Juan de la Rosa. Memoirs of the Last Soldier of the Independence


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Juan de la Rosa. Memorias del último soldado de la Independencia (Juan de la Rosa. Memoirs of the Last Soldier of the Independence) of Nataniel Aguirre (Cochabamba, Bolivia, 1843-Montevideo, Uruguay, 1888), was published in 1885 in Cochabamba. It is a novel that narrates essential facts of Bolivian national history, at the time of the first uprising for independence in Cochabamba. The events are counted by one of the surviving Bolivian rebels, Juan de la Rosa, who in his old age reconstructs his life in Cochabamba, the historical episodes between 1809 and 1811, the death of his mother, the Spanish repression, the resistance, victories and defeats in the war of independence.
The author recreates the daily life of Cochabamba, at the end of the 19th century, from fiction. The character remembers the historical process and the ideals that gave rise to the Bolivian republic; but it also puts in the voice of the «memory» the familiar spaces, the personal details and the tension between public and private life.
Some researchers, such as the Bolivian Gustavo García, maintain that the work does not belong to Nataniel Aguirre. According to García, Aguirre would have published the novel -whose true author would be Colonel Juan de la Rosa or Juan Altamirano Calatayud- and helped correct it.
The problem is that in the first edition, of 1885, there is no reference to Aguirre: the novel, entitled Cochabamba. Memorias del último soldado de la Independencia, is signed by Juan de la Rosa, who is the main character: Juanito, followed by the name of his mother Rosita.

(Description has been translated into English, Book edition is in Spanish)