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    Declaran de interés nacional la erección de un monumento a Túpac Amaru en Plaza de Armas, Cuzco
    El peruano (Lima, Perú). -- May. 20, 1970
    Newspaper article – Essays
    El peruano (Lima, Perú). "Declaran de interés nacional la erección de un monumento a Túpac Amaru en Plaza de Armas, Cuzco." May 20, 1970.
    decrees; monuments

This is the text of Decreto Ley Nº 18280, the decree that was published in the official journal El Peruano. This was the law that created the legal basis for the competition that was organized to erect a statue of Túpac Amarau II, the indigenous harbinger of Peruvian independence. This project, considered to be in the national interest, attracted recommendations from the Comisión Nacional del Sesquicentenario de la Independencia del Perú, and underscored the historical importance of the rebel’s activities. A commission was appointed to establish the rules of the contest, consisting of people in the political world (the prefect and mayor of Cuzco, and “a representative of Peruvian peasant communities” designated by the Ministry of Agriculture), the military (the Commander of the Fourth Military Region), and the church (the Archbishop of Cuzco). The commission also included a delegate from the Peruvian College of Architects and another from the National Council for the Preservation and Restoration of Historical Monuments. The law also decreed that all educational institutions “would place the portrait of Túpac Amaru II in a prominent place and honor him in fitting ways.” The document is signed by Juan Velasco Alvarado, the de facto president of Peru, and all his ministers. 


Nothing ever came of Decreto Ley 18280, the law that created a competition to design a statue of the indigenous hero and install it in a designated place. The monument was actually erected in a new plaza especially created for the purpose. The law also decreed that a portrait of Túpac Amaru was to be placed in all educational institutions; this led to a simultaneous effort to create a painting contest, but it too never came to fruition.    


José Gabriel Condorcanqui, Túpac Amaru II (1738–81), was an Inca chieftain who, in 1780, led the rebellion of the Andean people against the Spanish Empire. After languishing in the relative obscurity of traditional Peruvian historiography, his image was appropriated by the self-styled Gobierno Revolucionario de las Fuerzas Armadas during its first phase (1968–75), a time when the government was pioneering social reforms and exploring the use of icons as symbolic expressions of the regime and its aims.


The competition was launched three times but each one was declared void. A fourth attempt resulted in a prize being awarded to Joaquín Ugarte y Ugarte, but his equestrian statue was never installed in the Plaza de Armas. Some criticized the decision based on the incongruity of the colonial environment of the plaza, particularly since the hero was drawn and quartered by horses.


[As complementary reading about 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); (unattributed) “Convocan a concurso: monumento a Túpac Amaru se levantará en el Cuzco” (doc. no. 1053438); (unattributed) “Convocan a concurso de pintura para perpetuar la imagen plástica del mártir José Gabriel Condorcanqui” (doc. no. 865422); by Alfredo Arrisueño Cornejo “Declaran desierto el Concurso de Pintura ‘Túpac Amaru II’” (doc. no. 865498); (unattributed) “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 / Gustavo Buntinx Armagno
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Reproduced with permission, Lima, Peru