Bolivia: indigenous people and mestizos

Andrés Soliz Rada

Setting indigenous people against mestizos in a country like Bolivia is to betray one's country. It is as absurd as trying to separate red blood corpuscules from white ones while trying to keep the body alive. Our independent life was born from the fusion of the indigenous rebellion of Tupaj Katari in 1781 that weakened the Spanish imperial power and of the untamed cries for freedom of High Peru from 1809 onwards. Its most decisive expression was La Paz's Junta Tuitiva presided over by the mestizo Pedro Domingo Murillo and composed also of the indigenous Katari Inkacollo de Yungas, Gregorio Roxas de Omasuyos and José Sanco de Sorata. The inheritors of the colonial period were the beneficiaries of those heroic deeds that gave birth to Bolivian statehood. (see

The separation of indigenous and mestizo always ended in tragedy. The feudal mining oligarchy, in order to prevent indigenous people from taking up military service, left the country defenceless during both the Pacific War of 1879 and the Acre war of 1901-1904. Unity given free rein, on the other hand, allowed the survival of Bolivia during the fratricidal Chaco conflict of 1932-1935, provoked by Standard Oil and Shell. In 1899, the mestizos abandoned the aymara leader Pablo Zárate Willca and helped the tin barons and big landowners into power for more than 50 years. Quechua leaders, by supporting the pro-US General René Barrientes Ortuño between 1964 and 1969 made possible the massacres of mineworkers and greater imperialist control of mining and oil.

The pre-Colombian cultures set Bolivia apart in the world. That is why we should defend them. The indian-mestizo symbiosis should lead us to adopt in a sensitive way scientific and technological advances from other parts of the world that may strengten our nationhood. Unfortunately, as Mauricio Ochoa Urioste has noted, francophile ideologues forced through the approval of a Constitution that, while it attacks opprobrious social exclusion, also tries to create 36 ethnic frontiers to satisfy foreign NGOs and multinational corporations that support separatism for eastern Bolivia.

The Movement towards Socialism's (MAS) constitutional text, whose consequences will be dire if they are not deeply revised, has already provoked bloody fights between members of indigenous communities and members of mining cooperatives, as indigenous and mestizo as their adversaries. Such confrontations inevitably favour foreign interests and their local proxies. The paradoxical thing is that no one has been able to point to the line separating an indigenous person from a mestizo person. While on the other hand articulation of this is the only way to stop Bolivia from disappearing.

When, to use Evo Morales opportune image, the ponchos and the suits face off, then the basis of social cohabitation has broken.The arrogance of the promoters of extreme indigenous ideology, so friendly with George Soros and the NGOs, tipped the country into exporting capital, welfarism and ingovernability accompanied by, as Alex Contreras, ex-Presidential spokesman, recounts, corruption, internal division, violence, media censorship and disinformation.

The break-up of that cohabitation has handed the Santa Cruz oligarchy the excuse it needed to push for its long-desired separatism and to manipulate in its favour the people of the department's legitimate wish for autonomy with national unity. It has led to the government, that said it was the bulwark of national unity, to preen itself with its calls for help to the foreign ministries of Brazil, Argentina and Colombia and also to representatives of international organizations. For its part, the right wing opposition calls for help to the US, while Senator Oscar Ortiz of PODEMOS (the country's most conservative party) sought help from the President of Peru, Alan Garcia. Both sides try to ignore that the New World Order has decided to disappear national States in countries at the periphery. Bolivia runs the risk of being the first victim in our continent of that perverse objective.

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