Daily Archives: February 19, 2019

The last battle for Bolivia

Luis Gonzalez reports for Pagina Siete:


The author writes about Álvaro Moscoso’s research work on the government of Pedro Blanco. He points out that it is a book that has a clear and direct prose, and a very careful edition.

A revisionist study of official history, tending to discuss commonly accepted criteria and to demolish certain myths about the past, must be supported by conclusive documentation. It is up to the scholar to get involved in a broad and deep research work, in order to achieve new primary and testimonial sources of the time that tries to add a certain and categorical presentation.

Álvaro Moscoso has done the work noted – with good fortune – in the endeavor of writing Pedro Blanco at the crossroads. The last battle for the independence of Bolivia (December 2018). To this result we must add the expression of a clear and direct prose, and a very careful edition, which invites with enthusiasm to the reading of the text.

Álvaro Moscoso builds his hypothesis on the “dramatic insurgency” of our country, noting that the surrender of the royalist forces in the battle of Ayacucho did not affect Upper Peru; that in this portion of the territory dependent on the colonial power there was no battle of the liberating armies of the North; that the independence of Bolivia is linked to the demonstrated will to fight for the freedom of the people of Charcas; that, from the uprisings of 1810 and the subsequent “war of the republiquetas,” during 15 heroic years, the Bolivians conquered by themselves their emancipation from the colonial yoke.

The research work that demanded the author’s historical production efficiently supports the aforementioned hypotheses. The first years of our Republic, the armies of Gran Colombia, made up of almost 5,000 men, became a factor of occupation and tutelage of our country and a record of the geopolitical strategies of the Liberator. These troops managed to squeeze an average of 60% of Bolivia’s meager public budget with their expenses. It was a government, the one of Mariscal Sucre, that did not count among its main authorities with men born in this land. His ministers, his high bureaucracy and his prefects were foreign officers of varied nationality, recruited by the army of Gran Colombia in its warlike evolution.

The work highlights the different visions between Bolívar and Sucre about the occupation of the country. The first pressed for the permanence of the Colombian army south of the Desaguadero, because he considered it necessary to guarantee the victory in the war of the Gran Colombia against Peru that would later be declared by Bolivar himself. And Sucre, in a closer approach to the territory and its people, took possession representing the ideas of his boss, but never disobeying him.

While Bolivia and its inhabitants became a protected nation, victim of the geopolitical strategy of the dazzling liberator Simón Bolívar. And the occupying soldiers, inactive and poorly paid, struggled for repatriation and ravaged the new Republic.

That is why the first invasion of the Peruvian General Gamarra to Bolivia was popularly celebrated as liberating by the neighbors of the towns, and even received the support of nuclei of the scraggy Bolivian Army.

1828 is the key year in the recovery of sovereignty by Bolivians. Their terrible events such as the April 18 attack against the Marshal of Ayacucho in Chuquisaca and his abandonment of the Presidency, as well as the fate of General Pedro Blanco, are also exposed in the book with numerous documentary support.

The last chapters of the work are dedicated by the essayist to General Blanco, a soldier of the most memorable military actions against Spanish power, such as those of Zepita, Junín and Ayacucho. In this part, the author aims to refute, in a detailed manner, stories of self-justification of Blanco’s enemies and slander to which the first Bolivian president and his ephemeral government were subjected; he also reviews the facts of his atrocious murder. And the denunciation of the impunity enjoyed by those who committed the assassination was not absent, after the coup of December 31 of the fatal year, which inaugurated the dozens of military assaults in the country’s history.

The indigenous uprisings and Bolivar’s ideas about South American unity are absent from the study. These issues, perhaps, deserve to be included in the next research efforts of the author, with the intellectual courage and the same meticulous work of documentary support that is the basis of the book commented here.