his presentation, Mr. Hylton informed CLACS guests, students and faculty of the unique alliance between Zarate Willka, Aymara leader of a pan-regional confederation and the the Liberal insurgency led by José Manuel Pando in late 19th Century Bolivia. This alliance was based on an agreement between the two groups. The Aymara confederation would join the Liberals with the understanding that once in power, they would restore communal Aymara lands seized by the Conservative leadership and a allow indigenous groups to practice self governance.

The alliance dissolved following the events of the Mohoza Insurgency. Here Mr. Hylton presented highly sensationalized and racialized archival news accounts of an event where a group of indigenous insurgents came into conflict and killed what was reported as 100 Conservative and white townspeople of Mohoza. The Mohoza “massacre” and subsequent trial enraptured the Bolivian press and populace and helped to reinforce stereotypical conceptions of Aymara barbarity. The trial resulted in the sentencing of nearly all the indigenous participants of Mohoza, although a large amount had already died in prison. The vicious language employed by both the Defense and Prosecution to describe the Aymara people provided the pretext that the now President Pando and the Liberals needed to directly expropriate Aymara lands; a complete reversion of their initial agreements.

Mr. Hylton posits that the Bolivian Federal War can reveal some of the many ways that racism was reified through the transition to liberal forms of federalism. The effects of this transition continue to be lived in the political, economic and discursive fields by millions of indigenous Bolivians today. Despite the many negative outcomes the Bolivian Federal War and the Aymara insurgency, Mr. Hylton notes that the legacy of Zarate Willka and the Aymara pan-regional confederation can be found in the the most promising elements of the pluri-national Bolivian Constitution of 2009. With this new constitution, the alliances between indigenous Bolivians and state actors now have the potential to live up to the promise that started with the Bolivian Federal War.

Forrest Hylton Bio here.

Find out about more CLACS events here.

Raúl Miranda and MINIMALE


Raúl Miranda works at the intersection of live performance, interpretations of memory and the visual and audio visual. In a panel discussion, “MINIMALE: de la apropiación visual a la minificción documental,” held on Thursday, October 23rd on behalf of NYU’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics between Mr. Miranda, Managing Director of the Institute, Marcial Godoy-Anativia and architect and NYU Performance Studies PhD. Rodrigo Tisi Paredes, Mr. Miranda presented the theoretical basis for his work along with examples of his digital shorts.

Mr. Miranda described the theoretical underpinnings of his work and focused on his most recent piece, (A) PROPOSITO. Originally shown in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Chile, these 12 short films adapt the poetry, short stories essays and plays of the 1920’s and 30’s to comment on personal conceptions of sadness. Miranda uses the films to construct a visual space for these literary works. This representation is put into greater context through the physical placement of the screenings as part of the installation.

Another focus of Miranda’s was his recent work on the life of Enrique Riveros, La Sangre de Un Actor… Enrique Riveros. Riveros was a Chilean actor who became a star throughout Europe during the 1920’s and 30’s appearing in over 15 movies with some of Europe’s most famous directors of the day. Riveros was the lead in Jean Cocteau’s first film The Blood of the Poet, thought of as one of the heights of surrealist film. Riveros returned to Chile prior to the start of World War II to raise his family prior to meeting an untimely death in 1954 at the age of 48.

Miranda’s work, La Sangre de Un Actor…Enrique Riveros, is a documentary that attempts to revive the legacy of Riveros in Chilean by delving deeper into his life, films and through interviews with his living descendants.

Find out more about Raúl Miranda and his Minimale project here.

Find out more about CLACS events on our website

Raphael Folsom ’00 Publishes Book

Folsom jac rev sixed.indd

Raphael Folsom received his MA from CLACS in 2000, and recently authored The Yaquis and the Empire: Violence, Spanish Imperial Power, and Native Resilience in Colonial Mexico, published by Yale University Press.

