Colonialism as instutionalized grand robbery – the case of Bolivia

As much as many other South American countries, Bolivia is rich in many precious minerals and metals such as silver, tin, lithium, gas, lead, mercury, etc, which is the single most important reason why this land was mined extensively since the Spaniards conquered indigenous population in the beginning of 16th century. As well as extensive mining, the Spanish rulers introduced slavery and took slaves to work at numerous mines across the Bolivian region. In the following years indigenous population was greatly reduced by violence and non-autochtone diseases, so Spaniards shipped in African slaves to replace them. Ever since, the slavery wasn’t completely abolished even though the mainstream claims 1831 was the year of slavery abolition in Bolivia. During the period of Spanish military conquest later posed as colonialism, Bolivia was robbed of unimaginable amount of their resources and fortune. This kind of resource piracy is going on undisrupted until this day.

The first written account of extensive abuse, mistreatment and executions of indigenous Bolivian people (as well as other misfortunate indigenous people) goes way back to 1552 and was written by Bartolomé da las Casas[1] (or Casuas, both used by the author himself). This saga about the cruelty of New World’s exploitation begins with the first territory conquered, the densely populated Caribbean island of Hispaniola (modern-day Dominican Republic and Haiti). Bartolomé claims in his book that millions of indigenous people were either killed by sword, unspeakable torture techniques, exhaustion or shipped to other colonies. As their population declined from millions to only several thousand, the conquerors imported Africans to replace them[2].

»The reader may ask himself if this is not cruelty and injustice of a kind so terrible that it beggars the imagination, and whether these poor people would not fare far better if they were entrusted to the devils in Hell than they do at the hands of the devils of the New World who masquerade as Christians.«

Bartolomé de las Casas, Spanish friar, 1542

It is extremely disturbing to learn that by the time Bartolomeo’s book was published, the destruction of South Americas indigenous people was practically complete. Can we find those in charge and responsible for this disaster done in the name of greed? Who were the rulers or Viceroys of Spain’s newly conquered territories? One of the most recognizable is certainly Francisco Álvarez de Toledo, whose family was admittedly »…married into other relevant european houses like those of Cosimo de Medici and the Dukes of Berwick, making them distant relatives of the Earl Spencer and the Dukes of Marlborough[3] As Alvarez family died out without a heir, their dukedom of Alba was passed on to the house of Fitz-James Stuart from the house of Stuart.

Another accountable Viceroy came from the House of Mendoza[4], Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, who was also among the Spanish nobility. House of Mendoza were the king’s vassals and received horses, money or land as a reward for outstanding military services. In addition to these rewards, the crown assigned them various positions in the administration of the kingdom, with the consequent income and privileges, which then enabled them to marry into other noble families. This Mendoza family had other viceroys of Peru appointed from their members, such as Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza y Cabrera, García Hurtado de Mendoza and then Juan de Mendoza y Luna.

Bolivia was always about mining the rich veins of precious metals. Until this process was mechanized, the underground work was done manually by enslaved indigenous people. As this was extremely intense physical labor within a dangerous environment at high altitudes, with miners completely exposed to all kinds of accidents and continuous presence of heavy metal dust particles, the life expectancy of such worker was expressed in months rather than years in the first period of colonialism conquest. That is why a Bolivian mountain Cerro Potossi was nicknamed as »the Mountain that eats man«. The number of displaced, enslaved and those worked to death, is estimated in millions of both indigenous people and their substitutes, African slaves.

At the same time, between 1493 and 1800, 71 percent of the world’s gold and 85 percent of its silver originated in the Americas[5].

Capture

Mexico and Potosí produced more than 99 percent of the New World’s total silver output. Although the mines of Mexico produced most of the silver over the entire colonial period, Potosí produced much more during the 16th and 17th centuries[6]. So who were the owners of Bolivian mines, profiteering immensely off of slave work?

In the initial phase of conquering South Americas, started by Cristobal Colon a.k.a. Christopher Columbus, all mines were owned by the Spanish crown. During 16th, 17th and 18th century Spain was dominated by the Habsburgs.

