A Conversation for Potosi and the Mines of Cerro Rico, Bolivia

After 500 years the first indigenous president in South America; Evo Morales, Jan. 2006

Post 1


At BBC-world one could see today (Jan.22, 2006)
live a political revolution in Bolivia.

For the first time in history, a member of the Bolivian indigenous people becomes president of Bolivia; Evo Maranes.
This is also the first time in the history of the whole of South America.

Very impressive to see Evo Maranes being sworn in and to see so many faces of indigenous Bolivian peoples in parliament.

In his speech he first talked straight from his heart about his parents and ancestors.
In the follow up he painted the harsh reality of colonisation of South America.
For the first time, spoken by a president on that whole continent.

It has elements of what happened in South Africa in the last ten years. I'm afraid Nelson Mandela had not the health
to be able to be there now.

Evo Maranes spoke about other revolutionaries like Che Guevara, who were fighting dehumiliation.

He spoke about "working together" (translation is from BBC World) and "not taking revenge", despite "the long and harsh dehumiliation" since the colonisation. (by Spain,Portugal, Netherlands,etc.)

Now "it is time for víctory" he said, "we will change Bolivia by votes, not by bullets".
And he continued his long speech with words as,"we must serve, not live off the people".

But his way ahead will be very heavy and dangerous.
Democracy is new and very fragile.
The rich elite is far more powerful than all indigenous peoples together.

The USA is not enthousiastic.
The strenght of capiltalism is it's flexibillity, which is not an immoral ingredient.
So the elite and powerful states and cómpanies can easily obstruct this proces, while it is extremely important for the healing within the indigenous Bolivian people.
And also for the proces of healing of ties with other populations, the white elite included. They don't need death squads or any other visible obstruction to maintain their real power, if they want to.

And the Roman Catholic Church is not fond of social and cultural changes that obstruct the West. There power is immense, as we know.
They were heavily involved in the uprise in 2003 against the new president of Venezuela, a comrad of Maranes.

And how about the drug cartels...
And Amrica's "fight against drugs" being active there with lots of USA soldiers, asif no one in the USA hungers for drugs.

And what does Europe do?
Writing in their newspapers if Evo Maranes will have a tie around his neck or not.
In Spain they were shocked by the fact that Maranes visited their historic occupier these days "without a tie around his neck, even when he met the king and his wife".
Not wanting to realise that having a tie around ones neck is ábsolutely not done for all indigenous peoples of Bolivia. Wearing the same clothes as the slavedrivers did? By the way, they already had clothes of their own. And what, they did not only have clothes of their own, for thousands of years they had a great culture of their own,until things went wrong in many ways and finally Europe started to occupie and had the strategy of "chemical warfare". Yes, "chemical warfare". They loaded on their ships to South America blankets that were used for children who died by european diseases.

They did not know hów it all worked, bu they knew very well that those blankets should be burned immediately in their own countries when the child was dead, because it would kill other healthy children. They gave these blankets to the local peoples who could not know...

Wearing a tie or not still shows our priorities in the West and I am one of them.

Evo is the son of a very poor family.
He became a farmer(of course a cocafarmer. What else, when you have to survive. The same in Afghanistan).
Now he is president with many, mány faces of the indigenous movement
in the parliament, but also some véry angry white faces, as the camera showed us.

All will be very new to them and that will make them extremely vulnerable in a social and political way. Even George Bush needed some time to learn áll the tricks of "real politics".

I'm impressed by it all. Bolivia needs our support so that they can take care for their own, building their own country, their own economy, etc.

And again, thanks to BBC world who made it possible to join this historic, dignified moment in a dignified way.

Greetings from Amsterdam.

After 500 years the first indigenous president in South America; Evo Morales, Jan. 2006

Post 2


I don't think I mentioned it, but he is president number three, in three years time of political history in Bolivia.

But it stíll is progress, after so long dictatorships

After 500 years the first indigenous president in South America; Evo Morales, Jan. 2006

Post 3


January 2007

LA PAZ, Bolivia -- In 1781, rebel Indian armies shook the foundations of the Spanish empire when they laid siege to this city surrounded by snow-capped mountains on the Andean plateau.

The siege of La Paz lasted 109 days, reducing the white population to eating rats and boiled shoe leather. A Spanish army eventually broke through and executed Tupak Katari, the leader of the Aymara Indian army. "I will return, and I will be millions," the rebel leader said, according to legend, before he was tied to four horses, drawn and quartered.

Two centuries later,in 2002, the memory of that uprising is haunting the Andean region and inspiring its native Indian underclass to become powerful political players.

Indians make up about 40% of the population of Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia among the poorest nations in the Western hemisphere, but they have long been politically marginalized and socially degraded.

In 2002 Bolivia got its first indigenous president; Evo Morales


Yet in the past four years, first in Ecuador and then in Bolivia, Indian led movements have helped topple governments and are alergic about the political aims of the USA. And there is full reason to be so.

Nowhere is the Indian movement as radical or as powerful as in Bolivia, the poorest nation on the continent, where at least six out of every 10 people are Indian. The country's economy has stagnated for the last six years. A succession of corruption scandals has discredited traditional political parties.

Indians have been debased and dehumiliated since the Spanish conquistadors overthrew the Inca empire in the 16th century.

During colonial times, all male Indians were forced to supply three years of free labor in Bolivia's Potosi silver mine, then the richest mine in the world. Thousands died there. Independence in 1825 didn't bring much improvement; the Bolivian state's main source of income in the early decades was an "Indian tax" from which whites and people of mixed blood were exempt. Until the 1952 revolution, Indians were considered by many to be almost like chattel.

But what really hurts me nowv - Jan. 2007 - is the fact that the new indigenous head of state of Bolivia ,Evo Morales, does not fully realise the limits of his political dreams and aims, and seems to be rather naïve at the stage of world politics.

When he was in eastern Europe in 2006 he visited White Russia
(Byelorussia) and embraced the last communist dictator in Eastern Europe, Aleksandr Loekasjenko, praising that "white Russia is the real and only pure socialist state of Europe"..

I know, all these filthy dicators (like Stroessner for 35 years),Pinochet, etc. in South America, it still hurts that the indigenous head of state of Bolivia is starting to become ridiculous
in his behaviour. Sometimes almost clownishly.

I know,others can defeat him in this behaviour.

It just hurts, because if this keeps going on this way, all prejudices about indigenous peoples of South America,can easily be MIS-used by conservatives all over the world.

The other "pain" is, that we also know that one cannot create an enduring society while the middle class is not included in the political aims.

I do hope, from the bottom of my heart, that he will remain able to gain his sympathy around the world, by including realism in his words and aims. That will be very difficult at this moment, because he just got full power by the parliament to create his new socialist Bolivia.

He might get drunk of his own dreams.

I am really worried.

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After 500 years the first indigenous president in South America; Evo Morales, Jan. 2006

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