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Definition of Huasipunguero

Huasipunguero is a term from the country of Ecuador . Its meaning can have two different connotations that have some points of convergence, but they are not the same.

One of the definitions of huasipunguero is, peasant who works the land that is not his property and the other: inhabitant of the huasipungo.

The use of huasipunguero is almost exclusive to the Ecuadorian region because its origin is Quechua. In this dialect, huasipungo comes from two words huasi which means “house” and pungo which is “patio”. For this reason it is interpreted as a house with a large patio or a “small piece of land”.

Neither of the two terms is widely used outside of Ecuador, therefore, it has not been accepted as an official word in the Spanish language.

The huasipunguero and labor exploitation

The huasipungueros belonged to a system in which the owner of a large piece of land handed over small plots to each huasipunguero, these lands were normally almost useless. In addition, whoever received the plot had to work it and deliver the product to their employer.

The huasipunguero, in addition to working, built his home in the place he was granted. From this perspective, he focused his entire life on the land in order to run a farm.

The work of each huasipunguero had very little reward , since, in addition to the possibility of living in the place, they were awarded a paltry salary. This labor exploitation mainly victimized the indigenous people.

Huasipungo, a novel about the huasipungueros

Huasipungo is a novel by the Ecuadorian writer Jorge Icaza Coronel. This work crudely portrays the exploitation that the Huasipungueros lived and is set in Ecuador in the first decades of the 20th century.

The huasipungueros who are depicted in the novel suffered very bad treatment by their employers and lived in inhumane conditions. Despite their work, their employers did not appreciate them and wanted to expel them from the land to carry out other projects. This initiative raised a great rebellion that is the center of the plot of the work.