Disease, development, and defining indigenous identity : the emergence of machupo virus in post-revolutionary Bolivia

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michelle Welty Moore (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Hal Langfor

Abstract: One of the four Latin American Hemorrhagic Fevers, Machupo virus, emerged in 1959 as a hemorrhagic disease in the lowlands of eastern Bolivia. The primary factor in the emergence of Machupo virus into the human population was the development of the eastern lowlands, brought about by Bolivia’s National Revolution in 1952. The Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR) government encouraged mass migration to eastern Bolivia in the form of resettlement programs in an attempt to stimulate the development of agriculture. By 1959 when Machupo virus first emerged, the MNR had distributed over 400,000 parcels of uncultivated land under the Agrarian Reform Act. The resultant clearing of uncultivated lands by the indigenous population was the primary factor in the emergence of Machupo virus. The United States government, in response to the burgeoning communist threat in the middle of the twentieth century, provided direction, technological assistance, and economic aid in the colonization and development of Eastern Bolivia, the region endemic to Machupo virus. Focus shifted from indigenous resettlement to immigration in order to provide a population the West perceived as capable of successful agricultural development. This shift was in response to the image of Indians provided for the West in the accounts of nineteenth-century travel writers who explored the economic advantages of the eastern lowlands. Travel writers ascribed an identity to the indigenous population resulting in a status of less than second-class citizenship in the eyes of the West, limiting them to subsistence agriculture, which contributed to the emergence of Machupo virus.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Communicable diseases--Bolivia, Epidemiology, Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (Bolivia)
Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (Bolivia)
Communicable diseases -- Bolivia

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