Indigenous Revolution in Ecuador and Bolivia: Paige

Paige, Jeffery M. Indigenous Revolution in Ecuador and Bolivia, 1990-2005. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2020.

By N. H. Gill
Oct. 23, 2020

This book, edited by Jeffrey Paige, looks at the rise of the modern indigenous political movements in the Andean nations of Ecuador and Bolivia. Written by scholars and political activists involved in the movements, the authors analyze the role of indigenous “cosmovision” in the making of the modern nation state and the historical influences and alliances that shaped the different paths taken by indigenous organizations in the two countries in seven essays.  

The first section looks at the twentieth-century history of conflict and cooperation between the Shuar Federation of the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Ecuarunari of the nation’s highlands, founded in 1964 and 1972, respectively. The essays help explain the divergent traditions of ethnic and class-based organizations that remain relevant in contemporary debates.

The second section looks at the rise of the MAS party in Bolivia, which came to power in 2005 with the election of Juan Evo Morales as the first indigenous president of the South American nation. The authors explore the importance of Katarismo and the 1952 revolution, union organization and Marxism, as well as the cultural and economic importance of coca-leaf production in Bolivia. Overall, the volume is well organized, with Paige providing a prologue, introduction, conclusion and epilogue that helpfully frame the debates presented in the essays, as well as providing reflections on the role of the indigenous movements in the rise of the so-called Twenty-First Century Socialism.

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