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Eustaquio Méndez: Military leader

Eustaquio “El Moto” Méndez was born in San Lorenzo in the Department of Tarija in 1784. He was a military commander during the war for Bolivian independence.

Méndez is a great Tarijeño hero. Today his home in San Lorenzo is a museum that is frequently visited by local tourists.

He was from a Creole family of planters. He lost his arm in a motorcycle accident that earned him the nickname of "El Moto," which is usually Spanish for motorcycle, but means "one-handed" in the local slang.


1784: Born in San Lorenzo

1812:Raises his own army and fights the royal army

1816: Wins the Battle of Sipe-Sipe

1816: The royal army takes Tarija

1818: Moves to Salta (Argentina)

1824: Captured by Gen. Olañeta

1824: Olañeta pardons him when he joins his ranks

1825: Returns to Tarija with the divisions commanded by the rebel Arenales. Later participates in the civil wars with José Ballivián

1841: Dies in the Battle of Santa Bárbara (Tarija)

Words to the song “Moto Méndez,” a cueca written by Nilo Soruco:

Soy de aquel
pueblo de las flores 
Del valle andaluz
Bañado de luz 
Ebrio de colores

Del valle andaluz 
Bañado de luz 
Ebrio de colores.

Viva mi valle florido
Que es jardín de amor 
De mozas de flor 
Y es un verde nido 
Que es jardín de amor 
De mozas de flor 
Y es un verde nido

Por el Moto Méndez 
Que nació en mi pueblo
Canto con el alma 
la cueca chapaca 
Viva San Lorenzo

Con el alma canto
la chapaca  cueca 
San Lorenzo viva

I am from the town of the flowers in the Andaluz Valley, bathed in light, besotted with color. Long live the flower-filled valley, the garden of love, of the most beautiful girls, and a verdant haven. I sing the Tarijeña cueca for Moto Méndez from my soul. Long live San Lorenzo.


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