Bolivia: Plan 3000 – Resistance and Social Change at the Heart of Racism

Source: Americas Program

In the middle of a racist city of white elites, the nucleus of the agro-export oligarchy, Plan 3000 is an immense and poor suburb of almost 300,000 inhabitants mostly of Aymara, Quechua, and Guarani descent; a microcosm composed of 36 Bolivian ethnic groups. It is a city that—in the name of the struggle against inequality—the residents of Plan 3000 resist the machista, oppressive, and violent culture of the local elite.


"At 12 o’clock in la rotonda, where the marker stone with the Bolivian flag is," Junior told me. And so I tell the taxi driver "Take me to la rotonda." Beginning in the old city quarter characterized by the elegant 24 de septiembre plaza, the cathedral and public buildings of distinct colonial design, we cross the eight rings of the city and advance into an almost completely desolate area, with dirt roads perforated by machines digging ditches and remodeling. A scorching sun torments la rotonda, a circle 15 meters in diameter consisting of dirt scattered about by the wind and a half a dozen short palm trees.

As cars, microbuses,and city buses circle around honking their horns, venders shouting in the market advertise their products. Thick beads of sweat run down my entire body making the wait seem both endless and stifling. Junior approaches me with a smile on his face, politely stretching out his hand and we decide to walk through the market to look for a place to converse in the shade. We cross Che Guevara Avenue and slip into the labyrinth of stands, jumping over enormous puddles.

Resting upon muddy ground wet from foul-smelling water, on top of wooden stools, and underneath roofs of sheet metal and canvas is a collection of food stands offering fruits, vegetables, chicken, red meat, and infinite types of Andean grains and potatoes as well as an unlimited amount of foods handled with simple gestures by women in long skirts. Several stands, interspersed among the others, sell clothes, stereo equipment, DVDs, notebooks and pens, decorations, an assortment of accessories, soap, and music originating from the most incredible mestizo artists.

It is undeniably reminiscent of la Ceja de El Alto, in La Paz, the downtown area of the most indigenous and combative city of Latin America. Many say that Plan 3000 is the El Alto of Santa Cruz, but from the inside the differences are as noticeable as the similarities. In any case, Plan 3000 was a bastion that the cruceñista (people of Santa Cruz) paramilitaries could not defeat. In September of 2008, it became a new symbol of popular resistance in Latin America.

The "Miami" of Bolivia

A natural disaster was what gave rise to the most populated and extensive suburb of Santa Cruz. The 1983 flooding of the Pirai River forced 3,000 families to relocate to a semi-urban zone far away from the city center, which immediately earned the name Plan 3000. They built their houses and streets but had to purchase water once or twice a week from private vendors. "It was an abandoned area, land fit for planting crops, ranching, and sugar cane," says Junio Pérez, a young agricultural engineer and Plan youth group activist.

Migrants from all over the country began to arrive soon after, when in 1985 the continent’s first neoliberal government closed the mines, the country’s main source of wealth. However, those affected by the droughts, poor cambas and collas (people from the lowlands and highlands, respectively) born in the most remote corners of the country, also arrived.1 In addition Guaranis, Chiquitanos, and Ayoreos, among many other ethnic groups, came to the new suburb from the interior of the department of Santa Cruz. "This is a multicultural community," Junior assures me. "We went from an initial 10,000 inhabitants to some 250,000, without public services, no drainage, no paved roads. There’s a lot of flooding and now we’re going through a dengue epidemic."2

Nonetheless, the new settlers were joining a society which was "stratified, aristocratic, and dominated by a barter economy creating an urban-feudal environment."3 Santa Cruz is distinct. Founded in 1561 by Spanish soldiers, it had two characteristics that forged its identity: strong geographic isolation and the absence of natural resources. This is what maintained the city as a colonial enclave with a stratified social order in which social differences—based not on the size of one’s wallet, but the color of one’s skin—were emphasized on a symbolic level.

"The proximity of one’s residential zone to the plaza, one’s manner of dress, and the exemption or lack thereof from having to work in a city where economic differences were limited represented decisive points of view which marked the rank of each person within the social order."4 In short, Santa Cruz consisted of a colonial and "civilized" island surrounded by "savages," as far away from the Altiplano, which was the economic and political center, as it is from Buenos Aires, capital of the viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata on which it depended since 1776. In the 1870s, the political movement headed by Andrés Ibáñez, inspired by the French Revolution, founded the "Egalitarians" party in opposition to the class structures of the city.

