Horna, Hernan

Horna, Hernan “South America’s Marginal Highway.” Journal of Developing Areas, Vol. 10 No. 4 (1976): pp. 409-424.

This piece comes across as an apologist ode to Belaúnde, peppered with statistics—the same ones Denevan uses, drawn from Stokes—and resting on a toothpick foundation forged from press accounts—Peruvian Times, Time, The New York Times and Semana en el Perú. There are, however, some redeeming qualities. For instance, Horna, while absolving Belaúnde of any guilt in his administration’s 1968 lackluster performance, focuses not just on the APRA-UNO opposition, but also in the American backlash to Belaúnde’s modest protectionism. Also, Horna gives a cursory account of the ways in which the Velasco administration carried the Marginal mantle into the context of the 1970s Amazonian oil boom. Interestingly, here Horna seems to continue embracing the view that road colonization will assuage the social strife caused by demographic pressure placed on land, while at the same time recognizing that roads were mostly built because of their value on the international stage: securing boundaries and resources, integrating markets (Andean Pact 1971, LAFTA), etc. This unique local-transnational symbiosis seems to result in part from the exorbitant costs of jungle road construction—$200,000 / mile in 1967 (416)—and the dependence that generates on international lenders.

Two other valuable aspects of this piece are the brief mention of Colombian, Ecuadorian and Bolivian participation in the continental dimensions of La Marginal’s construction. Also, this article is littered with anecdotal delicacies: like Belaúnde’s 1963 birthday gift of 25,000 tools (415); The pomp and circumstance where the Bolivian and Peruvian sections of the road were joined (414); Velasco’s effort to connect La Marginal to the Trans-Amazonian (418); and the quixotic hope of continental completion by 1995 (420).

Gotkowitz, Laura

Gotkowitz, Laura. A Revolution for Our Rights Indigenous Struggles for Land and Justice in Bolivia, 1880-1952. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.

Focused on indigenous organizing and politics in pre-1952 Cochabamba, Laura Gotkowitz’s A Revolution for our Rights tells the story of the “revolution before the revolution.” This book is key because it fleshes out the intricacies, associations and years of struggle that often get written out of narratives of revolution. Thus while it does not discuss the land reform implemented as part of the Bolivian National Revolution, it meticulously lays out the legal battles, confrontations and protests launched by rural people for some 70 years before. Stressing legal battles, Gotkowitz shows how communities mobilized against the Liberal project fighting for corporate “absolute rights to property” in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Additionally they often fought for recognition of their right to rights. For instance, as a result of the 1945 Indigenous Congress a series of laws protecting colonos from their hacienda owners were passed. However, it was up to the communities to ensure that the laws were observed; Villarroel made no effort to enforce them.

As important as the emphasis placed on legal battles, is Gotkowitz’s unearthing of the dense network of associations that fueled indigenous and colono mobilization in Cochabamba. First off, struggles were often waged as indigenous community members and hacienda colonos together. Moreover, Gotkowitz shows how they were linked to urban labour movements, like the Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores de Bolivia (CSTB), as well as radical parties and organizations.

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Van Cott, Donna Lee

Van Cott, Donna Lee. Radical Democracy in the Andes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Essentially picking up where Yashar left off, Van Cott looks at the impact of indigenous mobilization on political institutions in Bolivia and Ecuador since the 1990s. For instance, one of the major parties she examines, Pachakutik, sprung from the movement, CONAIE, whose emergence Yashar studies. Van Cott also deals in detail with localities governed by representatives from MAS and Felipe Quispe’s Movimiento Indígena Pachakuti in Bolivia, as well as Amauta Jatari in Ecuador.

As an interesting aside, Yashar looks at Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, arguing indigenous mobilization in Peru was scant and of little consequence for state institutions (the par excellence of the Peruvian exceptionalism García and Greene take on); Van Cott, in her way, solidifies this view by leaving Peru out entirely, instead looking to Bolivia and Ecuador because they represent cases where indigenous politics have had the greatest likelihood of institutional innovation through a confluence of processes of decentralization, specific characteristics of leadership and the formation of indigenous political parties. Thus, for Van Cott, indigenous mobilization is defined by the formation, consolidation and innovation of traditional political institutions and social movements, and she maintains the division between the two that Mallon tries to do away with.

Yashar, Deborah

Yashar, Deborah. Contesting Citizenship in Latin America: The Rise of Indigenous Movements and the Postliberal Challange. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Yashar argues that the rise of indigenous movements in Latin America can be attributed to the interaction of three fundamental components: 1) the ethnic cleavages and threats to local autonomy posed by shifting citizenship regimes; 2) the existence of transcommunity networks; and 3) the availability of political associational spaces. Her analysis equally relies on the assertion that despite advocacy of local autonomy and the challenges presented by postliberal (the fusion of corporatist and neoliberal forms of interest intermediation such as those seen in the institutionalization of multiethnic and plurinational citizenship regimes) politics, the state is still a fundamental arbiter of rights and responsibilities. As such, identifying the scope and reach of the state by historicizing and spatializing the formation of indigenous movements is an undeniable requirement.

Looking in depth at Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, she demonstrates how the transition from corporatist modes of state-based interest intermediation (focused on collectives as political entities and extending social rights in addition to some political and civil rights) to neoliberal citizenship regimes (privileged unit is the individual, social rights are stripped out of state functions) posed threats to local autonomy. In this context, indigenous federations such as CONAIE (Ecuador), CSUTCB and CIDOB (Bolivia) and AIDESEP (Peru) arose where there was a confluence of transcommunity networks—in the form of schools, churches, unions, etc.—and political associational space—framework for the freedom of expression and association. Whereas these three components existed in Ecuador and Bolivia, the residual effects of corporatist efforts and the outbreak of civil strife during the '80s and '90s in Peru stifled the formation of networks and the emergence of political associational spaces in most of the country.