Bolivia: reflections on democracy between protests and whispers

In October 2019, Bolivia made headlines around the world. After questioning the legitimacy of his third re-election, then-President Evo Morales was removed in a movement that the history books had taught me was a coup d’état. Army in the street, truculence, repression. Even so, I read editorials from international vehicles stating the opposite. And in less than two weeks the subject was already past. 

I was not satisfied. I felt that a lot still had to be said and it wasn’t about that moment in Bolivia. I knew that these stories had to be here somehow.

I went in February. I found a much more complex scenario than I ever imagined. I found a country where politics – like the rest of Latin America – was marked by coups d’état, renunciations, murders and violence. I found people who occupied the streets and protested every day, but who felt intimidated and afraid to speak when I approached. All the conversations had an air of secrecy, often kind of “talking on the side and looking at the ground” or in “safe” places where the national guard could not hear us.

I heard a lot of opinions. I noticed a lot of uncertainty. I came back with more questions than answers – as usual. But I share with you in this new series the voices I heard between La Paz and Cochabamba. Because they deserve to be heard. Because they are important to reflect on the direction of democracy in Latin America. 

Published by Mira.Me Project

Written by Leila Maciel, a Brazilian girl who insists on calling the world her home. Escrito por Leila Maciel, uma Brasileira que insiste em chamar o mundo de casa. Instagram: @mirameproject

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