Ibáñez proposed the abolition of indigenous slavery and the distribution of land unexploited by landowners. Although he had many followers, he was attacked by the local oligarchy and persecuted by the central authorities who executed him in 1877. Up until the Chaco War (1932-35) between Bolivia and Paraguay, Santa Cruz remained isolated from the rest of the country. With the revolution of 1952 the feudal class system was replaced by an electoral one and the region became modernized, experiencing rapid economic growth.

In 1950 Santa Cruz had 41,000 residents; in 1998 it had over a million. Forty percent are collas who come from the Altiplano and the valleys; another 40% are migrants from the interior of the department; and the rest are cambas, Mennonites, and Japanese. In 1952 Santa Cruz represented 3% of Bolivia’s Gross National Product (GNP); in 2004 it topped 30%, thanks to the exportation of gas to Brazil and Argentina, and its agricultural production, chiefly livestock and soy. Although material commodities have become modernized, mentalities evolve a lot more slowly: a modern society coexists with a feudal mentality.

A good example of this mentality is the Miss Bolivia pageant, which Santa Cruz prides itself on winning. For the last 12 years, the city has taken first place. Gabriel Oviedo, Miss Bolivia 2003, said that she represents "the other Bolivia," not the "indigenous one," since in the east they are "white, tall, and speak English." A 23-year-old law student said something very similar: "Bolivians come to Santa Cruz because it is like a Miami to them."5

Sociologist Andrés Waldmann, a German who has been living in Santa Cruz for 10 years and wrote a notable thesis about the culture of the elites, arrived at a perceptive conclusion: "A homogenous, provincial, and class-based society has been replaced by another, urban and structurally heterogeneous in nature, in which contrasts coexist in disarray; between luxury and misery, well-maintained private facilities and their dilapidated public counterparts, organization and chaos, and between structures of pre-Hispanic and modern life."6

In general it can be said that a hub of modern capitalist growth has been developed in Santa Cruz that feels different and superior to the Indigenous west of Bolivia, which is considered a burden for the country. However, there’s more to it than that: the cambas of Santa Cruz are now a minority in their own city, something that can be deduced from its urban design. The city was laid out around a central plaza, to which the indigenous gained access only a few years ago, and a collection of concentric rings: the first three rings make up the consolidated city and the fourth is a transition zone, however there are already eight rings in total.

Besides being in the minority, the cambas feel surrounded by these indigenous groups, by collas who they despise … and fear. The Santa Cruz elite illegally took possession of lands intended for the agrarian reform of 1953, estimated between 30 and 50 million hectares, and this is the basis of their wealth. Since the coup d’état of 1971 led by General Hugo Bánzer, supporters of the takeover have always come from Santa Cruz, which remains to this day the hometown of all elected agricultural ministers past and present.

The demand for autonomy has two aspects. In the first place, it is an attempt to control the hydrocarbon resources though the Direct Tax of Hydrocarbons (IDH, Impuesto Directo a los Hidrocarburos), the root of the confrontation with Evo Morales’s government. Secondly, it is an effort to distance themselves from La Paz and the Altiplano, which has been a focal point for the most important rebellions starting with Tupaj Katari in 1781. In a way this is a strategy to establish a "dividing wall" that protects the interests of the local elites.

Within this contradictory scene unfolds one of the continent’s primary conflicts: between a rich, racist, and exclusive elite and a multicultural society that is democratizing social and cultural relations while attempting to overcome economic inequality.

Confronting the Civic Coup

Eduardo Loayza, director of Radio Integración, has been living in Plan 3000 for 14 years. The radio station was donated by the government in the face of the right wing’s monopoly over the media and is managed by 11 social organizations that spend only $1,000 every month to keep it on the air. "There’s more change, more movement, more circulation, but above all the people have become more aware of politics. This was a time bomb that had to be defused before it detonated. But in the end what had to happen, happened. The oligarchy itself is to blame."7

Discrimination toward the collas began to grow substantially when Evo Morales became president in January of 2006. "For three years there has been aggression toward protests and social leaders; cowardly aggressions used to intimidate us, groups of 20 with baseball bats," says Junior. He maintains that the youth of the neighborhood, along with the rest of the inhabitants, began to defend themselves from attacks from the Santa Cruz Youth Union (UJC, Unión Juvenil Cruceñista), a civil group with paramilitary characteristics.

