History of South America

Who was Rumi Maqui?

"I think that not even 20% of teachers at our university know who Teodomiro Gutiérrez Cuevas is." With these controversial words, the environmentalist Rodolfo Rojas Villanueva, made known his complaint and at the same time demanded to pay tribute to this military man from Cerreño with the name of the regional year.
ILUSTRE UNKNOWN. The Patria Verde militant pointed out that many believe that he is from Puno, since it is there that he is better known than in his own land. He assures that no university student or his own teachers would be able to answer who Teodomiro Gutiérrez Cuevas was, despite the fact that he is one of the greatest heroes of Pasco, born in 1864.

“The puneños called him by the nom de guerre, Rumi Maqui or “Stone Hand” in Spanish, because from his position as deputy prefect of Chucuito, Puno begins his fight against the abuses of the indigenous people. Currently no one remembers him, nor are there any tributes in Pasco, it is unfortunate that a character of the stature of Rumi Maqui is forgotten," he said.
Already in the previous administration he proposed the name of Teodomiro Gutiérrez Cuevas as the name of the regional year, but did not obtain a favorable response. This time he suggests calling it the “Centennial Year of the Rebellion of Teodomiro Gutiérrez Cuevas, Rumi Maqui, and of the Consolidation of Pisco Sour, originating in Cerro de Pasco”.
Since his uprising in Chucuito, Puno, Gutiérrez Cuevas was accused of extremism and separatism by landowners, who persecuted him for several years and arrested him in Arequipa, deporting him to Chile. But on January 2, 1917, supposedly, he escaped from prison and went to Bolivia and from there to Argentina. However, the relatives of "Rumi Maqui" assure that he was assassinated in Arequipa since he never communicated with them. From there the legend of his death was born.

To begin with, he had been from Breñero and accompanied General Cáceres in the national resistance. Later, he appears as part of the list of "indefinite", officers who did not have a position but who received a small pay. The indefinite ones had increased after the Piérola reform and the professionalization of the Army. Only the graduates of the School of Chorrillos had employment, the old ones were indefinite. But the older Gutiérrez had contacts and was appointed sub-prefect in several Andean towns; his report on Huancayo has been published by Carlos Contreras and is revealing of a position in favor of the Pro-Indigenous association.
The year 1912 is crucial in his life since he supported Billinghurst, forming military institutions in favor of ending the Aristocratic Republic. Indeed, that year was the election that civilismo lost and forced Congress to elect Billinghurst as president. Moreover, at the famous “big bread” rally, when a huge demonstration gathered, Gutiérrez accompanied Billinghurst on the podium and he even made use of the word, revealing his importance in the organization of this popular caudillo. The new government appointed him to investigate the events in Puno. The haciendas had expanded because the wool business was quite lucrative. This growth had been carried out at the expense of community lands and for this reason, periodically, there were revolts and massacres.
Given this, Billinghurst appointed a commission chaired by Gutiérrez, but his management was strongly resisted by the gamonales, who They fought him relentlessly. Then, the president was overthrown, Gutiérrez was left without a flat and was the victim of a tenacious persecution by the landed power.He hid and during 1915 he prepared an uprising in Azángaro and Huancané. He would have exploded prematurely, because he did not have a great scope, despite the fact that the leader adopted the title of "Rumi Maqui" and proclaimed himself general of the federal state of Tawantinsuyu. The previous year, he had converted to Methodism, formally entering this church with a speech that impresses with its biblical figures of moral struggle against the corruption of the human being.
The government sent troops to confront the rebellion, among its officers was Luis Sánchez Cerro, future president of the country. The Indians were easily beaten, Gutiérrez was captured and taken to Arequipa to stand trial. There he was lost. Some say that they killed him in prison, others that they opened the door for him to escape. Since then, the story has been confused. Some find him on a journey through the Andean communities of Bolivia, after staying in Chile. Other versions place him in Madre de Dios as a settler. The news is vague and depends on oral sources, someone reported having seen it. For its part, the family would have received the salary of the eldest after Sánchez Cerro himself granted this right. Until, at a certain moment, a daughter wrote that her father having died, she should stop this payment. Gutiérrez's military file is quite rich and has been worked on extensively by the historian Luis Bustamante, who wrote his thesis and has continued to investigate the subject.
His mysterious end has overshadowed the balance of his trajectory . But he seems to me to be an anti-oligarchic military man who anticipates the position that Velasco later specified. The key to his life would have been the military-peasant alliance in a revolutionary and religious key.