In more recent period, there were 5 important mining companies, national and international: the Patiño Mines and Enterprises Consolidated, Compagnie Aramayo de Mines en Bolivie, the Guggenheim‘s Caracoles Tin Company of Bolivia, Compañía Minera y Agrícola Oploca de Bolivia and Empresa de Estaño Araca. The Big Three of the Bolivian mine owners in 19th and 20th century were companies of Patiño, Hochschild, and Aramayo.

Patiño Mines company was established by Simón Iturri Patiño, who is completely scrubbed beyond his mother María Patiño and his father Eugénio Iturri. Simón was nicknamed »The Andean Rockefeller« or alternatively »The Tin King«. He was twice married, with his first wife scrubbed as N.N. and his second wife Albina Rodríguez Ocampo, who is mother of Antenor Patiño Rodríguez. Antenor married María Cristina Christina de Borbón y Bosch-Labrús, III Duquesa de Cabral, whose great-great grandfather was Carlos IV, king of Spain. Through Carlos IV and his wife we have a connection to the French part of Bourbon family and though them to Radziwiłł family.

Moritz Hochschild is admittedly Jewish[7] with his family ancestors traceable to 18th century Germany. He had two brothers: Berthold Hochschild, who founded the American Metal Company and Zachary Hochschild, a partner in Metallgesellschaft AG, a German-based metal trading company inherited by his uncle Wilhelm Ralph Merton[8] from his father-in-law Philip Abraham Cohen.

Aramayo family mining business was allegedly started by José Avelino Aramayo and further developed by his son Felix Avelino Aramayo Vega and grandson Carlos Victor Aramayo. They scrubbed the link of José’s wife[9], Coloma Vega as the daughter of Nicolás Vega Corrado, general. Nicolás was married into a noble Furque family, but his wife Isabel Furque Sarmiento was also a Castro on her mother’s side and then further scrubbed.

The suffrage (voting rights) in Bolivia was bound to literacy of the voter until such discriminatory rule was abolished with the »revolution« of 1952. This was PTB’s perfect plan for how to install their own leader in a seemingly independent nation using »democratic« elections – Aniceto Arce Ruiz de Mendoza was for instance both a President of Bolivia during 1888-92 and a silver mining tycoon as much as his predecessor Gregorio Pacheco Leyes, who suceeded his presidential chair from his own cousin, General Narciso Campero Leyes. (Interesting to note here is the surname of Mendoza, which is the same surname of at least three Viceroys of Peru mentioned above and who also ruled colonial conquered Bolivian territory at the time). In the same historic period[10], only 30,000 out of approximately 2 million Bolivian citizens had a right to vote. How hard do you think it was for PTB to buy these few thousand votes and install their own peons as presidents of such country? I believe it was incredibly easy. The only difference in such politics between then and now is that in modern times, they offer you two (or more) candidates to choose from as the illusion of choice with all candidates compromised from the start.

Social disturbances of 1950’s and 1960’s were especially detrimental for the Bolivian people, even though this period came after the National revolution of 1952, by which the Bolivian state implemented nationalization of all mines and land leases. During this period and prior to it there was a line of presidents coming from the military ranks. As listed in periodical order of their presidency: José Luis Tejada Sorzano 1932-35 (lawyer appointed by the military), José David Toro Ruilova 1936-37, Germán Busch Becerra 1937-39, Carlos Quintanilla Quiroga 1939-40, Enrique Peñaranda del Castillo 1940-43, Gualberto Villarroel López 1934-46, Hugo Ballivián Rojas 1951-52, Alfredo Ovando Candía 1964-66 and 1969-70, René Barrientos Ortuño 1966-69 and many more coming afterward, but I will digress here as I think you should be getting the point by now – normal society is never led by a general and his millieu. What would you say if you knew that General Hugo Banzer employed none other than notorious Nazi official Nicholaus »Klaus« Barbie a.k.a. »The butcher of Lyon« to help him with repression[11] of Bolivians? It made me quite upset when I learned about it and it might have provoked the same feeling in you. Let me then point to a quote from Banzer’s wiki entry: »…he [Benzer] was the first former dictator in Latin America’s recent history to transition successfully to democratic politics and return to power by way of the ballot box«. That is some pitch black Intel humor right there, unfortunately sad and true in the case of Bolivians.

