Mariátegui and the Problem of the Races in Latin America

Prepared for delivery to the 2001 meeting of the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies (RMCLAS), Tucson, Arizon, March 1-4, 2001.


Victorio Codovilla, the leader of the Comintern's South American Secretariat, instructed José Carlos Mariátegui, the founder of the Peruvian Socialist Party, to prepare a document for the First Latin American Communist Conference in Buenos Aires in June of 1929 analyzing the possibility of forming an Indian Republic in South America. Codovilla selected Mariátegui who was already well-known for his defense of Peru's marginalized rural Indigenous peoples for this task because of his "profound knowledge of the subject." Mariátegui asserted, however, that nation-state formation was too advanced in the Andes to build a separate Indian Republic. This paper analyzes Mariátegui's position on this topic in the context of the Comintern's desire to organize Latin America's Indigenous peoples.