Monday, January 23, 2006

A new era in Bolivia

On Sunday, the first native Indian leader in Bolivia's history, Evo Morales, was sworn into office. It was a truly historic moment. Today, on his first day in power, he appointed his cabinet, filled largely with political outsiders and fellow Indians, and began the process of putting his ideas into practice. Morales is definitely a move to the left in South America, and has aligned himself with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. There is very little separation between the ideals of former Bolivian freedom fighter Che Guevara, he of the truly excellent film The Motorcycle Diaries, who was killed in Bolivia, and Morales. Morales has promised to stand up for the native indigenous peoples, the Aymara (which he is) and the Quechua. However, there is some hope that he won't be only a radical as he has expressed interest in working with all if his country can be uplifted.

My wife and I had the chance to go to Bolivia two years ago, and so we have definitely noticed this occasion. The people we met and spent much of our time with in Cochabamba, Bolivia were Quechuan. We, and some others from our church, spent our time there helping a church construct a new building. It was an eye-opening experience, but the people we met there were the highlight. Bolivia is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere (behind Haiti), but the attitudes of the people we met were so positive. Poverty was obvious, but hope was apparent. I hope that Evo Morales is successful in digging the country out of poverty and helping his fellow people. There are the resources for the country to be successful, but so far that hasn't happened. Maybe this point in time marks the beginning of change for the better for our friends in Bolivia.

9 comments:

Oneway said...

>>There is very little separation between the ideals of former Bolivian freedom fighter Che Guevara, he of the truly excellent film The Motorcycle Diaries, who was killed in Bolivia, and Morales.<<

Then Bolivia is doomed.

Chairman said...

Dude. Westy. They're not Indians anymore... they're "native Americans." This is the 20th century. Get with the program.

-Chairman

Westy said...

Then Bolivia is doomed.
We shall see. I don't think Morales is as revolutionary as Guevara was in his later years, but I meant that he held the same regard for helping out the suffering indigenous people.

They're not Indians anymore... they're "native Americans."

Yeah, I didn't quite know what to use. Most of the articles said "Indian" and so I went along with it. You don't hear the South American indigenous peoples called "native Americans" as much.

Oneway said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Oneway said...

The human mind is quite inventive when coming up with ways to "help". Such as this insight:

"To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary," declared the Cuban Revolution's chief executioner, Che Guevara. "These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate."

This guy helped create Communist Cuba, which is so utopian that people are dying to leave.

Greg said...

>> My wife and I had the chance to go to Bolivia two years ago, and so we have definitely noticed this occasion. The people we met and spent much of our time with in Cochabamba, Bolivia were Quechuan. We, and some others from our church, spent our time there helping a church construct a new building. It was an eye-opening experience, but the people we met there were the highlight. <<

Ryan, thanks for sharing. Ever since I got back from Costa Rica, I've definitely paid more attention to the happenings in Central America.

In the case of Morales, only time will tell regarding how he actually governs. As we all know, it's quite common for a candidate to campaign a certain way, and then when they're confronted with the realities of the office, govern in a slightly (or even significantly) different way.

Let's hope that Morales truly cares about helping the poorest of the poor in Bolivia and keeps an open mind about how to realistically achieve such goals.

Westy said...

Let's hope that Morales truly cares about helping the poorest of the poor in Bolivia and keeps an open mind about how to realistically achieve such goals.
Exactly. Only time will tell, but that is our hope.

Oneway, I can't say I agree at all with Che's philosophies or practices, especially from his later years, but I do think as a young man he began down that path due to a recognition of certain inequities within the societies in South America. It is the ideal of caring for those currently disenfranchised that I hope Evo carries through with.

Oneway said...

So Che had "a recognition of certain inequities within the societies of South America". Big deal. We can now give him credit for joining the millions of South Americans that recognized injustice, and also, he joins the billions around the world who have experienced injustice in their life.

But, now we must consider the rest of his life. Murder. Robbery. A legacy of hatred. By my count, approximately several billion people reacted better to injustice.

I cannot understand your endearment towards Che.

Westy said...

The British said the same things about the American revolutionaries. Certainly all of his tactics weren't perfect or even close to it. He will be held accountable for the terrible ways in which he errored, as we all will be. However, to a large extent, there was some deservedness for descendents of the Spanish occupiers. The indiginous peoples had the right to attempt to wrest control of their futures. If there was no other way they were going to be listened to, violence became an unfortunate answer. I just am not ready to cast all the blame on a movement that I think had good interests at heart.
I would not consider myself "endeared" to Che, but I do feel for the movement.