In the end, the year 2008 will be known as the breaking point. Remmy González, engineer and former vice minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, who was born in La Paz but migrated to Santa Cruz decades ago, believes that the right-wing’s offensive was unified and covered all fronts. "Last year they decided to economically interfere with Evo’s government by increasing inflation in January and February. Soy is the primary food source for cattle; it sets the price of meat, cooking oil, and milk, and because of the speculation those prices began to rise. At the same time they were claiming autonomy."8

González was appointed to lower the inflation, which he achieved, looking to the small and medium-sized producers who provide the majority of basic foodstuffs. "The Food Production Support Company (EMAPA, Empresa de Apoyo a la Producción de Alimentos) was created, which has processed their meats, sold their rice, and which now has a wheat flour mill. It also decides prices on the basis of production costs, and even so they make a profit. Nonetheless, it’s not enough to purchase all the production, and EMAPA is only involved in the production of 20% of all foodstuffs. If the remaining 80% comes to an agreement [on price setting], there’s no way to lower prices," says Remmy.

EMAPA would have to build its own silos and plants to process oil, an investment that the state is now in a position to make. However, they do not have personnel trained at the management level. "In the company, Aceite Fino, the manager earns 50,000 Bolivianos. I was production manager at EMAPA and my wage was 7,000 Bolivianos. It’s very difficult to find high-quality professionals. And politically speaking, people that have reached that level of knowledge don’t want to work for this government."9 Remmy still endures harassment from neighbors for having worked in the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development.

In Plan 3000 the real confrontations started on May 4th of that decisive year. On that day the Pro Santa Cruz Committee (Comité Pro Santa Cruz) and the Santa Cruz prefecture called an illegal referendum for the approval of a Statute of Departmental Autonomy.10 The Committee tends to convene "civic strikes" in which the UJC assumes the role of law enforcement, forces businesses to close, beats those who dissent, and uses violence to prevent popular demonstrators from reaching the central plaza. They usually leave graffiti with the slogan "collas de mierda" ("dirty collas").

That day in Plan 3000, due to the threats of an attack from the UJC, a defensive watch was organized to begin at 5 o’clock in the morning. Inspired by protest music, an estimated crowd of 10,000 concentrated in la rotunda to prevent the cruceñistas from wreaking havoc. Until that point in time the roving gangs of the UJC had only confronted small groups or isolated individuals whom they invariably beat up and humiliated. They had never dared to come face to face with a large crowd.

The separatist right-wing sectors were gaining ground. On August 15th, while two-thirds of Bolivians confirmed the presidency of Evo Morales in a referendum, members of the UJC brutally beat the Santa Cruz police commander to the ground as it was being filmed. "In that moment the real dimension of the ‘state crisis’ in those departments came to light."11 Around the end of August and the beginning of September the regional strikesbecame stronger in Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, and Tarija, demanding the refund of IDH funds since the government had decided to use that money to finance pensions for the retired.

Evo could not get to five of the nine departments because crowds of dissidents blocked the airports. Between September 9th and 11th it seemed as though the right wing was prepared to capsize the government from the streets: they seized institutions, destroyed state offices, and occupied airports, persecuting and shooting the opposition. In Santa Cruz offices belonging to TV station Canal 7 and the state radio were destroyed. Public offices as well as those of local unions, pro-government political parties, peasant movements, and NGOs were surrounded, set on fire, and blasted with dynamite.

The remnants of the headquarters of the Federation of Ethnic Peoples of Santa Cruz (Confederación de Pueblos Etnicos de Santa Cruz) and the damage done to the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples from Eastern Bolivia (Confederación Indígena del Oriente Boliviano) can still be seen, even though they are located far from downtown. During those intense days, movement members along with government and NGO employees took refuge in Plan 3000 because it was the only place they felt safe.

However, on September 11th the right-wing sector went too far when they took part in the massacre of a peasant march in Pando resulting in 17 deaths; defenseless peasants were killed by bursts of machine gun fire. Witnesses assure that on that day the poor people of Bolivia felt it was time to act, to end what Evo denounced as a "civic coup" against institutions. The government expelled the U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel condemned as the great articulator of the opposition, declared Pando in a state of siege, and mobilized the military. All South American presidents issued their support for these actions through UNASUR.

In Plan 3000 there was enormous tension. On the 10th the separatists surrounded and took the bus terminal, "kicking out whoever resisted inside while the group of police stood by and did nothing."12 The neighbors clearly understood that if they did not defend themselves, no one would. That same day several buses filled with "unionists" arrived through numerous entrances to the city, beating their shields with sticks to frighten the people.

