Saturday, January 30, 2010

Debunking Myths: The eastern lowlands of Santa Cruz

Doug Hertzler, Andean Information Network

On December 6, Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous President, easily won reelection with 64% of the vote to 26% for the right-wing candidate Manfred Reyes Villa. During his first term in office the international press and opinion makers hyped a “deep” divide between Bolivia’s eastern lowland regions and the western Andean highlands. For example, an editorial in the Washington Post in 2008 claimed that “Morales is pursuing a narrow and divisive agenda that, if continued, will split Bolivia along geographic as well as ethnic lines, and possibly trigger a civil war.”

While the Bolivian upper class continues to control the politics of several lowland departments, the divisions among the regions are not as deep as the mainstream media has portrayed them. Evo Morales outpolled Manfred Reyes in the lowland department of Tarija, and took nearly half the vote in Pando. He also strongly improved his showing in both Beni and the largest lowland department of Santa Cruz, where Morales took 41% of the vote, up from 30% four years ago.

continue reading...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Venezuela "expert" Nikolas Kozloff can't tell fact from fiction

Nikolas Kozloff has created a name for himself publishing books on Venezuelan politics and essays on the Latin American left. Like all human beings do from time to time, he fucked up this week in republishing the fraudulent claim that Hugo Chavez accused the US military of causing the Haitian earthquake with a secret weapon. Ok, mistake made. However, instead of trying to make up for this mistake, Kozloff has responded to calls to correct his piece with contempt and arrogance, demonstrating that he is just an ignorant prick. Let's investigate.

Mama Coca - Comunidad

h/t Mirando la Patria

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Howard Zinn, we already miss you

Howard Zinn passed away earlier today in Santa Monica, California. He was certainly the greatest US historian of the 20th century. Noam Chomsky had this to say:

He's made an amazing contribution to American intellectual and moral culture. He's changed the conscience of America in a highly constructive way. I really can't think of anyone I can compare him to in this respect. [His writings] simply changed perspective and understanding for a whole generation. He opened up approaches to history that were novel and highly significant. Both by his actions, and his writings for 50 years, he played a powerful role in helping and in many ways inspiring the Civil rights movement and the anti-war movement.
 Fortunately he left us thousands of pages to keep informing and inspiring us.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's Time for a New Relationship with Bolivia

Doug Hertzler, Andean Information Network

Evo Morales is the most popular President Bolivia has ever had. Last month he won re-election with 64% of the vote in spite of the fact that he is often at loggerheads with Bolivia’s upper classes that control the country’s print and television media.

Evo Morales and representatives of the U.S. government have a history of tense relations as well. The situation dates back to the 1980s, when the United States government declared the War on Drugs and Evo Morales became the leader of a federation of indigenous farmers’ unions representing the growers of the coca plant. The U.S. policy of forced eradication of coca turned Morales’ home community into a war zone.

continue reading...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Coca Colla: The Picture

The Bolivian herbal alternative to Killer Coke. (Photo: Red Erbol)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mary O'Grady was right!

That Indian savage Evo Morales is destroying democracy, the Freedom House says so and they've got "freedom" in their name!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

OMG! Hugo Chavez madness takes down Latin American left

The other day, some of those ever so informed anonymous anti-Evo commentators pointed out the obvious idiocy of Bolivian VP Alvaro Linera's criticisms of the US response to the Haitian disaster. How could anyone question the good will of the United States towards Haiti? (please do not read this, that, or the other thing) To exemplify what a preposterous idiot Linera is the anonymous commentator pointed out that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made the insane accusation that the Haitian earthquake was caused by a super-duped secret US weapon! And since we all know that Morales and Linera are puppets of Chavez, they are idiots by default.

Ok, this perplexed me a bit, since I had not heard Chavez say anything of the kind. So, I went to trusty Google expecting to prove this wingnut commentator wrong. But OMFG!!!, right there on Fox News:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Morales Inauguration, La Paz

It is the beauty of a plurinational state, you get to have more of everything. Multiple languages, two flags, and two inauguration parties! Don't you wish you had one too? More ABI photos:

Tiawanaku ceremony

One State is dead and another born, a colonial State is gone and a plurinational State comes with much hope for the peoples of the world.-Evo Morales

Various ABI photos from Tiawanaku inauguration ceremony (Tiawanaku is the oldest pre-columbian site in Bolivia):

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More Women in Parliament, With Their Own Agenda

Leader of the Bartolina Sisa womens federation Leonilda Zurita and Rigoberta Menchú (ABI photo)

by Franz Chavez, IPS

An unprecedented 28 percent of seats in Bolivia's new parliament will soon be occupied by women. Female lawmakers have already launched a battle for women to serve in half the posts in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

One indication of women's increased influence was the election Tuesday of Ana María Romero to preside the Senate, the first woman in this country's parliamentary history to do so. Re-elected President Evo Morales said it was a step towards gender parity in the powers of government.

