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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Nov 15, 2019, 12:26 AM

9. What the coup against Evo Morales means to indigenous people like me

Nick Estes

The indigenous-socialist project accomplished what neoliberalism has repeatedly failed to do: redistribute wealth to society’s poorest sectors

Thu 14 Nov 2019 02.00 ESTLast modified on Thu 14 Nov 2019 10.32 EST

Evo Morales is more than Bolivia’s first indigenous president — he is our president, too. The rise of a humble Aymara coca farmer to the nation’s highest office in 2006 marked the arrival of indigenous people as vanguards of history. Within the social movements that brought him to power emerged indigenous visions of socialism and the values of Pachamama (the Andean Earth Mother). Evo represents five centuries of indigenous deprivation and struggle in the hemisphere.

A coup against Evo, therefore, is a coup against indigenous people.

Evo’s critics, from the anti-state left and right, are quick to point out his failures. But it was his victories that fomented this most recent violent backlash.

Evo and his party, the indigenous-led Movement for Socialism (MAS in Spanish), nationalized key industries and used bold social spending to shrink extreme poverty by more than half, lowering the country’s Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, by a remarkable 19%. During Evo’s and MAS’s tenure, much of Bolivia’s indigenous-majority population has, for the first time in their lives, lived above poverty.

The achievements were more than economic. Bolivia made a great leap forward in indigenous rights.

Once at the margins of society, Indigenous languages and culture have been thoroughly incorporated into Bolivia’s plurinational model. The indigenous Andean concept of Bien Vivir, which promotes living in harmony with one another and the natural world, was written into the country’s constitution becoming a measure for institutional reform and social progress. The Wiphala, an indigenous multicolor flag, became a national flag next to the tricolor, and 36 indigenous languages became official national languages alongside Spanish.


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Judi Lynn Nov 11 OP
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