Junior was in la rotunda and remembers the events of that day. It began early with the defensive watch, but the most intense confrontation happened at noon: "They arrived with antiriot shields and high-powered 12 caliber rockets capable of breaking through brick and tin and reaching a distance of 50 meters, and that’s how they began to attack. They made us retreat back two blocks. In the meantime some older compañeros fell down and were beat up. Then came the backlash. We screamed, got organized ourselves, and began to advance. We managed to fight them hand-to-hand, freeing our compañeros who were taken prisoner and taking prisoners of our own. We regained our ground and forced them to draw back about three blocks. That’s when the police, who protect them, had to step in, forming a little fence around them."

"The radio transmitted every battle," explains Eduardo Loayza. "They had already burned Patria Nueva and Canal 7, and they wanted to burn our radio station. The only thing left to do was to organize and call on the people to defend it. The people responded. They called us from all over to explain what was happening: ‘a dark car with unionists just passed by, they’re carrying rockets, such and such bus is carrying walkie-talkies.’ Our numbers were growing because the radio acted as the eyes of the people, its hands, everything. There were thousands of us, women, young people, and children, with their makeshift tin shields ready to fight … a beautiful image that will endure throughout history."

Afterward it was discovered that the objective was to take la rotunda in order to prepare for the arrival of Branko Marinkovic, president of the Pro Santa Cruz Committee, who had already written his speech. According to legend, he was going to proclaim, "There is nothing here, we are the majority here," but the people of Plan 3000 resisted and it is now a symbol and a bastion of multicultural Bolivia.

Fragments of a New World

The September crisis was resolved in favor of the government and the popular sectors. During the most heated days, Bolivia’s oppressed mobilized themselves with an impressive siege on Santa Cruz. "In the north, they advanced from Chapare, Cochabambino. In the east they marched from San Julián, Cuatro Cañadas, and other municipalities. In the southwest, from the provinces of the Mesothermic Valleys. From the southeast the participation of the Guaranis deserves special mention."13 With machetes in hand, they discussed entering the central plaza of Santa Cruz "to teach them a lesson."

Participating in the siege was an estimated 30,000, including indigenous groups, peasants, settlers, those without land, small merchants, urban and rural workers, and students. A fraction came from inside the department of Santa Cruz itself: Guarayos, Chiquitanos, and Guaranis, in addition to the 20,000 that were mobilized in Plan 3000. In one way or another, the siege on Santa Cruz recreated Tupaj Katari’s famous siege on colonial La Paz two centuries ago. For this reason, the separatist elites should always live in fear.

The social movement originating in Plan 3000 established itself within an enormous informal network of dense social relations, immersed in day-to-day life. The strongest movement is that of the "guilds," the market workers who rely on an organized group of 3,000. Neighborhood committees exist in the majority of the 107 neighborhoods, which are trying to resolve electricity, drainage, and road maintenance issues. Currently they are discussing the creation of the Quinta Sección Municipal (Fifth Municipal Section) that would grant Plan 3000 legal autonomy. They propose to rename it "Ciudad Igualitaria Andrés Ibáñez."

"Mostly everyone lives their life working from one day to the next, doing informal work such as in small irregular shops, cleaning houses, washing clothes, construction, plumbing … If they don’t earn money one day, they won’t have food the next. There are many rooms rented out to entire families who pay 250 Bolivianos, and the average family has 5 children. The streets are maintained by the people. They deal with health, water, trash, and above all, security issues for all citizens," assures Junior.

To understand how the residents of a poor suburb resisted and defeated a powerful oligarchy, it seems necessary to forget about the great feats and instead focus on the way in which everyday life unfolds.14 Thanks to Beti Zaire, a 30-year-old teacher born in La Paz who migrated to Plan 3000 at the age of 10, it is possible to learn more about that day-to-day life. Beti lives in Toro Toro, one of the primary neighborhoods of Plan 3000 just a few blocks from la rotunda. Her neighborhood consists of around 1,000 families but her life revolves around the block where her mother Felicidad’s business is situated; that is to say, her life is closely intertwined with that of some other 50 families.

Felicidad owns a small corner store where she mainly sells food to neighbors, and she records the purchases of those who cannot pay in full in a notebook. These families make their payments as soon as they receive their weekly or biweekly salary. When someone is not able to pay, that person visits her at her house as many times as necessary until they convince her to settle the debt. In any case, the existence of a debt does not imply that their relationship deteriorates or ends.

