Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Franz Chavez, "Bolivia: Indigenous leaders beaten and publicly humiliated," Green Left Online, May 31, 2008.

In the city’s main square, they were forced to kneel — shirtless — and apologise for coming to Sucre. They were also made to chant insults like “Die Evo!”

Bolivia may have its first-ever indigenous president, but racism is alive and well in this country, as demonstrated by the public humiliation of a group of around 50 indigenous mayors, town councillors and community leaders in the south-central city of Sucre.

The incident, which shook the country but received little attention from the international press, occurred on May 25, when President Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian, was to appear in a public ceremony in Sucre to deliver 50 ambulances for rural communities and announce funding for municipal projects.

But in the early hours of May 25, organised groups opposed to Morales began to surround the stadium where he was to appear. Confronting the police and soldiers with sticks, stones and dynamite, they managed to occupy the stadium.

The president cancelled his visit, and the security forces were withdrawn to avoid bloodshed.

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