The smell of gas hangs strongly in the air as a crowd of flag-waving Bolivians celebrate outside the Petrobras Gualberto Villaroel oil and gas refinery. A state worker clad in a tan work suit and hardhat props a wooden ladder against the front wall of the refinery just beneath the blue metal letters that read PETROBRAS, and ascends the ladder as the crowd looks on.
On May 1st Bolivian President Evo Morales nationalized Bolivia’s natural gas reserves. The extent to which this nationalization will take place is still unknown. He ordered the military to occupy gas fields in 56 locations around the country, threatening to kick out foreign companies that did not acknowledge state control.
"Super dogs especial," yelled the hot dog vendor. His stand was an island in a street packed with World Social Forum participants. Other people sold Che Guevara hats, artesian jewelry, Hugo Chavez dolls and radical buttons in six languages. Drum circles and generators roared as I sat down next to the hot dog stand with Oscar Olivera. […]
Bolivia has Evo Morales. Mexico has the Zapatista movement. Argentina is Kirchner’s. Where do social movements stop when facing progressiveness that restores power? Are these governments the triumph, or the downfall of these movements? Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar, a Mexican with vast experience in Bolivia, visited Buenos Aires to talk about these themes with local movements and with LaVaca.org, offering a deep look to look at the continent in its own mirror.
Cocaine cuts close to the bone here in New Mexico. An addict lives to either side of me. To the south, it’s the angry Chicano whose proclivities run to shooting off guns and starting fires that require three fire departments to quell; to the north, it’s the waif of a blonde whose high school graduation may have been awaited with joy — but, in the presence of the white temptation, deteriorated into confusion, loss of a job, and ill health. […]
On January 21, on a hill outside of La Paz, a traditional ceremony marked both a major shift in Bolivian politics and a milestone for the growing New Left in Latin America. At Tiwanaku, a site of pre-Incan ruins significant to the country’s indigenous populations, Evo Morales, barefoot and dressed in a red tunic, received a silver and gold staff from leaders of the Aymara people.
In this interview Abel Mamani outlines his hopes and the challenges his Ministry will face. He explains that the Bolivian Government’s policies on water will be based on the understanding that Water is a human right and must be managed by the state and the community.
Leonida Zurita Vargas, a Bolivian coca farmer organizer and alternate Senator, was planning to be in the US right now as part of a three week speaking tour on Bolivian social movements and human rights. This tour would take her to Vermont, Harvard, Stanford and Washington DC. However, upon checking in at the airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on February 20th to fly to the US, she was informed her ten year visa had been revoked because of alleged links to terrorist activity.
Newly elected Bolivian President, Evo Morales, recently swore in the 16 ministers who will form his new government cabinet. For the first time in Bolivia’s 180-year history as an independent nation, the majority of those who now fill the highest governmental posts come from within indigenous and social movements.