Rumi Maqui, A Forgotten Hero

Many of the prominent Peruvian historians, such as Jorge Basadre, Alberto Flores Galindo and Manuel Burga, have highlighted the impact of the indigenous rebellions led by the sergeant major of the Peruvian army Teodomiro Gutiérrez, better known as Rumi Maqui (Mano de Piedra), in Azángaro, Huancané and Puno, in 1915.

Teodomiro Gutiérrez was a military man who began the indigenous rebellions from his position as subprefect of Chucuito – Puno, being accused years later of being an extremist and separatist by the landlords who persecuted and imprisoned him. He supposedly escaped from jail on January 2, 1917 but his relatives claimed that he had been killed since they never received any information about his whereabouts.

His first appearance was in the national resistance accompanying General Cáceres. Then, thanks to his contacts, he was named subprefect in several Andean towns. For the year 1912 he supported Billinghurst in the formation partisan institutions of military supporters to end the Aristocratic Republic. Thanks to this, The Civilists lost that year and the Congress was forced to choose Billinghurst as president.

The new government appointed Gutierrez to investigate the injustices in the department of Puno. Many haciendas had expanded and owned many lands because the wool business was very lucrative at that time. This caused many of the community lands to be looted by these landowners, leading to revolts and massacres.

Unfortunately, Major Gutierrez could not resolve the conflicts in the Puno region. As a result, he was overthrown and was persecuted by the landowners. For 1915, he prepared an uprising in Azángaro and Huancané against the government and was proclaimed as general of the federal state of Tawantinsuyu.

The government sent troops to face this rebellion. Among the military was Luis Sánchez Cerro, future president of the nation. The indigenous rebellion was easily extinguished and Major Gutierrez was arrested and taken to Arequipa for trial.

Today, many do not know about this hero who fought against the abuses committed by the government on the indigenous peoples. For this reason the story of Major Gutierrez’s mysterious end has overshadowed his exploits as RUMI MAQUI, but I think he was a soldier who anticipated the posture that Velasco later made. Its greatest achievement was the revolutionary military-peasant alliance.

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