His groundbreaking new study examines the history of the Yaqui people and their interactions with the Spanish Empire. In his book, Folsom examines three ironies of this relationship: how the Yaquis both resisted yet eventually came to value their link to the empire; that the processes of violence and negotiation were ongoing and intertwined throughout the colonial period; and how the empire, though weak in manpower and distant from its military bases, was surprisingly effective in its aim to transform the Mexican northwest. Folsom relies on extensive and newly unearthed documents from archives in Mexico, Spain, the United States, and Italy, and illuminates the dreams, struggles, and tragedies of all participants in the drama of this encounter.

CLACS sincerely congratulates Raphael on his impressive achievement.

An Alternative Narrative of Development

Photo by Jose Raul Guzman

Photo by José Raúl Guzmán

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Bolivian President Evo Morales called for a more inclusive “people-centric” global development agenda that included acquiring control of natural resources for the benefit of all. The day before, CLACS students and guests heard a very different story about the Morales government’s inclusion of indigenous groups in Bolivia’s economic development from 5 indigenous Bolivian women and one ally as part of the “Dialogue on Indigenous Rights: The Issues of Autonomy and Consultation in the Plurinational State of Bolivia” event held in the King Juan Carlos Center.

Organized by CLACS professor Pamela Calla, the women, Nilda Rojas Huanka, Toribia Lero Quispe, Clara Victoria Ramos Aillón, Judith Rivero, Wilma Mendoza, and Sarela Paz, representing indigenous groups from across Bolivia, came to CLACS prior to their attendance at the United Nations Indigenous Peoples World Conference. Each woman spoke on a different element of indigenous relationships with the Morales government and economic development including the lack of environmental protections, the preeminence of laws that protect the mining industry over constitutional safeguards for indigenous rights, and the political co-option and subversion of the alliance between CIDOB and CONAMAQ—the two largest confederations of indigenous governing bodies in Bolivia.

Each of these moving testimonials revealed the challenges that remain for indigenous groups in Bolivia. In a country that adopted a new constitution in 2009 and declared itself “plurinational” in order to promote increased autonomy for its indigenous groups, the women told how these rights have been rolled back or overridden in the following years. The question remained whether the plurinational government of Bolivia could be inclusive while developing the country’s economy and resources.

One of the persistent threads in each presentation was the need to have indigenous voices heard in the Bolivian legislature and public and, where that is not possible, to raise consciousness on an international scale. Through our academic work and community events, NYU’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies seeks to give a platform for voices that would otherwise go unheard.

Photo by Jose Raul Guzman

Photo by José Raúl Guzmán

Find out more about the work going on at CLACS and our events here.

Posted by CLACS-MA student Patrick Moreno-Covington.

The Bolivian Salteña

Bolivian Salteñas

Photo Credit: Ross Lewin

When I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in Food Studies, I started a food and travel blog that highlighted some of my most memorable exploits in the Americas. One of these particular experiences happened during my very first trip outside the United States, in the country of Bolivia, when I was 19 years old. In Bolivia, the locals eat salteñas for a morning snack — a very different breakfast to my typical eggs and pancakes — so I was delighted to come across a food stand selling these savory pastries my first morning in La Paz. I took one into my hands and, disregarding any thought of etiquette or sophistication, I munched into that salteña like I hadn’t eaten for years; hot juice running down my chin, bits of flaky crust sticking to the edges of my mouth; I didn’t care. It was one of those foods that wasn’t just delicious; it was mind-numbingly good. I quickly whipped around, turning to the man who sold me that heavenly treat. “¡Delicioso, señor!” I exclaimed, my mouth absolutely stuffed to the brim, cheeks bulging. The man, surprised, looked slowly over my messy, food-stained face and started to laugh. It was obvious I had never eaten a salteña before and he decided to help me, showing me the proper way by holding one upright, nibbling at the top corner and eating downwards without spilling a single drop of juice. After thanking him profusely, he gave me a wink and a knowing smile. “Bienvenidos a Bolivia, amiga,” he answered. That connection — a brief, fleeting moment of a local man welcoming me into his country — resonated deeply within me. It was the first time I realized that food had the power to connect people, regardless of what country they were from or which language they spoke.

