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Photo by Benjamin Swift, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Democracy in Bolivia

I’m sure you are all watching the news from Bolivia with great concern and I can appreciate the scenes are quite disturbing. I would like to assure you all that your children are indeed very safe and we are making sure that they are far from where the turbulent scenes that are occurring. The protests are certainly all across the country in response to the recent election results but they are very much localized. The protesters gather together to create a stronger voice and so one street away from the action there is almost complete serenity. Our Dragons family is staying in the outer suburbs, far away from all of the activities.

As to the nature of the events, it is due to a growing dissatisfaction with the government here. The president, Evo Morales, has been in power for nearly 15 years and would dearly love another 5. He has chosen to circumvent the democratic process and is regarded by many as being dictatorial in his leadership now. Many people do not believe the results of the recent election and so are voicing their disapproval. This is very much a part of the democratic process here in Bolivia. The people go to the streets and the government is forced to listen. Eventually, a compromise is found and the process can be very effective at involving the general population in the political process.

Mostly, this protest is of a very peaceful nature. I was personally, and without the group, in the centre of Sucre this week and witnessed people singing and chanting in a somewhat festive spirit. Across the country, several electoral offices were burned but these incidents were indeed isolated and different from the norm.

As instructors, we are monitoring the situation intently and we will of course practice extreme caution to avoid any possibility of harm occurring to our students. We will also keep you all informed as to the events here in Bolivia.

Randall Howlett, Instructor

Short clip of the plaza in La Jastambo.

Photo of Plaza in La Jastambo

Yes, those are donkeys!:

People gathered in the Plaza in Sucre in peaceful protest: