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The Rarified Air of the ModernAirplanes and Technological Modernity in the Andes$
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Willie Hiatt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190248901

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190248901.001.0001

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Flying “Cholo”

Flying “Cholo”

(p.61) 3 Flying “Cholo”
The Rarified Air of the Modern

Willie Hiatt

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates how Cuzqueños employed flight to construct a modern identity built upon a unique claim to the past. Alejandro Velasco Astete’s September 1925 flight from Lima to his hometown of Cuzco elucidates how the Andean region perceived its role in a modernizing nation, as well as what “modern” meant to the heirs of Inca history. In the years before his arrival, Cuzco elites lamented Lima’s inattention, their dilapidated city infrastructure, and the failure to weave the majority indigenous population into the national fabric. The narrative of Velasco Astete’s arrival and death cast the pilot as a prototype for what many considered the Andean racial and cultural ideal. Cuzqueños began to contextualize flight within the Inca past—and like Inca remains, the materiality of airplanes mattered. They politicized his feat in the regional struggle with Lima and highlighted the socioeconomic stratification of Cuzco’s diverse social landscape.

Keywords:   Alejandro Velasco Astete, Lima, Cuzco, Andes, Cuzqueños, Inca history, indigenous population, regional struggles, socioeconomic stratification

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