Before owning her own shop Felicidad used to sell candy outside the entrance of schools, parties, and clubs, inside and outside of Plan 3000. Although her father, a handicapped construction worker unable to work, and her mother speak Aymara, Beti no longer has a good command of the native language. The rest of the families on the block come from the most diverse corners of the country: La Paz, Sucre, and Cochabamba, although there are also cambas and families from central Santa Cruz. Felicidad is a representative of the neighborhood but does not hold an official position in any institution.

The relationships between neighboring families are very tight. When someone becomes sick, a very common occurrence in areas lacking sanitation and potable water, the other neighbors on the block bring food, medicine, and sometimes money to help with the most urgent expenses. But above all they bring "advice and company, which is most important, because we are all very close," says Beti. More than material support, company, conversation, or simply "being there" seem to be the most important virtues. The women of the neighborhood tend to resort to both pills and medicinal herbs as a way to cure disease, but the latter are not "consumed" like medicine because they are associated with a worldview that is transmitted by word of mouth, through long and intimate dialogues concerning the different herbs’ advantages.

In the area where Beti lives a neighborhood committee meets in the plaza only when there are important issues to decide on. The last assembly in which she participated was to debate about water meters. The water system was not installed by the state utility but by the community itself through its cooperative, Coplan. However, with meters they have to pay much more than before. For this reason they demand that if the meters are installed the old piping be replaced.

The president of the committee is a retired, elderly man who has enough time to do municipal administrative work for his neighbors. It is an honorary position, as with all the neighborhood committees. His neighbors elected him because he is trustworthy, a very respected value in this neighborhood. Beti insists that the two main problems are health and drainage, two issues that are related and consume a good part of the families’ energy and scarce savings.

Beti’s story demonstrates the enormous wealth of social relations in one neighborhood of Plan 3000. On the one hand, it shows the limited commodification of day-to-day life. Individual and family trust is valued more than money, as one can tell from the case of the "debt notebook." Time isn’t thought of as a commodity, it is considered in relation to the intensity of human bonds, which allows one to dedicate a lot of time to neighbors even if it means neglecting one’s business or own family. It is not a loss but a "gift," part of a reciprocal relationship.

Lastly, in a brief and incomplete analysis, the differences in leadership according to gender must be highlighted. While Felicidad, Beti’s mother, is an informal representative of her block with no official role, the president of the neighborhood committee holds a formal position though it is equally rooted in personal trust. It can be said that the official committee position focuses outward whereas Felicity’s role focuses inward toward the community itself. It is very common for power to be exerted through a non-hierarchical order within indigenous communities and the popular sector.

These are the relationships that were mobilized when the extreme, right-wing cruceñistas attacked Plan 3000. The dense, day-to-day relationships are what allowed the powerless to defeat the powerful; what makes life possible in the midst of so much poverty. Lastly, these relationships are what can facilitate, if they are expanded, the creation of a new world, the "other world" proposed by altermundialistas (those who believe another world is possible).

Grassroots Politics

During the clashes, according to Junior, the crowd of tens of thousands had a very precise structure. The young, both boys and girls, marched in front to fight the cruceñistas hand-to-hand. In second rank were the women of the markets and parents with their small children. Shopkeepers provided support with water and coca, and the women of the market cooked breakfast for everyone.

"The groups are like improvised cells in every neighborhood lacking any official names. Decisions are made in assemblies in la rotunda, much like in defense councils but without any hierarchy or commanders. That’s good because when people assume leadership roles they follow other interests. La UJC is a pretty organized group; they have retired military advisers, army issued weapons and equipment, anti-riot shields, and they receive training in military drills and martial arts. Since it is a commercial oligarchy it is efficient, but we work off emotion and dignity," explains Junior with undeniable satisfaction.

He feels that now that the atmosphere is more relaxed, it is time to draw lessons from the experience. "People began to realize that the political leaders of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) have no influence on this resistance, that there was no structured leadership except for the people themselves. Nor was there logistical support from the government or from the MAS. The combatants themselves brought their own things: water, food, and sticks, and the community in an act of solidarity gave support with water, guns, and things like that. The people actually overwhelmed the MAS, overtook it, and many were questioning the fact that the MAS devotes its time in politicking but not in being with the people, because the action of the masses is what will determine political change."

With very subtle differences, Loayza stresses the ramifications of the clashes of 2008. "If Plan 3000 hadn’t risen up in September, Bolivia would have a different history. They wanted to come into la rotunda and destroy everything. But the people wouldn’t allow it. There were many fallen and injured, and a lot of sacrifice on behalf of the hungry and those who had nothing to lose. Everyone realizes who the enemy is. That’s what’s allowed us to mature [politically], to avoid a civic coup."

