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In the aftermath of the revolution of 1952 and the agrarian reform of 1953, the historically marginalized rural majorities in the highlands and valleys found an ally in the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (mnr) government and received the promise of “modernization” if they would exchange their ancestral “indigenous” identity for the class status of “peasants.” Yet despite the overhaul of the land-tenure regime, by the 1960s, the illusions of progress began to dissipate. Above all on the Aymara altiplano, different organizations began to pursue a more autonomous course, and they adopted the name of kataristas, in honor of...

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