Daily Archives: June 11, 2017

History 101: Why were the victories of Canchas Blancas and Tambillos concealed?

Rodolfo Becerra de la Roca writes in El Diario:

Why were the victories of Canchas Blancas and Tambillos concealed?

Something of which the Chileans boast and boast to the paroxysm, is that their army was always victorious and never defeated. Like so many facts distorted by them, this assertion is nothing more than a fancy vacuous. If the encounters of the Pacific invasions refer: in the majority of the battles, fortune has accompanied them, the superiority of elements and forces, the unpredictability, even the betrayal aroused by them among the allies and many aspects of command. From there to say that they were never defeated is not real and is no more than conceit and fatuity.

Under equal conditions, the Chileans never defeated the allies, and even though they were more numerous and better equipped, separately, they were defeated. Canchas Blancas, for example, is a memorable feat of the brave Chicheños and Tarijeños soldiers, supported by indigenous of Atacama and Lipes.

In the 60’s or 70’s, a group of people, under the direction of an egregious citizen, Dr. Carlos Morales Avila, propitiated a movement to rewrite the history of Bolivia, meeting in a classroom of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, For which it was intended to found a new Bolivian Academy of History. In this circumstance we hear for the first time about the battle of Canchas Blancas, in a dissertation of Don Alberto Vélez Ocampo. On the basis of this recollection and other investigations, we wrote two notes in El Diario, April 8 and 11, 2015: “Heroic Epics”, about the memorable Battle of Canchas Blancas, where a fraction of the infamous V Division defeated calamitously to the Chilean invader, that were preparing their entrance to Potosí and Sucre, which is related in the Cnl. Ezequiel Apodaca’s memoirs, who was Chief of Staff of the army of Gen. Narciso Campero.

“What is reprehensible,” we said in the first note, is that it has tried to hide that victory to leave in the limbo the betrayal of prominent characters who were muddled to hide that victory, where tarijeños and chicheños stood out, that in many occasions since the feats of the Independence and the Confederation have shown their bravery. If the diary of the Cnl Ezequiel Apodaca did not appear and the memorandum of Cnl. Lino Morales, on Cancha Blancas and Tambillos, legendary battles, we would not have known those national glories and we would have not have the epic recollection of that infamous invasion of 1879, which has caused the unjust imprisonment of Bolivia.

“After a long inactivity in Cotagaita, which exasperated the chiefs and troops, finally the army of the Fifth Division moved towards San Cristóbal towards Canchas Blancas and Calama, amid indecision and contradictions, dividing the troop, one towards the north to Oruro for conspiratorial purposes and another to go to the front against Chile, but in conditions of scarcity of all kinds. Throughout this period the soldiers were trained, the natives who skillfully served as chasquis [couriers] and were trained in the handling of slings and even of messenger doves for communications; making the possible to face the enemy with determination, tenacity and patriotism, as it leaves the valuable memory of Apodaca, which makes us reflect the ambivalent performance of General Campero, who was confirmed in the facts, because he preferred to change the course of his march towards Calama, going to Oruro to attend its political affairs, abandoning the fight against the Chilean invasion.