The bicameral Plurinational Assembly is the new legislative branch under the constitution that came into force 11 months ago, and replaces the Congress that met for 184 years. The constitution, re-written by a constituent assembly 33 percent of whose members were women, has re-founded the Bolivian state.

continue reading...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Alvaro Linera in Haiti

Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro Linera arrived in Haiti yesterday along with Bolivian humanitarian aid and had this to say about the relief effort:
What is required for the reconstruction of Haiti are resources: economic help, medical help, food help, this is what is required, I hope that the United States is focusing on these issues.

Bolivia has brought to share part of what we have, we did not bring what we have in excess, rather that we have, we have shared: food, rice produced by Bolivian campesinos, blood, hundreds of liters of blood and plasma.

What we need here in Haiti is not so many armed troops, as the United States has brought, what we need here are resources: money, food and infrastructure.

[The United States] is manipulating this drama to install US troops in Haiti. They have already taken military control of the airport in Port au Prince and this is troubling.

There is no logic behind US troops disembarking in Haiti. Haiti is asking for humanitarian aid, it is not asking for troops. It would be crazy if all of us began sending troops to Haiti.
In Haiti the dispossessed help the dispossessed. Solidarity is a natural reaction to disaster and this is what frightens the United States the most, and the true logic behind its military response.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Colonialism by any other name

Tell me you are surprised. Hat Tip Pulse Also Lenin's Tomb reviews the imperial intelligentsia's waxing on the voodoo savages.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Unforgivable Blackness

A lot of ink is going to get spilled in the next few days about Haiti, and hopefully some action. To get out ahead of the pack I have stolen in its entirety the following post from Lenin's Tomb to remind everyone exactly why Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere (until last year Bolivia was the second).
The Blackness of Dessalines

It is pointed out that the early outstanding strike against white supremacy was the Haitian revolution. It was also pointed out to me that when it comes to subverting the racial order, there is no better example than Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the first ruler of an independent Haiti:

All Haitians, - Ayisyen yo - "shall hence forward be known only by the generic appellation of "Blacks." (See, Dessalines' 1805 Constitution).

Thus, in Dessalines' Haiti, "Black," is deracialized. We all now know that race is purely a social construct with no scientific grounds. The truth is there is just one race, the human race. But back at its creation, the country of Haiti was based on this truth.

For, Dessalines defined those who fought for the abolishment of chattel slavery in Haiti and against colonialism, including the few whites that did fight on the side of the Africans, as "Blacks." To study Dessalines' life, achievements and first Constitution is to come to know that a "Black" is a person (no matter his/her skin color, European or African) who stands for freedom, human dignity and against slavery, colonialism and imperialism. No ideal in this modern world so directly confronts and conquers the biological fatalism of white privilege. In Dessalines' 1805 Constitution, all Haitians are "known only by the generic appellation of "Blacks." And "Blacks" included even the Polish and Germans who fought with the African warriors on the side of liberty and equality, not slavery, plunder and profit. Black people in Dessalines' Haiti are "lovers-of-liberty" who are willing to live free or die. To reiterate, there is no modern philosophy or ideal that has so directly provided the world with an ALTERNATIVE to the manufactured "race game," based on skin color, as this Dessalines ideal.
The Constitution of 1805 declared that no white, of whatever nation, could set foot on Haiti as a master or owner of property. This was reasonable enough: the last time they came in that guise, they totally wrecked the place and turned it into the most miserable slave colony in the world. But white people were in fact permitted to stay and be naturalised as Haitians - namely, those who had fought alongside the indigenes. But they would be referred to as "black", not white. This was partly a domestic strategy to defuse the tension between newly freed black Haitians (nouveaux libres) and those mulattoes who had been freedmen under the French empire (ancien libres). Indeed, it was Dessalines attempt to redistribute the estates confiscated from the French to the nouveaux libres that raised the ire of the ancien libres and led to his assassination in 1806. But in effect as well as in intent, it subverted the very idea of 'race' by interpreting blackness as a mode of social equality, not of natural hierarchy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yes, you do live on the same planet

Turns out those weird indigenous people whose world you are trying to destroy in order to exploit their natural resources are not blue and living far away in outer space, but just down the block.