That salteña was the first thing I ever ate in Bolivia, or in any country outside the U.S., for that matter. I consider the salteña, and the memory that it invokes, the beginning of a fiery passion for food, culture, and travel that has stayed with me ever since that first trip to Bolivia. I don’t know if I would be where I am today, an aspiring culinary anthropologist, had I not discovered food’s remarkable ability to bring people together, back at that food stand in La Paz years ago.

Posted by Elizabeth Unger—NYU Food Studies graduate student

Tata Juan Coronado Qhichwa Kawsaymanta UNIBOLpi Yachachishasqa

UNIBOL Bolivia Quechua Podcast Chimoré Cultural de la Nación Tata Juan Coronado Mojocoya-Zudañez provincia jap’iypi, Chuquisaca-Boliviapi paqarisqa. Payqa Qhichwa Casimiro Huanca (UNIBOL) jatun yachaywasipi yachachiq. Pay “Qhichwa kawsaymanta” yachachin. Astawanpis Qhichwallapi parlaspa yachachin, wakin kutitaq kastilla simipipis parlasqanmanta ch’uwanchaykurispa. Kay clasepiqa “Filosofía amaútica” tawantinsuyu chhiqapi kawsaymanta t’ukunku. Jinallamantataq Calendario Tradicionalmantapis ch’aqwarillankutaq. Paykunapaqqa kay Calendarioqa tata intip chanta mama killap kuyuyninmanjina llamk’aq kasqa. Chantapis Chakanaman jinaqa tawa jatun raymikuna karqa ñinku. Chaykunata qhawarispataq, yachachiq Juanpa clasekunanqa mana teoríallachu, ruwaspa rikuchiypis kallantaq. Yachakuqkunaqa jatun yachaywasi ukhup chaqran patapi may sumaqta ruwaspa yacharikunku.
Gladys Camacho Riosqa CLACS-NYUpi Maestríamanta juk yachakuq. Pay kay podcasta Boliviapi, 2014 watapi grabarqa, imaptinchus pay karusuyumantapacha Rimasunpaq llamk’achkarpa.

Juan Coronado nació en Mojocoya-Provincia Zudañez, Chuquisaca-Bolivia. Es docente en la Universidad Indígena Quechua Casimiro Huanca (UNIBOL), en Chimoré- Bolivia. Dicta la materia de “Cultura de la Nación Quechua.” Sus clases son impartidas mayormente en Quechua sin embargo también facilita aclaraciones en español. En la materia se reflexiona sobre la filosofía amaútica de la cultura andina. De igual forma se discuten los temas del calendario tradicional que estaban basados en el movimiento del sol y la luna. Enfatizan que en la cultura quechua existían 4 fiestas tradicionales de acuerdo a la Chakana. Las clases impartidas por el docente no solo son teóricas sino también prácticas. Los estudiantes realizan dramatizaciones en los sembradíos del campus universitario.
Gladys Camacho Rios es una estudiante de maestría en CLACS-NYU. Ella grabó este podcast en Bolivia en 2014 como correspondiente internacional de Rimasun.

Juan Coronado was born in Mojocoya community in Zudañez province, Chuquisaca-Bolivia. He is a lecturer at the Casimiro Huanca Quechua Indigenous University, in Chimoré-Bolivia. He teaches a course titled “Culture of the Quechua Nation.” Classes are taught in the Quechua language, however he also answers some question in Spanish. The course presents the philosophies of the wise elders of Andean cultures. It also discusses the traditional calendar, which was based in the movement of the sun and the moon, and emphasizes the four traditional fiestas of the Chakana found in Quechua cultures. Coronado’s classes deal not only with theories, but also with practices. Students also enact dramatic performances in the fields of the university campus.
Gladys Camacho Rios is an MA student at CLACS-NYU. She recorded this podcast in Bolivia in 2014 as international correspondent of Rimasun.

Subscribe to Rimasun via iTunes or via another podcast service Suscríbete a Rimasun a través de iTunes o a través de otro servicio de podcast
Download this episode (right click, save link as…) / Guarda este episodio

Welcome Back

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Welcome back to our students and faculty, and happy Fall to all of our followers!

We kicked off the semester by enthusiastically welcoming our newest MA students at orientation. We are excited to have such a dynamic group begin a new academic year.

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