The Week that Was – Bolivian Blogs

Tension continues in Bolivia. Civic strikes as signs of protest took place late last week in several departments. Bolivian bloggers continue to state their displeasure over the state of affairs. Many opposition politicians, civic leaders, and other private citizens have started their own hunger strikes in order to draw attention to their cause. Recently, some of these individuals were located in La Paz’ cathedral, when police protection was withdrawn leading to their flight as governmental party sympathizers and militants began to make them flee.

Andres Pucci is one of those that drew attention to this incident, which included a comparison to the days when Bolivia was under tight-fisted rule by dictators. He also drew attention to a recently email that he received calling for a Referendum of Independence by the department of Santa Cruz.

Roberto Cáceres recalls in his blog Estante Boliviano [ES] some lines that he read on the chalkboard during his university days. It read, “With two enemies in contention, the only thing that separates them is a mirror.” The Bolivian writer from Copacabana wonders whether separation may allow each side to tolerate one another. Joup thinks that the whole situation seems like a “cheap sopa opera,” and draws attention to a comment about the upcoming Summit for South American Presidents to be held in Cochabamba later this week, whose one of their major topics of discussion is greater integration among the various countries. It is ironic that this topic will be discussed in Bolivia, a country that cannot integrate itself internally.

What is troubling to Miguel Centellas of Ciao! is that there appears to be a “ban on politics,” within this current crisis.

What I find most distasteful is the accusation by government officials (including Evo) that the opposition protesters & hunger strikers are illegitimate because they represent “political” concerns. Aren't all activities “political” in that sense? The language of anti-politics, of arguing that government or state decisions are “correct” & all other opinions merely “politics” is the language of totalitarianism, the language of rejecting political discourse. The list of people who argued against “politics” in that vein includes Pinochet, Mussolini, Lenin, and other distasteful figures.

Worse, is the irony of it all. When Evo led his cocaleros in protests (sometimes violent protests), such activity was clearly political. It was a social faction w/ a political objective engaged in “political combat” w/ opposing forces. Why is such “political” activity less legitimate now? Why is “political” activity that disagrees w/ this current government not protected? What makes Evo's activities, statements, or intentions any less “political” than those of his opponents?

While many of these divisions are taking place along geographical lines, El Alto blogger Mario Duran of Palabras Libres [ES] attended a conference in Santa Cruz, but also gained the opportunity to see some of the actors and groups upclose. He had the opportunity to meet and interview the president of Santa Cruz’ Civic Committee, German Antelo, who is a major actor in the opposition's protests.

Willy Andres is certain that he doesn’t want to get to the point of losing democracy, which is something he treasures.

La democracia me permite trabajar, me permite ser mejor, me da la gran oportunidad de pensar diferente y de exponerlo, la democracia me da nuevos caminos para superarme, me abre oportunidades para generar emprendimientos que ayuden a otros, la democracia me da el valor como ser humano y como persona que vive en esta tierra. Queremos trabajo, queremos ser mejores, queremos democracia.

Democracy allows me to work, it allows me to become better. It gives the opportunity to think differently and to state it. Democracy gives me new paths to succeed and opens opportunity to generate accomplishments to help others. Democracy gives me the value of being a human and as a person that lives on this earth. We want work, we want to become better, we want democracy.

Many more Bolivian blogs are opening up to the world of politics. However, not all are pleased with their viewpoints. The anonymous blogger that goes by the name Mamamari is the self-anointed Bolivian blog critic. His blog is called Jodiendo con Estilacho [ES] (Messing with Style). He pleads with foreigners looking for information about Bolivia to stay away from these blogs.

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