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Castro Pozo, Hildebrando (1890–1945)

Castro Pozo, Hildebrando (1890–1945)

Hildebrando Castro Pozo (b. 1890; d. 1 September 1945), Peruvian intellectual and writer from the northern border state of Piura. Castro Pozo first entered the national arena after he had already written strong essays on the misery and extreme poverty of sharecroppers on the coastal plantations. In 1920, President Augusto Leguía named him to head the section on Indian affairs in the national Ministry of Development, a post he held until 1923. He then became one of the most articulate and forthright defenders of the rights of Indians in the country. Quickly parting with Leguía, he understood indigenismo through the spectacles of socialism; stressing that the exploitative, capitalist plantation agriculture of the coastal valleys of Peru could be ended only by the imposition of socialism. He felt further that the Indians, who had been communal village farmers since Incan times, would be the group in society most likely to carry out such a transformation. With landowners opposing him, he was sent into exile in 1923; he returned in 1924. His Nuestra comunidad indígena (1924) is a long essay on the naturally socialist character of indigenous village traditions. This and other writings influenced José Carlos Mariátegui, his contemporary among Peruvian indigenistas and the founder of the Socialist Party. A pragmatic leader, Castro Pozo encouraged party members to take positions in the government to help indigenous villagers. The Socialists hoped the government would introduce technological improvements into the villages, thereby better equipping them to compete with the big landowners. Two years after he died, the government passed a new, comprehensive sharecropping law.

See alsoIndigenous Peoples; Journalism.


Henry F. Dobyns and Paul L. Doughty, Peru: A Cultural History (1976), p. 230.

Jesús Chavarría, José Carlos Mariátegui and the Rise of Modern Peru, 1890–1930 (1979), pp. 108, 115.

Additional Bibliography

Franco, Carlos. Castro Pozo: Nación, modernización, endógena y socialismo. Lima: Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Participación, 1989.

                                        Vincent Peloso

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