Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Crisis in Bolivia

One of my advisors is currently in Bolivia with some students, presumably doing some work in their area of study, medical anthropology, and it just so happens that a revolution has broken out there, which is more into my area of study (cultural anthropology). Bolivia's majority indigenous peoples, the Aymara and the Quechua, have decided that they have had enough of Western neoliberalism being forced upon them and have taken action, along with labor groups such as miners, in shutting down access to La Paz, forcing the resignation of President Mesa, and blocking access to a congressional convention in Sucre to appoint a new president. My professor and his students say they are physically safe as of now, but food may run out soon, and water may also soon become an issue. I told him that we will coordinate any assistance that they might need, via the US Embassy and local NGO's, should that become necessary, but hopefully things will ease up for them soon. This is a stark Latin American example of a majority, indigenous, population, being ruled by a minority, elite, Westernized oligarchy, which espouses neoliberal policies as a way of the maintenance of pseudo-democratic rule by the elite over the Indian majority of a nation; in this case the nation being Bolivia. Latin America has become increasingly resistant to neoliberal policies that export profits at the expense of the masses in favor of the few, with those few being of course our "traditional" allies, the generals, the dictators, the plantation owners, and so on. Seven Latin American nations have turned toward leftist style governments in recent years in response to so-called "free-market" style economics being thrust upon them by the power of the U.S. government and its multinational corporate allies, an economics of exploitation that the world has come to resist increasingly in recent years, as witnessed by events of Seattle in 1999, as well as anti-globalization protests in Europe and the rest of the world as of more recently. My hope is that the time of the Aymara and the Quechua has come in Bolivia, and that they can provide an example for indigenous peoples everywhere, in terms of self-determination, real democracy, and social and political justice for the poor of Latin America, and of all nations of the world.


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