Quispe, Felipe (1942–)

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Quispe, Felipe (1942–)

An outspoken indigenous leader and presidential candidate known as "El Mallku" (the chief), Felipe Quispe has been an instrumental player in Bolivia's social movements. An Aymara Indian from Ajllata Grande in the La Paz Department, Quispe helped found the Movimiento Indio Túpac Katari (MITKA; Túpac Katari Indian Movement), an ethno-nationalist party and part of the so-called Katarist indigenous movement, in 1978. A decade later he founded the Ejército Guerrillero Túpac Katari (EGTK; Túpac Katari Guerrilla Army), the armed actions of which led to a five-year jail sentence for Quispe in 1992. After his release, he was elected head of a peasant labor organization, the Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB; Unitary Syndical Confederation of Peasant Workers of Bolivia). From this position Quispe mobilized thousands of supporters on numerous occasions in the social protests that rocked Bolivia in the first few years of the twenty-first century, including those that forced President Carlos Mesa from office in 2005. In 2000 Quispe created a new political party, the Movimiento Indígena Pachakuti (MIP; Pachakuti Indigenous Movement), and competed in the 2002 presidential elections on an Aymara separatist platform. Although he was unsuccessful, earning just over 6 percent of the vote, the results did give him a seat as a representative from the La Paz Department. His campaign in 2005 was also unsuccessful; with only 2.16 percent of the vote, he lost his party's legal registration.

See alsoIndigenous Organizations .


Van Cott, Donna Lee. From Movements to Parties in Latin America: The Evolution of Ethnic Politics. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

                                       Robert R. Barr