Junior is convinced that if they hadn’t been stopped, the cruceñistas would have imposed some form of dictatorship. "They would have committed genocide like what happened in Yugoslavia, in Kosovo. But here the people demanded respect and that has stunned even the politicians."

It is very probable that Bolivia is experiencing a true democratic opening, but above all in the communities, in the plazas, the markets, the streets, and public spaces. Remmy remembers when he visited Mexico just 10 years ago in 1997 and came back surprised: "When I went to the bank and I saw an indigenous person working there, I thought it was weird. There were also indigenous people in the government ministries. Here, there’s never been anything like that, and when I told others that I had seen indigenous bank managers they looked at me strange, but now you see that here."

The ex-vice minister remembers that when he was a university student he was never allowed entrance to the university cafeteria because he was born in La Paz and it was reserved only for cambas. He also remembers that the father of ex-Vice President Víctor Hugo Cárdenas (1993-1997) had to change his last name from Choquehuanca to Cárdenas to be able to attend the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, in La Paz, where he graduated in topography.

Now the indigenous are proud of the clothes they wear and their first and last names. They are on an equal footing with everyone else and they have created spaces where differences are expressed every day without the establishment of hierarchies. In Plan 3000, Loayza says, "individual identities are melding together because children of different backgrounds grow up with and live with one another, and so we’re hopeful for a new Bolivia without the old psychological issues [of race], that accepts all differences."

"My grandfather was in the Chaco War, my father was a textile union leader and was tortured under the Bánzer dictatorship," says Junior looking optimistic yet cautious. His family history inspires him, but when we talk about the issue of power, he begins to have doubts: "That’s our weakness. The same thing that happened during Independence could happen to us again, although now the masses are involved … The problem is that my compañeros get drunk off power. That’s the problem when there are no political principles. This isn’t about gaining power, we are already leaders but we don’t aspire to be [leaders], it’s a turning point for future generations …"

End Notes

  1. Camba is a word of Guaraní origin that is used to describe people from the lowlands (Santa Cruz, Beni, and Pando). Collas is used to refer to those who have emigrated from the western regions of the country, or the "indians." Both terms are used as adjectives with a clear pejorative tone.
  2. Interview with Junior Jazmani Pérez Vaca.
  3. Adrián Waldmann, ob. cit. p. 19.
  4. Idem pp. 20-21.
  5. Martín Sivak, ob. cit. pp. 67-68.
  6. Idem p. 29.
  7. Interview with Eduardo Loayza.
  8. Interview with Remmy González.
  9. In March 2009, one dollar was equivalent to seven bolivianos.
  10. Founded in 1950, the Pro Santa Cruz Committee is an entity made up elites that operate parallel to the state institutions. Though it is composed of 183 institutions, including a workers’ center, it has always been controlled by the elites with economic power and its leaders have always been men. An example of their power is the fact that the mayor informs the committee of his decisions before informing the Municipal Council (Waldmann, p. 118).
  11. Marxa Chávez, ob cit.
  12. Idem.
  13. Marcelo Iván Paredes, ob. cit.
  14. Entrevista-conversación con Beti Zaire.


Translated for the Americas Program by Brandon Brewer.

Raúl Zibechi is an international analyst for Brecha of Montevideo, Uruguay, lecturer and researcher on social movements at the Multiversidad Franciscana de América Latina, and adviser to several social groups. He writes the monthly "Zibechi Report" for the Americas Program (

To reprint this article, please contact The opinions expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the CIP Americas Program or the Center for International Policy.



Adrián Waldmann, El hábitus camba, El País, Santa Cruz, 2008.

Mario Iván Paredes Mallea, "La marcha sobre Santa Cruz," Sep. 29, 2008 at

Martín Sivak, Santa Cruz: una tesis, Plural, La Paz, 2007.

Marxa Chávez, "El bastión rebelde del oriente boliviano," Dec. 10 and 17, 2008, at

Raúl Zibechi, Interview with Beti Zaire, Santa Cruz, Mar. 27, 2009.

Raúl Zibechi, Interview with Junior Pérez, Santa Cruz, Plan 3000, Mar. 25, 2009.

Raúl Zibechi, Interview with Remmy González, Santa Cruz, Plan 3000, Mar. 25, 2009.

Raúl Zibechi, Interview with Eduardo Loayza, Santa Cruz, Plan 3000, Mar. 25, 2009.

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