November 19, 2003

Re: The Anatomy of an Article

Lat-Am Central is a registered TM.

On the November 14th blog I listed some facts, which I called clues, related to the topic I am currently researching: Social Movements in Bolivia.

As I have stated before, I found these articles and the links listed on the November 12th blog through a Google search. Surfing through these sites and reading the material contained in them, left me with a very uneasy feeling. Some sites were very graphic and what I would say, extreme in their points of view.

There are various aspects of these sites' contents that give me an uneasy feeling. In the articles about the lives of Morales Aima and Quispe I found, if the articles are in any way a serious depiction of their lives, a characterization of their cause which could be an indication that these two leaders might not only be about bringing the voice of the poor to the barganing table. For instance, on the piece about Felipe Quispe, I found out he was the leader or at least one of the leaders of a terrorist cell, EGTK (Guerrilla Army Tupak Katari), which was active in Bolivia between the years 1989 and 1992. This group was born from the political arm of the indigenous organization Quispe led, the Ayllus Rojos (Red Ayllus). The EGTK was disbanded and the members, including Quispe, arrested and convicted. The mere membership in such extremist group makes one wonder what was a democratic political leader doing there. One clue as to why Quispe was associated with extremists can be read in a remark proudly quoted in one of the articles:

".....interviewed by a fierce and prominent journalist, who had left the light skinned members of the EGTK without arguments as to why the use of violence, Quispe fired back saying: "so my daughter won't be your maid."

Another paragraph states, what it sounds to me, racists feelings towards the light skinned and white skinned peoples of the country. In a quote from a statement expressed by Quispe to a governmental delegation meeting to establish dialog, he accused the government and the light skinned population of ethnic cleansing and having created an 'Apartheid' system:

"........what you (the whites) want is to appropriate the land belonging to the Aymaras and Quechuas......I am not going to engage in dialog here, if you want dialogue come to our territory, if you are really men, we will give you all the necessary guarantees..........our country is not free, because it is governed by foreigners".

Once again one can hear feelings of rebellion, resentment and hatred, which are clearly perceived on the prose. Some other statements outright separate the Aymara "nation" from the rest of the population, including people of mixed ethnicity (mestizos). Other statements re-ignite these feelings by bringing back historical facts about the dominance of the indigenous people by the white European.

I guess, what is alarming is not the way Quispe and his followers present themselves as being the victims. This, on many basis, is accurate and reasonable, however, the hatred behind the rhetoric and the feelings of revenge and struggle are an indication that thre is more to the revolution they advocate than just justice. I would venture to ask what is their real agenda?

Reading through the sites depicting Evo Morales and some of the speeches he has given, it is possible to find the same kind of rhetoric of hatred, separatism, racism, and call to action. On a speech given at the Third World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa on September 2001, Morales Aima expressed himself in these words:

".......The dominant class of whites and mestizos loudly call us racial slurs like lazy, dirty, primitive, savages, stone faces, ignorant, animals, and so on. The white oligarchic minority has not allowed us to develop our language, our history, our religion, our values, our laws and our society.............we believe that to expel racism, we have to liberate ourselves from the historic and contemporary colonialism. This land and this territory is ours, we have been expropriated and rendered powerless. We have to seize the political power and our sovereignty. We have to become an independent nation. An example of a nation that recaptured control and went back to its origins is Zimbabwe, where they expelled English colonialism and thus gained independence".

However, it is necessary to highlight, Morales Aima's rhetoric is softer than that of Quispe's. It tries to make the current neo-liberal system in place the focus of his struggle, but again the same feelings of hatred and revenge can be perceived ligering behind. It is valid to notice the people with whom he surrounds himself. People like Antonio Peredo, the younger brother of the two other Peredo brothers who sought to start a revolutionary movement with Che Guevara in Bolivia. And, Filemon Escobar, a well known Trotskyst, who is said to be the intellectual force behind MAS.

This issue of who surround the leaders will be explored later on another commentary.

These are but a few interesting facts to consider. A whole new interesting aspect of the matter comes up when paying attention to what some of the followers and sympathizers of this movements have to say about the problems being considered. For example, I would suggest a visit to this site, which eerily resembles a neo Nazi web site, complete with symbols and quotes.

