The Aftermath of the Shining Path; Memory, Violence, & Politics in Peru

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February 11, 2016
Hart Hall
UC Davis

On February 11th, the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas will hold an all-day conference on the Shining Path guerrilla movement in Peru. The event brings together renowned scholars, archivists, and journalists to discuss the vicious war that stretched from 1980 to 1992 and its aftermath. Led by Abimael Guzmán or Presidente Gonzalo, the Maoist Shining Path began in Ayacucho in the highlands and spread throughout much of the country. Both their tactics as well as the response by the Peruvian military were brutal, resulting in over 70,000 dead and hundreds of thousands force to flee. Indigenous peasants bore the brunt of this violence and displacement.

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Ayopaya, tierra roja, lágrimas de sangre; de Jorge Torres Pereyra

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Los libros que llegan de sorpresa siempre caen bien. Los que llegan de sorpresa y que serían difícil de encontrar caen major todavía. Y los libros que llegan, son díficiles de conseguir, y que son profundos y buenos son espectaculares. Este último es el caso del flamante libro de Jorge Torres Pereyra, Ayopaya, tierra roja, lágrimas de sangre (Santiago de Chile, 2015).

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Review of The Tupac Amaru Rebellion, by Erick D. Langer

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Much has been written about the Túpac Amaru rebellion, which shook the Andes from 1780–1783. It was the largest indigenous-led anti-colonial rebellion in the Spanish Empire had ever seen and involved tens of thousands of combatants, affecting millions throughout the region. Charles Walker contributes to this scholarship by providing the most up-to-date and detailed narrative rendering of the rebellion and its aftermath.

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Segunda edición revisada de la rebelión de Tupac Amaru

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Hace unos días tuve el gusto, por partida doble, de estar en Guadalajara (México) y presentar la nueva edición de bolsillo de La rebelión de Tupac Amaru en la Feria Internacional del Libro que se llevó a cabo en dicha ciudad. La feria me dio la oportunidad de compartir el libro con colegas, amigos y público asistente, quienes no perdieron la oportunidad de preguntar por posibles paralelos entre Tupac Amaru, Micaela Bastidas y los héroes mexicanos Miguel Hidalgo y José Miguel Morelos.

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Review of Lurgio Gavilán’s When Rains Became Floods: A Child’s Soldier Story

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In their introductions, Orin Starn and the late Carlos Iván Degregori use the terms “remarkable” and “exceptional” to refer to Lurgio Gavilán Sánchez and his memoir. This is not hyperbole. Gavilán joined the Shining Path as a twelve-year-old, fighting for three years. When members of the army trapped him on a bleak mountain peak, they took pity on the emaciated, lice-ridden teenager and at the last minute spared him from execution. He was brought into the barracks as a servant or errand boy but, showing his smarts and perseverance, impressed officers enough that they allowed him to become a soldier. This was not his last stunning transition. He left the military after seven years, just when he had a clear path to becoming an officer, to join the Franciscan order. Gavilán underwent the rigorous ordainment process only to leave the priesthood after a few years. He began to study anthropology and is currently a PhD candidate at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico, where he wrote much of this memoir. It’s an astonishing autobiography, told with style and sensitivity, that illuminates much about late twentieth-century Peru.

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Review of The Tupac Amaru Rebellion, by Gonzalo Romero Sommer

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The history of Tupac Amaru and his revolt against Spanish colonial order has been the subject of a good number of accounts. Historians focused on the colonial period and the demise of Spanish rule have often portrayed the so-called Great Rebellion as either a fruitless revolution or a pivotal departure moment for the subsequent process of independence. The literature on Tupac Amaru and the wider period of upheaval in colonial southern Peru is so vast it seems that there would be nothing truly novel to stress. Charles Walker has challenged this historiographical stagnation by providing new insights about the logistics, motives, and long-term consequences of the revolt for Indians, Spaniards, and everyone in between while offering, at the same time, a remarkably flawless narrative.

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Prólogo a “Inocencia Justificada” (1790), de Juan Manuel Moscoso y Peralta

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Uno de los argumentos principales en mi libro, La rebelión de Tupac Amaru, es que la iglesia tuvo un papel fundamental en la derrota de los insurgentes. En realidad, no fue la iglesia sino su represenante en Cusco, el Obispo Juan Manuel Moscoso y Peralta, quien diseñó una brillante y eficaz estrategia. Se basaba en mantener a los sacerdotes y sus asistentes en la “zona roja”, así dando alivio e información a los enemigos de la rebelión. Moscoso y Peralta sabía que José Gabriel Condorcanqui y Micaela Bastidas eran fieles que no iban a permitir la muerte de un cura. También excomulgó a Tupac Amaru, medida de gran impacto como explico en el libro.

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Tupac Amaru en el Altiplano, por Nicanor Domínguez

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El tema de la “gran rebelión” surandina de 1780-1783 ha retomado actualidad con la publicación del libro La Rebelión de Tupac Amaru (Lima: IEP, 2015), de Charles Walker. El autor ha optado por una historia narrativa (que presenta paso a paso el desarrollo de los sucesos, mostrando las incertidumbres de cada momento y evitando un análisis determinista), exponiendo de manera clara y crítica las interpretaciones sobre el movimiento rebelde (interpretaciones previas así como propias, aunque sin abundar en complicados debates historiográficos). Esta estrategia discursiva y analítica resulta más accesible a los lectores, que en el Perú de hoy parecen estar demandando conocer un pasado del cual todos creen saber algo, pero que no terminan de entender a cabalidad.

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Review of The Tupac Amaru Rebellion, by Heather Roller

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Charles F. Walker’s book is a vivid narrative history of the Tupac Amaru Rebellion (1780–82), which profoundly shook, but did not ultimately topple, the foundations of Spanish rule in the Andes. In its ability to make sense of an extremely complex, multifaceted movement without losing the thread of the larger story, The Tupac Amaru Rebellion can be compared with Laurent Dubois’s narrative history of the Haitian Revolution, Avengers of the New World (2004). Like Dubois, Walker skillfully analyzes the perspectives and motivations—as well as the shortcomings—of the movement’s principal leaders, while also considering what led indigenous people to join en masse.

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