Thursday, December 19, 2019

Forum on Bolivia

Go take a look at Hispanic American Historical Review's forum on contemporary Bolivia. In particular, I recommend my friend and colleague Carmen Soliz's essay. She looks at the balance between his accomplishments and the things he is criticized for.

Although Morales still has massive support from urban and rural sectors (he received 47 percent of the popular vote in the 2019 election), these practices have alienated an important portion of the coalition that put him in power in 2005, 2009, and 2014. As of today, I consider his legacy—the enfranchisement of the majority Indian population, a massive distribution of wealth, the consolidation of national sovereignty, and economic and political stability—to exceed the most controversial elements of his government. However, his attempt to remain in power at any cost has endangered the democratic character of the political process that started in 2003 and has yielded the card of democracy to the right wing of Bolivia and Latin America.
This last point is on the mark. Evo Morales' refusal to step aside didn't only damage Bolivian democratic institutions. It also opened the door to the right that otherwise never would have opened. If he had groomed a successor, the MAS would have won a presidential election. In trying to win it all, he lost it all, both for himself and his party.


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