BOLIVIA: Behind the smoke screen by GERMÁN VELASCO
I grew up in the 70’s, a time when socialist ideology was strong among young people and intellectuals - for good reason. The socialist ideology contributed to a fairer world. Even as a simple factor of equilibrium against capitalism— in my opinion, the best system that exists but full of defects. Thanks to socialist thinking, even in countries like the United States, today we enjoy social security, minimum wage, unions and many things that have made life more just for the most marginalized of a system that is usually intrinsically unfair.
It was not the good socialist ideas, it was the abuse of regimes that in addition to being socialists were friends of totalitarianism, that killed the good and the bad of socialism when the Berlin wall fell. Entering the 21st century, someone had the good idea of reviving socialism. The inequality in the world had not been resolved, existing noble and useful things in that ideology, the idea seemed brilliant. It was easy to touch the heart of millions.
The idea spread rapidly and with the money of rich Venezuela, Hugo Chavez planted his 21st century socialism in the neighborhood. The poor in the hemisphere saw light on the other side of the tunnel. They did not know that light was a train that would run over them for long years.
The opportunity to vindicate socialism was golden except for: Problem one: the blindness that in order to be a socialist in Latin America, democracy had to be killed with tricks disguised as democracy that sooner or later the people would have to discover. Problem two: greed for money, luxury and power. Thus, these new socialists shattered all the good that socialist thinking could bring to our unequal societies full of poverty and hungry for hope in Latin America. Behind the curtain of “socialism” there was a wasteful party as in the worst regimes in history. People with ideology left disenchanted; the opportunists stayed trampling the ideas they had sold to the people.
In Bolivia, fictitious elections accumulated against popular tolerance. One, two, three and in the latter, Morales went too far. Fraud and cynicism detonated the heart of the people. The brave reaction was unimaginable. In one single wave 14 years of contained anger were expressed. The waste of the country’s income in a golden period in terms of international prices of mining and hydrocarbon resources, the control of all democratic institutions. The arrogance and disdain for the neediest peoples — who were not from the party in power.
It is up to Bolivia to rescue the best that this dictatorship left, how to integrate the indigenous world in every aspect of national life. To work in eliminating all structural racism building a new country. The one Morales had the chance to build, and who, from his first day trampled squandering the hope of a people that began giving him their confidence— to receive a disenchantment that lasted fourteen years.
Passionate in public policy, Germán Velasco is a former governor of La Paz, also a cabinet member, and advisor to three presidents in Bolivia.
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