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    “Campesino, el patrón ya no comerá más tu pobreza” : Finalizó así su patriótica invocación : mensaje del Presidente Velasco
    El Peruano (Lima, Perú). -- Jun. 25, 1969
    p. 1- 2
    Newspaper article – Essays
    Ruiz Caro, Efraín. "Campesino, el patrón ya no comerá más tu pobreza." Finalizó así su patriótica invocación: mensaje del presidente Velasco." El Peruano (Lima, Perú), June 25, 1969, 1-2.

This document is the message to the nation given by General Juan Velasco Alvarado, president of the ruling military junta from 1968 to 1975, on the “Día del Indio, Día del Campesino” (June 25, 1969). The enactment of the historic Agrarian Reform Law is announced. Of the many controversial and radical clauses of the law, the one highlighted here is the widespread appropriation of large and medium-sized rural estates for transformation into cooperatives to be run by the state. The liberating intention underlying the measures can be summed up in the two most enduring slogans produced by this speech: “The land is for those who work it” and “Peasant, the bosses will no longer feed off of your poverty.” That second slogan, which closes the speech, is wrongly attributed to Túpac Amaru II—an instance of historical manipulation of the image of the indigenous forefather of independence at the hand of the Velasco Alvarado administration.


Although the agrarian reform in Peru brought ruin and prolonged crisis to the rural sector of the country, its rhetorical justification—in this speech in particular—had lasting influence on Peruvian political and cultural language, partly due to government initiatives, such as the mass production of posters and the organization of art competitions associated with the image of the indigenous insurgent.


José Gabriel Condorcanqui, Túpac Amaru II (1738–81), was a curaca or chief of Incan descent who, in 1780, led the most important Andean uprising against the Spanish empire. Largely ignored by traditional Spanish-American historiography, his figure was the emblem of the so-called Gobierno Revolucionario de las Fuerzas Armadas during its first period (1968–75), which was characterized by social reform and by an interest in symbolic representation.


The graphic representations of the image of Túpac Amaru II with a hat by artists and designers such as Jesús Ruiz Durand (b. 1940) would become key to understanding the political uses of artistic creation. The important role of cultural agents in social change is evident in the fact that journalist Efraín Ruiz Caro (1929–2007) has often been credited with writing this speech by Velasco Alvarado.


[For further reading on Túpac Amaru II, see the following articles in the ICAA digital archive: by General EP Felipe de la Barra “¿Cómo fue Túpac Amaru?” (doc. no. 865441); (unsigned) “Convocan a concurso: monumento a Túpac Amaru se levantará en el Cuzco” (doc. no. 1053438); by Alfredo Arrisueño Cornejo “Convocan a concurso de pintura para perpetuar la imagen plástica del mártir José Gabriel Condorcanqui” (doc. no. 865422), and “Declaran desierto el Concurso de Pintura ‘Túpac Amaru II’” (doc. no. 865498); (unsigned) “En busca de la imagen arquetípica de Túpac Amaru” (doc. no. 865702); by Daniel Valcárcel “El retrato de Túpac Amaru” (doc. no. 1052165); and by A. O. Z. “Túpac Amaru: ¿verdadero retrato?” (doc. no. 865460)].

Daniel Contreras Medina
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Juan Velasco Alvarado, 1969.
Reproduced with permission of Eco. Horacio Barrios Cruz, Lima, Peru