Examples of neo-nazi sites (there are many more, but here I just take two in spanish as example).
Partido Nuevo Triunfo (Argentina)
Resistencia Aria


November 14, 2003

Re: The Anatomy of an Article

Lat-Am Central is a registered TM.

Here are more clues I have gathered and plan to link together. At the very least, they show the various particles of this puzzle.

The Principal actors

- Felipe Quispe - Principal representative of the CSUTCB. He is known as El Mallku, which translated from Aymara means the highest Aymara authority.

- Evo Morales Aima - Political leader of MAS, presidential candidate in elections of 2002, member of the chamber of deputies and leader of the organization representing the Coca growers union (he startes his activism in this group).

- Movimiento al Socialismo - Political arm of the indigenous movement led by Morales Aima.

- CSUTCB - Confederacion Sindical Unica de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia - Organization very similar to a union, which has wide indigenous support.

- MIP - Movimiento Indigena Pachakuti - Political arm of the indigenous movement led by Felipe Quispe.

Organizations with some connections to the social movements

The following organizations' links with the social movements are mostly of support over the Internet.

- Aymara net - Website based in the US dedicated to publish information about the Aymara nation. Is supported by Aymara Alliance, also in the US.

- Nodo50 - Anonimous group of "journalists" publishing, as they call it, independent and alternative articles with revolutionary content.

- Indymedia - Independent Media Center - A descentralized network of journalists based in Seattle, USA, providing space for anti-globalization and anti-neoliberal issues.

-

November 12, 2003

Re: The anatomy of an article

I started the research for this article by simply reading Bolivian newspapers. These you will find on the links on the right of the screen. They are: El Diario, La Prensa, La Razon, El Deber and Los Tiempos. These are the major newspapers in La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, the three most important cities in Bolivia.

Once I read articles concerning these social movements, I started to ask myself the questions I stated in the Nov. 2nd blog. As a result of such questions, I wanted to understand who these two figures were. As a result, I conducted a google search. This search presented me with various articles mentioning the two people I was interested in learning about. Additionally, the search brought up interesting links of sites I would have never though or known to visit. A list of the search results follows and a description of what is in them:

Agua Bolivia org -- Has lots of information about water management in Cochabamba
Asamblea por la Soberania
de los Pueblos
-- Site that talks about the Assembly for the sovereignty of the people
Aymara net -- Well organized network dealing with various issues, including indigenous movements and provides a forum.
Bio of Felipe Quispe -- Leftist E-zine. Article about the life of Felipe Quispe.
Bolivia -- Political site, has a section dealing with Bolivian issues.
Indymedia -- Site presenting self proclaimed alternative articles and coverage about Bolivia.
Nodo50 -- Interesting article about Felipe Quispe.
Evo Morales - Bio -- Information about MAS leader, Evo Morales.
Evomorales.net -- More info about Evo Morales.
Inymedia's Peru site -- This is the Peruvian site in the inymedia network.
Movimiento al Socialismo -- Web site of the political party MAS.
Movimiento Pachakuti -- Interesting site, worthy of a visit to understand some of the agendas underlining these movements.
MAS Bolivia -- Another site of MAS.
Musicosandinos -- This site shows the links between Pachakuti movement and workers organizations in Bolivia.
AGP.org -- Site with lots of cronologic information about events in Bolivia.

These sites, for the moment, are providing information as well as clues on the various dimensions of the socio-political layers and connections of these social movements.

November 11, 2003

Headlines Peru

Lat-Am Central is a registered TM.

El Comercio - Lima. The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, arrived in Quito for his two day official visit. Annan and Peruvian president, Alejandro Toledo, are to sign a mutual understanding document stating the participation of Peruvian troops in peace keeping missions.

Headlines Paraguay

Lat-Am Central is a registered TM.

ABC - Asuncion. Four judges of the Paraguayan Supreme Court are to be taken to a political court by the opposition parties, Patria Querida (Beloved Fatherland) and Pais Solidario (Solidary Country). The allegations are corruption and mismanagement. Bonifacio Rios, the principal subject to the attack has said this is an attempt by the opposition to take over the Supreme Court and thus appoint judges from the opposition.

