With the new book Evo’s Bolivia: Continuity and Change, authors Linda Farthing and Benjamin Kohl achieve an admirable balance of providing an excellent entry point for those with little background in Bolivia as well as key insights for scholars and activists with a long history in the country.
“We’ve become leaders of [Conamaq] during difficult years … but here we stand. As long as we have energy, the struggle continues. We will not sell ourselves to any government or political party.” – Mama Nilda Rojas, Conamaq indigenous movement leader.
Julieta Ojeda is a part of Mujeres Creando, an anarchist/feminist organization in Bolivia that has been a radical voice for women’s rights before and throughout Evo Morales’ time in office. We interviewed her in La Paz in the midst of various social protests against the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) government.
Are there alternatives to this re-embrace of state-led capitalism? Evo Morales gained international attention by staking a strong discursive claim that global climate change was the result of the sins of capitalism. He posed indigenous cosmovision as the alternative: he declared that by embracing indigenous notions of reciprocity and communality, societies could learn to “live well” and sustainably instead of trying to live “better” than others through increased consumption.
From the Mines to the Streets provides an engaging introduction to twentieth-century Bolivian political developments that will deepen activists’ appreciation of this country. Written from the perspective of a passionate dedication to social justice, this is a key text to understand Latin American struggles.
In the last two decades, the best agricultural lands in Bolivia have been put into commercial production by large-scale producers closely linked to foreign investors, particularly Brazilians. Foreigners now control more than one million hectares of prime agricultural and ranching lands in Bolivia, primarily in the eastern lowland department of Santa Cruz, an important agro-export region dominated by transnational corporations.
The political victories of anti-neoliberal movements and regimes have opened a new chapter in Latin American history, yet the embrace of extractive industries has generated deep paradoxes for those committed to addressing inequality and the crisis of nature.
In light of Evo Morales’ May Day expulsion of USAID from Bolivia, here is a look back to the Harry Truman administration’s work to undermine Bolivia’s transformative National Revolution in 1952. This history’s legacy lives on; Washington’s power is woven into the fabric of Bolivian politics, from the dreams and nightmares of the National Revolution, into the MAS era of today.
From the Mines To the Streets draws on the life of Félix Muruchi from his birth in an indigenous family in 1946, just after the abolition of bonded labor, through the next sixty years of Bolivia’s turbulent history. As a teenager, Félix followed his father into the tin mines before serving a compulsory year in the military, during which he witnessed the 1964 coup d’état, and returned to the mines and became a union leader. The reward for his activism was imprisonment, torture, and exile. After he came home, he participated actively in the struggles against neoliberal governments, which led to the inauguration of Evo Morales as Bolivia’s first indigenous president.
As the global climate change discourse heated up in Doha at the COP18, the lived reality of climate change was becoming more apparent in some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems. In Bolivia, a country unfortunately well acquainted with the effects of global warming, the COP discourse is more relevant now than ever.