Academic journal article Journal of Global South Studies

Now Peru Is Mine: The Life and Times of a Campesino Activist

Academic journal article Journal of Global South Studies

Now Peru Is Mine: The Life and Times of a Campesino Activist

Article excerpt

Llamojha Mitma, Manuel and Jaymie Patricia Heilman. Now Peru Is Mine: The Life and Times of a Campesino Activist. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.

This work gives a broad overview of Peru's indigenous struggles for agrarian reform, land rights, education, and Manuel Llamojha Mitma's efforts to end discrimination while detailing his activism from childhood until his death in 2016 at the age of ninety-five. Heilman, an associate professor of history and classics at the University of Alberta, interviewed Llamojha Mitma and his family. Heilman conducted extensive research into Llamojha's role as a founding member of the Pro-Concepcion Chacamarca Indian Community Committee, which sought "official recognition of Concepcion as an 'indigenous community,' a legal status that guaranteed community land rights and the right to elect a village council... [its] most valuable tool in a fight against hacienda encroachment, as officially recognized indigenous community land was inalienable, that is, it could not legally be bought, sold, or appropriated" (36). For much of Llamojha's life, hacendados [wealthy landowners] controlled the land through sharecropping in rural areas while committing social, economic, and legal injustices to enrich themselves. To combat this, Llamojha was autodidactic and learned to read and write Spanish, Quechua, and Latin.

Heilman posits this study as a "testimonial biography... of... his struggles against indigenous oppression, territorial dispossession, and sociopolitical exclusion, all problems that he ... dedicated his life to fighting on behalf of Peru's indigenous peasants (campesinos)" (1). Each chapter of the book details decades of Llamojha's activities and involvement with different leftist groups in Peru such as Alianza Popular de la Revolution Americana (APRA, which later became conservative), the Peruvian Communist Party (with its offshoots into Soviet and Maoist ideologies), the National Liberation Front (FLN), as well as his invitations to visit Cuba, the Soviet Union, and China to learn more about their socio-political revolutions. Llamojha was repeatedly jailed, had to suffer self-imposed exile within Peru, and even faked his own death to escape persecution. Heilman points out that he never affiliated with a specific party doctrine, but rather concentrated his activism on "struggle with the masses" (124). …

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