The 200-year anniversary of Bolivia’s revolts against Spanish control in May 25, 1809 (Sucre), and July 16, 1809 (La Paz), coupled with the current political reorientations of President Evo Morales, has sparked renewed interest in the meaning of independence, citizenship, and political identity for the embattled Andean nation. As Bolivians look to their past as a guide to the future, independence and the sense of nation it engendered has taken a new importance with interpretations that rarely escape the prevailing political divisions at work. At the heart of these debates are questions such as what exactly is Bolivia’s national identity? Who were the progenitors of this identity, and to what extent do they represent the bulk of Bolivians?

It was against this backdrop that the late Bolivian historian and former diplomat José Luis Roca wrote Ni con Lima ni con Buenos Aires: La...

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