Bolivian independence as »declared« or »won« is only semantical in character as it actually never happened in my opinion. After the independence was declared in 1825, the presidents of Bolivia were ever since mostly mining tycoons, oligarchs, generals or other military officers, who never took care of Bolivian natives nor country. Before the independence, there were all Spanish Phoenician rulers a.k.a. Viceroys, who were even worse governors, taking great care only about the extraction of silver or gold and shipping it to Europe. When independence was declared, it basically and factually changed nothing significant for native Bolivians – they were still mistreated, uneducated, underpaid or enslaved and their country further robbed of vast fortunes, just like before. All of the tyrants together have joined their efforts and succeeded in shaping one of the most mineral-rich countries of this world into one of the world’s poorest and under-developed countries.

Ironically, the vast fortune was not enough for the rulers as they made Bolivia one of the poorest and most under-developed country in the South America during the process of getting incredibly rich. This is why I look forward to the day when native people of Bolivia and entire South America will stand up, united against the continuous tyranny and expel all those profit-craving capitalist parasites from their homeland.

 


Endnotes:

[1]   https://vexmansthoughts.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/bartolome-de-las-casas-short-account-of-the-destruction-of-the-indies.pdf  ; This is a PDF book authored by Francis Augustus MacNutt and first published in 1909, titled “Bartholomew de Las Casas; his life, apostolate, and writings”. In it the author biographically explores Bartholomew’s life with extended commentary. The last section of the book is a translation of Bartholomew’s short treatise published in 1552 in Seville under the title of “Brevissima Relacion de la Destruycion de las Indias”, and which “recited in brief form his accusations against the conquerors and his descriptions of the cruelties that formed the groundwork of all his writings”, as MacNutt eloquently wrote about it.

There is another translation of “A short account of the destruction of Indies” available here online: http://www.columbia.edu/~daviss/work/files/presentations/casshort/  , edited and translated by Nigel Griffin, first published in 1992.

[2]   Ibid; Francis MacNutt reported in his book that in a single year of 1786 there were 42,000 African slaves shipped to Americas.

[3]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:%C3%81lvarez_de_Toledo_family

[4]   https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casa_de_Mendoza

[5]   Barrett, Ward, “World Bullion flows, 1450-1800”. In Tracy, James D. “The Rise of Merchant Empires, long-distance trade in the early modern world, 1350-1750”, Cambridge University Press, 1990

[6]   John Te Paske, John and Kendall W. Brown (Ed.) “A New World of Gold And Silver”, Brill, 2010

[7]   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moritz_Hochschild#Early_life

[8]   With original name Raphael Lyon Moses until 1856 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Ralph_Merton#Early_life_and_education

[9]   I found it here: https://giorgetta.ch/dinastia_aramayo.htm

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Bolivia_(1809%E2%80%931920)#Reconstruction_under_the_rule_of_the_Conservatives,_1880-1899

[11]   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/sep/10/bolivia-germany

7 thoughts on “Colonialism as instutionalized grand robbery – the case of Bolivia

  1. Well done Vexman! At this point, I’m of the opinion that each “country” is just another plantation owned by these old jewish/crypto jewish families. The countries are designated a name but that is only for the illusion of the locals. The nationalization of companies is another scheme where taxpayer money is injected into the nationalized company and then it eventually is “privatized” at a bargain price by the same old families is my hunch.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yet another great piece Vexman. Have enjoyed and learned much from your papers here and through your comments at Cutting. You never cease to amaze me. I thank you for your hard work and steady hand in some tricky matters on Cutting and for enlightening me even further.

    Have dabbled in South America’s history and certainly know about our (US) involvement there through the years. Of course most of that knowledge had to come with a large grain of salt, since it was delivered by the black mass media in my own country. Did not know much about Bolivia and this paper lends its light to the ongoing events there presently and ongoing ones elsewhere on the continent. For some reason the word Lithium jumped off the page before I ever started the read and knew exactly where this was going.

