Those who were supposed to be ruled are ruling now

Beatriz Souviron, Bolivia's Ambassador to the United Kingdom, explains the essence of the changes currently taking place in Bolivia.

What Bolivia lives today is a revolution, in the meaning of a twist, a break of the old structures and patterns of ruling, a break of social, cultural, political and mental structures.

It is different from a reform, which involves a gradual process of mutation, without tensions and breaks.

In the Bolivian process there is a moment than marks a before and after: defined by the actions and behaviour of the society featured in the tensions that we have lived in the years before Evo won the election.

From one moment to another, there was a change in the relationship of the indigenous people to the decision-making structures.

Those who were supposed to be ruled- in the established, unwritten roles- are ruling now.

In all the life of
Bolivia as a republic, there was a subordination of certain groups to other groups. The dominant class and the dominated class: this structure was established during colonial times, and for for the dominated class it did not change with independence from Spain. The indios were there to be ruled; they could be peasants, labourers, mining workers, or with a little bit of luck, street traders in the informal markets.

The white and mestizo people had access to a better and superior education, to the means of production in the economy, or to a profession; and they had access to the Government.

Since Evo Morales assumed the Presidency, those who were supposed to be ruled are ruling. This is the most important change, because the horizons of opportunities of the indios are now opened wide, they have gained access to the superior stratums of decision-making, i.e. to the power. The colonial order of the society has been broken, and this is what a revolution does- it modifies the roles, it equalizes, it embodies the principle of equity .

The pongos can now be president, ministers, members of the parliament. Our revolution expands the rights and the possibility to access power, more than the Revolution of 1952, where the indios got access to the land and the right to vote, but not to be elected.

The process we are trying to install now in
Bolivia is one that changes the roles and opens the possibilities of self-realization to the whole society, in a democratic way, without guns; by the vote, the dialogue and the consensus. Of course, if the dominant sectors of society let us do that- but you know, nobody relinquishes their privileges without struggle. But I think this is an irreversible process.

The world is changing with an incredible speed. We are confronting new scenarios, where the power lies in the hands of the corporations. This transcends the states, the ideologies and the political arena. They have been gaining more and more power. During the 1990s in the capitalization or privatization period, what was transferred to the multinational corporations was not only the means of production. It was more than that, it transferred certain state powers to the Corporation. These policies, designed and imposed by the International Monetary Fund and the multilateral development institutions, opened wide the gap between the wealthiest and the poor, it polarized the poles. And together with a policy of deregulation of the market, they gave all the power to the corporate arena: increasing the margin of benefits to those who had capital, but putting the workers and their rights into a very weak situation; where the alternative to accepting their conditions is to have nothing, because the corporations have now the possibility to change the location of their investments and get a cheaper labour force, tax exemptions and of course, less regulation for the market and the environment.

The state must regulate the economy, because behind the numbers and the financial flows there are people, there is humanity.

In the development plan, President Morales wants to focus on education and one of the key issues is developing the skills of public administration personnel.

The new constitution looks forward to consolidate the changes as a fact; a reality of the institutions and the state.

It is our chance to resolve some historical tasks: equality, as established in the new constitution; territorial distribution of power: this involves a debate on autonomy, federalism, and looking forward to avoid the concentration of social resources in one or two regions- for a more balanced distribution of economic resources.

The new constitution should also define how public resources are allocated, from the proceeds of natural resources into developing other sectors of the economy and social priorities. We aim to transform our country as a producer of primary products- not just to export our natural recources but to add value to them.

That is what we want to change in our country.

Republished from 21st Century Socialism website

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