One of them went and saw the blockbuster Hollywood film Avatar over the weekend with his fifteen year old daughter. He generally liked the movie and hopes it inspires people to act based on its message.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why Obama should listen to Evo

Obama's "Post-racial" America brought to light. Look familiar? Maybe it is time to recongize who all these "anti-immigrant" folks really are and deal with it. For starters Obama could take them up on their charges of "socialism" and start acting like one. His disowned socialist brother Evo has some good ideas on how to run an economy for people who don't just work for banks.

Hat Tip: Pulse

Saturday, January 09, 2010

"Explosive combination" smacks dying Media Luna

Two studs in hit Beni: Evo Morales and Ex-Miss Bolivia Jessica Jordan

Morales presented the Movement Towards Socialism candidate for the Autonomous Governor of Beni the other day, Miss Bolivia 2006 Jessica Jordan (side note: doesn't she look better without make-up?). Yes, obviously MAS is putting up a celebrity candidate in a traditionally rightwing region in the hopes of attracting voters. Outside observers may think a beauty queen candidate all a tad ridiculous, but some things you should understand about Ms. Jordan.

She is the most popular Miss Bolivia uber-babe in all of Bolivia (seriously, I am not joking, everyone loves her both guys and gals included, its crazy), this in a country (like most of Latin America) where beauty queens are the heights of celebrity. As such she is Beni's favorite daughter, just watch local Beni TV drool all over her. Understandably Santa Cruz also wishes she was theirs.

The daughter of an ex-pat British oil-man you would pin her politics for the rightwing racist secessionism that controls Beni's local government, but to the shock of the assholes in eastern Bolivia (who are now flipping out) she has a conscious and is not on their side. It is also funny to see which western rag picked up the story. Here are some words from her campaign acceptance next to Morales.
Beni no longer wants to be owned by anyone, Beni no longer wants to have bosses, Beni is now ready for the struggle. We are going to struggle with faith and hope for the women and children, for dignity, for the elderly, for the indigenous, for the campesino, for all, because it is the hour of struggle for truth and justice.
Alvaro Linera probably described her political candidacy the best, "an explosive combination" of a woman young, beautiful, and intelligent. That said, seriously, the fascist Media Luna dicktards have nearly a tighter grip on Beni's local politics than in Santa Cruz and any campaign by MAS there is going to be extremely difficult. We'll see and pretend those Jessica Jordan videos weren't already in my bookmarks and I had to do hours of research to find them.

Update: Via IKN, the opposition is claiming that Jessica Jordan cannot run because of the consitutional requirement that Governors "have completed 25 years", Jessica is 24. The election is in April and Jessica turns 25 in May. However, I believe she would not actually take office (should she win) until after her 25th birthday (still hoping for my invite), and would therefore still meet the requirements. Expect the opposition to take it to court and then for the National Election Court to respond with what I said.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Grab your shovel, we got plundering to do!

Hey whitey, remember back when we went a little crazy five hundred years ago, raped two continents, and destroyed a half dozen civilizations because GOLD! my precious, Gold?

OK, but we are over that kind of petty materialism now. It was a fun story, but simple myth and legend. So if professional archeologists happen to discover the remains of a pre-Columbian civilization in the Amazon (because say modern agriculture is clear cutting the world's most diverse ecology), I am sure know no one will jump to any wild fantasies of believing it was some kind of legendary lost golden treasure city...

Ah, who are we kidding? We are just as gold crazy and racist as we've ever been! Grab you pick, sword, and compass, fortune and fame await us in the jungle. I bet they've got gold platted roads and super hot princess babes just waiting to jump our bones! Meet me in El Dorado.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Bolivia's policy of not abusing defensless animals wins over fellatrix

Naked woman and PETA activist Pamela Anderson left for the ocean stealing nation of Chile yesterday to tell them what is up. Luckily twitter exists to inform us of such things:
Come on, even the bimbos chest-endowed know how awesome Bolivia is now under Morales. Feeling inadequate Simon Romero?

P.S. Alright guys, I know I've been slacking lately on serious shit. Be patient.