    You and I both wish for the indigenous peoples of South America to rise up and in essence they have at times. But their numbers are few and their enslavement treacherous. Plus The Powers have fortified their ranks with the upper class cronies of the families, military and business class. Ironically, given the odds, my money would still be on the South American indigenous people rising up…long before we here in the west ever even think of it. Yes, still beating the same drum! Again, thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I concur with wayne you are great vexman. I found your site via cuttingfog and its great reading.

    I wonder though if the time before the spanish came was any better, the inka empire was cruel beyond belief and not to mention the aztecs, mayans etc. Dont know if you know this but columbus was genoese, vespucci was that too I think. Lots of genoese and venician people went to americas as explorers. They sell columbus as a spanish for example wonder why huh…the conquistadors like pizarro and cortez has also a mysterious past.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words.

      I doubt the official Inka story as much as anything in connection to the mainstream his-story. It’s more likely that the real truth about Inka empire is upside-down as we have seen in many cases.

      Yes, I knew that about Columbus. His real name seems to be Cristobal Colon or Cristoffa Corombo in Ligurian. Born on halloween in 1541, I’m really suspicious of him as much as of any of those you mentioned – Pizzaro, Cortez or Vespucci. Haven’t really looked into them, but I encourage you to look into them yourself and maybe post your findings here.

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      1. I have to cut it short since I have a pizza in the oven but from just evidence and logical thinking there was most likely global trade thousands of years ago since they have found cocain and tobacco in the tombs of pyramids of pharaohs. So the PTB most likely had it all mapped out. And also the ottomans (were ottoman rulers cryptos?) took constantinople in 1453 so venice and genoa had their trade cut off. So they needed new ways. And just out of a coincidence portugal started “exploring” along with spain. And the whole story about a few horsebois from andalusia could take down an empire with millions of people – yeah that sounds like bs to me. Perhaps the incan/mayan rulers were in on it?

        The official story is that agriculture started about 12 000 years ago but im very skeptical of that.

        From my gut instinct, there is probably meteors, or big earth changes, climate etc that kind of resets everything on a regular basis. Idk there are so many theories out there:P

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  4. Hi,
    My first time on your website with this article, i agree with what you say except for the new world part. North and South America was heavily populated by humans, so old world would be more exact.

    The Amazon forest is only 500 years old according to the official narrative, with the latest tesing revealling there are some trees that are upto 1000 years old.Before 1500 there was no Amazon forest because of human population using the land for agrigulture etc. Amazon geoglyphs are being revealed through illegal logging/deforestation etc which shows human presence contradicting the official narrative.They also say the Amazon forest is the lungs of the world, not true.All the co2 produced by the forest is used by the forest in respiration.
    An interesting piece of info, Oxford university is older than the Inca civilisation, so they say, do you believe it? i dont.

    Before the 1600’s the official narrative on history cannot be trusted, as History implies, its his story.
    I have much more info i could share but comments section is not the place, and 1 of the best parts of truth seeking is the journey and where it takes you, i will leave you 2 links for you to check, 1 is from Charles R. Clement an actual expert on the Amazon forest,2 form the Department of Geography University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    https://inpa.academia.edu/CharlesRClement
    http://www2.nau.edu/~alcoze/for398/class/pristinemyth.html

    Thx for your time

    Map

    Like

    1. Hi,
      I was just wondering if there are any critical voices about current situation from here (Slovenia) at all when I found your post about germ theory and i liked it. As of Bolivia I have spent more than half of a year there on four different occasions, all from 2012 to 2017. Besides Ecuador it was my favorite South American country and the situation is worsening in both of them lately. I have Bolivian friends so I am getting some information from the ground and I am worried about the upcoming elections in Bolivia which might be stolen even easier now when the virus hysteria is covering a lot of ongoing shit.
      Would be happy if you contact me (guess you have my email since I had to provide it).
      We speak your language! 🙂

      Like

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