In Bolivia, the social movements have never stopped fighting. Some workers had to go into hiding, many were detained, persecuted, disappeared, and there have been violations of all manner of human rights. But the social movements have been building their unity, little by little, and gradually losing their fear.
In the 1970s, under the dictatorship there was a lot of abuse, violation of human rights, and a lot of corruption, pushing our country into debt. None of our rights were guaranteed. That was until women miners decided to go on a hunger strike: they decided to sacrifice themselves to recover our democracy, and this lit the spark for our people to mobilize. That was how we managed to recover our democracy.
Then came a popular government [of Hernán Siles Zuazo, 1982–85], but people wanted it to solve all the problems that had built up —and do it overnight. That government’s mandate was cut short and then came the dark page of neoliberalism. That meant twenty years during which our strategic state companies and many of our natural resources were handed over to transnationals.
The people, tired of all that, decided for a change. In 2005 a government arrived in power with an indigenous man — Evo Morales — at its head. For fourteen years, we managed to build stability, economic growth, overcome illiteracy, increase our GDP. We can thus speak of the great achievements of what we have called the democratic revolution, the process of decolonization.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction