The long road to Castilla
Eduardo González Viaña
What is most remembered of Ramón Castilla is the manumission of black slaves and the abolition of the indigenous tribute when he held the presidency of the Republic, but this work narrates the “largo viaje” (long journey) he undertook when he was barely 20 years old when he was in Rio de Janeiro. He walked for 7 months through the jungles of Mato Grosso to get Lima where he wanted to join the royalist army in which he served. What made him change his flag? The novel recounts his encounter with an unknown world: the most abundant and diverse flora and fauna on the planet, the Amazonian natives, the black maroon free republics and the missions where, before their expulsion, the Jesuits had protected the Indians against slave traders. Perhaps in this long journey he discovered that this was his homeland and not Spain, whose cause he was defending.
According to Basadre, Ramón Castilla was practically the founder of the Republic. During his four presidential exercises, the diplomatic and consular service was organised, the public administration was reformed, the public budget was drawn up, the death penalty was abolished, the foreign debt was paid off, educational reform was initiated, the army was modernised and a naval force was established in the Pacific and the Amazon.
Dr. Cristóbal Aljovín de Losada, Dr. José Antonio Mazzotti, Dr. Beatriz Merino Lucero and the author himself, attended the presentation of the book.