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The Quechua poet Juan Wallparimachi Mayta’s background and tragic life are the stuff of legend. According to one account, he was of mixed Inka and Spanish parentage, and raised from a young age by Indians in the region of Potosí. He fell in love with the young wife of a wealthy Spanish mineowner, the story goes, and their passionate romance led to her being sent to a monastery in Arequipa. Wallparimachi is said to have gone off to fight in the independence wars in the guerrilla army of Manuel Ascencio Padilla and his wife, Juana Azurduy, in Chuquisaca. According to...

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