Comentario al libro “Nuestros años diez: La Asociación Pro-Indígena, el levantamiento de Rumi Maqui y el incaísmo modernista”. By Carlos Arroyo Paredes, Jose R. Deustua



getcoverLuego de mucho tiempo, gracias al FB nos recontramos con Jose R. Deustua, que ha tenido la amabilidad de compartir con nosotros  una nota sobre un libro de Carlos Arroyo Paredes, editor de la  Revista Wayra, en Suecia.  Cerca al centenario del Condor Pasa notese la presencia de la lirica andina en  el incaismo modernista.


Comentario al libro “Nuestros años diez: La Asociación Pro-Indígena, el levantamiento de Rumi Maqui y el incaísmo modernista”. By Carlos Arroyo Paredes. Insumisos Latinoamericanos. Buenos Aires: LibrosEnRed, 2005. Notes. Bibliography. 329 pp. Paper.


Whereas in Cuba in the late nineteenth century, in the words of Louis A. Pérez Jr., a “social amalgam” fought an insurrection to expel Spain and eliminate the creole planter bourgeoisie, and in Mexico a full-scale factionalized agrarian revolution took place a few years after, in Peru’s años diez, an era of “agrarian social revolution” with a forceful call for “the social redemption of the Indian” (or the indigenous peoples in today’s politically correct language) was also brewing. This is the focus of Carlos Arroyo Paredes new book, which focuses on three aspects of it: (1) the organization and development of the Asociación Pro-Indígena, with special attention to the role of Pedro S. Zulen; (2) the Indian uprising led by Rumi Maqui Ccori Zoncco; and (3) the efforts of Abraham Valdelomar to develop some form of “modernist Incaism.” The book avoids the baroque jargon of much postmodernist research and instead presents prose that is clear, direct and, in some passages, quite elegant.

Arroyo Paredes, a Peruvian journalist based in Sweden, studied law and political science at the Universidad de San Marcos; the book reflects this trajectory. Nuestros años diez is not based on archival research or countless primary documents, but instead relies heavily on readings of El Deber Pro-Indígena, the periodical publication of the Asociación Pro-Indígena, as well as secondary sources. Thus, it reads as an institutional biography of the Asociación Pro-Indígena, a personal biography of particular historical characters involved in the association, and a literary study of intellectual and cultural currents in 1910s Peru: early indigenismo, modernism, Incaism, and so on. The author also refers to the research of Leandro Alviña on Inca music, José María Valle Riestra’s composition of the opera Ollanta (which borrowed from the late eighteenth-century Quechua-language drama Ollantay), and the work of Daniel Alomía Robles opera and song in reference to Valdelomar own pursuit of Incaism. Arroyo Robles dates Valdelomar’s interest in Incaism precisely to 1910 when he went to see the opera Illa Cori (Heart of the Moon).

The author’s detailed analysis and narrative of events and interconnections between musicians, writers, intellectuals, and activists raises general questions and problems which, unfortunately, are not always explored. For example, the book points to clear lines of communication between anarchism and indigenismo, indigenismo and socialism, between the reformism of 1908–9 (during the first crisis of Civilismo) and what became full blown during the 1910s. At a 1918 address sponsored by the local Asociación Obrera in Jauja, Zulen (who studied philosophy and psychology at Harvard) proposed socialism as a solution to the social problems of workers, artisans, and peasants. This hints at the multiple origins of socialism in Peru, an angle that has received little attention, as most studies have focused almost exclusively on José Carlos Mariátegui.

When we look at the Peruvian delegation to the first international congress of women, held in Buenos Aires in 1910, we can also see connections between indigenismo and feminism: Dora Mayer, the principal Peruvian delegate, was an important leader within the Asociación Pro-Indígena.

Arroyo Paredes also gives less importance at the role of upper-class intellectuals, such as Oscar Miró Quesada, Víctor Andrés Belaunde, and José de la Riva Agüero, in the activities of Asociación Pro-Indígena, and does not pay much attention to the reformism of a younger generation within the Peruvian oligarchy. The book does not mention, for example, the fluid communication between Riva Aguero and Luis E. Valcárcel. Sadly, the wild youthful dreams of this generation of conservative and elitist intellectuals practically vanished by the 1920s, when Riva Aguero and others embraced Mussolini and Italian fascism to reinforce Catholic and traditional values, abandoning their earlier embrace of social reform and “rejuvenation.”

Arroyo Paredes’s largely narrative presentation of the Rumi Maqui Q’ori Sonq’o rebellion (Fist of Stone, Heart of Gold, in Quechua) and biographical sketch of Teodoro Gutiérrez Cueva (Rumi Maqui) repeats previous research and draws heavily on Augusto Ramos Zambrano’s two works on Puno indigenismo and peasant movements in Azángaro and Ezequiel Urviola. The author makes brief mention of Andean “millenarian” movements, borrowing from Alberto Flores Galindo’s and Manuel Burga’s studies, still under the framework of the criticized idea of an Andean utopia. Striking in this presentation is the brutal repression that large landowners and gamonales arrayed against the rebels, both during and after the rebellion. Hundreds of Andean Indian peasants were hunted down and killed by the landowners’ private armies (themselves comprised of peasants). Soratira was sacked and burned, and indigenous leader Eugenio Chino Apaza was killed without remorse, whereas Turpo, a top leader, was tied to two horses and dragged through the ground for two miles, so “fragments of his head and his intestines stuck to the rocks.” It reminds the reader of Guatemala in the 1970s and 1980s and the horrors of repression that the Guatemalan military, with the connivance of the U.S. government, carried out against Mayan peasants and guerrillas.

Arroyo Reyes’s book provides enough data to support an important argument that he fails to elaborate. Ever since 1907, university reform movements have enabled Peruvian university students (particularly at the Universidad San Agustín but later in Cusco and Lima) to build more democratic institutions, whereas the authoritarian university tradition in countries such as the United States has excluded both students and faculty from real decision making and instead kept power in the hands of administrators, more so now than ever. In Peru, as in Argentina, students developed co-government rights with faculty and administrators, and a third of the University Assembly at most universities had and has to be composed by student representatives. Middle-class student involvement in Peru’s university reform movement interacted with indigenismo and the Asociación Pro-Indígena, the peasant rebellion in Puno led by army officer and government reformer Teodomiro Gutiérrez Cueva, “Rumi Maqui”, and the literary works of cosmopolitan author Abraham Valdelomar’s search for a modernist Inca.


José R. Deustua C., Professor of Latin American History, Department of History, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL., EE.UU.



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