After serving a sentence for spearheading a failed ethnic nationalist revolt in 2005, the rebel leader’s release from jail on Saturday sparked fears that he would later reemerge as a powerful political figure in Peru. The head of the so-called Ethnocacerist movement, which supports the ascent to power of underrepresented indigenous Peruvians, is 59-year-old Antauro Humala, the brother of former president Ollanta Humala.
The movement was influenced by the illustrious Inca Empire, a war hero from the nineteenth century, and a left-wing general who overthrew the government in 1968. In Andahuaylas, a city in the southern Andes, Antauro led an uprising in 2005. There, he and his supporters occupied a police station for several days. During the confrontation, four police officers died, and Antauro was put in jail.
Following his release, Antauro stated, “Now we are obviously outside and I can tell you that we all feel very proud of what we did in (our rebellion in) Andahuaylas,” Antauro, who is well known for that insurrection, also co-led a lesser uprising with Ollanta in 2000. Ollanta repeatedly refused to pardon his brother while he was president between 2011 and 2016. He dissociated himself from Antauro’s political stances and led as a centrist.
In Lima, Ollanta and Antauro were both raised in upper-middle-class homes by their father Ulises, who encouraged them to pursue careers in politics. Antauro made agreements with Peruvian parties to continue being politically relevant while incarcerated. Local media reported that he still has a small fan base and that some of them were waiting for his release outside the jail.
Although Peru’s prison administration INPE said the decision had been taken independently, current President Pedro Castillo expressed support for the idea of pardoning him during the campaign.