Headlines Ecuador

Lat-Am Central is a registered TM.

El Comercio - Quito. Cofi Annan visits the Ecuadorian capital. The UN Secretary General was in his second stop of his four country (Chile, Ecuador, Peru y Bolivia) South American tour. While in Quito, Annan spoke with the Ecuadorian president Lucio Guitierrez. Among other topics, the president and the secretary spoke about the current situation of Colombian refugees escaping from violence into Ecuadorian territory. Two further topics touched on the possible participation of Ecuadorian troops in peace keeping missions and the possible intervention of Annan to ease the pressure from foreign creditors to Ecuador.

November 10, 2003

Headlines Colombia

Lat-Am Central is a registered TM.

El Universal - Cartagena. The Minister of Defense, Marta Lucia Ramirez, abruptly quit the government of current president Alvaro Uribe. This is the second resignation of a cabinet member for the Uribe government in four days. Reasons are not yet known.

Headlines Chile

Lat-Am Central is a registered TM.

El Mercurio - Punta Arena. On Sunday 9th of November, two intruders were discovered photocopying classified documents at the Argentinean consulate in Punta Arena, Chile. The Argentinean consul, Andres Basbus, discovered the intruders while they were making copies of classified documents normally kept in the safe. The Argentinean president, Nestor Kirchner, called the bizarre event "serious". An investigation was started by the Argentinean government.

Headlines Bolivia

Lat-Am Central is a registered TM.

El Diario - Potosi. The Bolivian Senate, in a special session held in Potosi (around 450 Km/290 mi from La Paz), approved 28 of 30 projects considered at that session. The projects are intended to promote growth in an area which is widely perceived as forgotten by the Bolivian government. The president, Carlos Mesa, is expected to sign the projects into law at a special ceremony commemorating the 193 anniversary of the 1810 independence call.

La Prensa - La Paz/Santa Cruz. The Corporation for development of the Andean Region (CAF for its Spanish name) has issued a warning to Bolivia. Because it sees the Bolivian deficit as unsustainable, the CAF called on the Bolivian government to cut spending and the population to pay their taxes. According to the CAF, the burden of the deficit will is damaging to the Bolivian economy.

Headline News Argentina

Lat-Am Central is a registered TM.

La Nacion - The Justicialist Party (PJ) pull as surprise win on the gubernatorial elections in the province of Chubut. The justicialist candidate Mario Das Neves won 44% of the vote, against the 42% won by the candidate from the Civic Radical Union (UCR) and current governor José Luis Lizurume. This result ends a decade absence from power by the PJ.

La Nacion - The Ministry of Economics is considering raising the cigarette tax from 67 to 81%. The government is trying to recoup lost revenues from the gradual decline of the taxes on current accounts' debits and credits. Representatives of the tabak industry expressed their intention to directly pass to the customer the whole weight of the tax.

La Nacion - New York. Wall Street Financial Analysts met at the Consejo de las Americas to talk about their next year projections on Latin America. Most analysts expressed their doubt on the Argentinean economy. The consensus was that the economy was in recovery, but its sustainability was yet to be observed.

November 02, 2003

The anatomy of an article

In the recent weeks, I have been reading a lot about the so called "social movement" phenomenon developing in Bolivia. I have come to an intriguing conclusion. These movements are, in first place, very dangerous for the fragile bolivian democracy. And secondly, the protagonists of these movements, are not acting alone. That is to say, they have outside help.

I have come up with many questions regarding this subject. For instance, what do these movements really want? are these peaceful movements or violent actions against democracy? who are their leaders? what is their agenda? what is the agenda of the people who help them behind the scenes? are these people poor and forgotten classes fighting for social justice or are they revolutionaries looking to tople the system?

In this series I will cronicle, outline, and record every step of the research process to write this article. And, ultimately, I will post the entire article. This should be an interesting experience. Hopefully, I will get to exchange opinions with other people. We'll see how it goes.