[News] From Election Win in Bolivia to Mingas in Cauca, Colombia: Tawatinsuyu Rising

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Tue Oct 27 12:52:15 EDT 2020


https://therednation.org/from-election-win-in-bolivia-to-mingas-in-cauca-colombia-tawatinsuyu-rising/
From
Election Win in Bolivia to Mingas in Cauca, Colombia: Tawatinsuyu Rising –
The Red Nation
October 26, 2020
------------------------------

Bolivians went to the polls last Sunday—nine months after the US-backed
military coup and three suspended elections. The weight of 527 years of
history is burdensome, to put it lightly. At the heart of that history,
which informs present struggles, is control over important resources: zinc,
tin, cadmium, antimony, and silver deposits. In the recent past, it was
petroleum; today, it’s lithium: a critical raw material for rechargeable
batteries as well as solar and wind power. Lithium is the key to the
technology that will supposedly liberate the world from fossil fuels.
Bolivia’s vast lithium reserves are by far the country’s most valuable
natural resource.  It is often called the “engine of the Bolivian economy”
for helping lower poverty rates and ensure stability of the middle class.
Most of lithium is found in the *Salar of Uyuni, *which also happens to be
less than an hour away from my father’s hometown.

At stake in the election this past Sunday was the difference between
potentially years of continued imperialist oppression or a chance at living
under an Indigenous form of socialism. The Bolivian people chose the latter
by an overwhelming majority. This decision has been 527 years in the
making. Even if world was watching more closely the last 9 months, the
Bolivian people continue to prove to the rest of the world that change does
not begin with voting. Change started for them the moment the US-backed
coup ousted socialist president Evo Morales. Bolivians used road blockades
<https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/07/world/americas/bolivia-roadblock-blockade.html>,
street demonstrations
<https://www.npr.org/2020/08/11/901334859/we-cant-stand-it-anymore-bolivian-protesters-demand-quick-elections>,
even though some have faced torture and humiliation
<https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-50332167>.

The supposed “interim president” Áñez represents the ruling Catholic elite.
She fittingly arrived to be sworn in with an oversized Catholic bible in
hand. The message was not lost on anyone: Morales, an Indigenous Aymara
man, represents an image of Bolivia as an Indigenous-majority nation. Since
the coup, one of the key claims used to justify Morales’ overthrow was
proven to be lies made by the Organization of American States (OAS).
Despite the group’s bias towards Washington, the OAS itself confirmed the
reelection of Morales was in fact not fraudulent. As Glenn Greenwald put
it, “not a single one of the foreign policy ‘experts’ or media outlets have
acknowledged their errors or even addressed these subsequent revelations.”

My father, a Quechua man who lives outside of Bolivia but goes back and
forth several times a year, voted for *MÁS* (*Movimiento al Socialismo*)
from Mendoza, Argentina. He spoke to me from the “Nave Cultural”, a voting
center
<https://www.pagina12.com.ar/300044-elecciones-en-bolivia-2020-en-que-casos-se-iria-a-ballotage>
where he cast his ballot. There were a lot of other people there, all eager
to do the same.  “Yes, it is a *dictadura*. We call it a dictatorship
because there was a military coup.” he tells me over the phone. *MÁS* had
to win—“*Si o si”—*my father tells me, because of two reasons:

   1. The region depends on it. Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Uruguay
   and Brazil have recently been governed by left-leaning political movements.
   The *pueblo* needs to be heard once again.
   2. The world needs to see a socialist presence in the world still. A win
   for the right-wing party in Bolivia will benefit both Donald Trump and the
   conservative imperialist right as well as threaten Argentina’s government.

President-elect Luis Arce has vowed to take on training younger leaders
from the MÁS party, declaring it now a “MÁS 2.0.” Arce has always supported
the left wing and socialism, and his vice president, David Choquehuanca, is
an Aymara man who has been a part of the socialist movement in Bolivia for
more than two decades. In the north of the continent, an estimated 7,000
Indigenous people from Cauca, Colombia have formed national strikes
<https://thebogotapost.com/colombia-sees-another-day-of-national-strike-action/47954/>,
or *mingas *(a Quechua word for a collective effort for common good.) These
*mingas* show that Indigenous people of South America are mobilizing and
demanding respect, justice and sovereignty.

The election of Arce alongside the *mingas *in Cauca, Colombia show us that
just voting is not an option. It will take consciousness, mindfulness,
careful planning, mass organizing and Indigenous. Afro-Indigenous and Black
leaders to the front. With all eyes and ears watching, supporting,
protecting, and learning from them.

Evo Morales, the former president of Bolivia, was unable to vote last
Sunday.  It is our duty to be allies and stand with the Bolivian people,
and the Indigenous socialist movements of the South, and of all directions.

Orlando Gutierrez, one of the leaders of the mineworkers’ union, the
*Federación
Sindical de Trabajadores Mineros de Bolivia *(FSTMB) was asked during an
interview <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article6755> if the
workers’ movement march across the country a few weeks ago was the
“beginning of a plan of struggle?” To which Gutierrez replied, “It was a
warm-up. We cannot leave people sleepy.” Gutierrez says after fourteen
years with comrade Evo Morales, there had been problems, difficulties, and
even sporadic mobilizations, but with the coup they were surprised. He
says, the people are active, and in response to Gutierrez, one of the
leaders of the new younger generation, we remind ourselves to remain
active. To remain alert, conscious, and acknowledge that though there are
conflicts, internal disagreements at times, one thing is certain: the
people must not be sleepy. There is a bigger mission for the Bolivian
people, and that is to defend the wiphala, to protect *Pachamama*, and
accomplish what benefits their beloved Bolivia. In this same way we as
Indigenous peoples living in the North, should keep both eyes open on the
frontlines. There is much to lose, but there is actually so much more to
gain in the end.
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