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Voces Bolivianas: Blogging social unrest

Bolivia saw some turbulent times in recent months. On September 11th in the village of El Porvenir, some 20 miles outside the provincial capital city of Cobija in Pando province, a caravan of about 1000 members of the Amalgamated Federation of Pando Agricultural Workers (FUTCP) and their families were marching towards the capital. They were supporters of Evo Morales marching on with the aim of retaking government offices that had been occupied and ransacked by the anti-government pro-fascist oligarchy gangs.

The caravan was ambushed by armed thugs, many with sub-machine guns, and FUTCP members were shot in the back and in the head. Up to 30 men, women and children were killed and some 100 are still missing. For more backgrounds on this incident read this report.

Cristina Quisbert shows her outrage in her Bolivia Indigena Blog [es]:

Our brothers Wilson Quispe Castillo, Alfonso Cruz Quispe, Jhonny Cori Sarzuri normal students today are no longer with us. They were studying in La Paz and Pando. They too were victims of the slaughter of the Future.

We want justice! “Justice should be done” is the request of relatives. (machine translation)

She voiced her anger against this racism:

Neither the university nor the society is so naive as to believe the delusional and fanciful stories that some of the media and those responsible for this criminal act made. Our community not only expressed solidarity with the families of the victims, but represents zealous watchdog of the judicial process that is taking place.

Individuals who beat and kill peasants and Indians are monstrosities of dictatorship and fascism.

The Bolivian government declared a state of emergency to tackle the unrest. Read the Global Voices coverage for details.

Cristina Quisbert reports:

On Oct. 13 began a march from the town of Caracollo due to Congress in La Paz. After 7 days of walking, today the march made up of indigenous people, peasants, social organizations have arrived in the city of El Alto.

Eduardo Avila updates in Global Voices:

Tens of thousands of peasants, miners, coca-growers, and other supporters of the government of Evo Morales arrived in La Paz on Monday. What had originally started as a march to apply pressure to the Bolivian Congress to pass a law calling for a Referendum to approve the draft Constitution ended as a celebration when the lawmakers reached a compromise, and seemingly pacified the country.

Mario Durán of Palabras Libres [es] was one of the more active citizen journalists uploading dozens of photos and providing his own personal thoughts on his blog, noting that the waves of people appeared to be a “tsunami“.

Miguel Centellas of Pronto* is pleased that the matter was settled legislatively and that this “is therefore an important step back towards institutionality.”

His roundup consists of reports of more Voces Bolivianas bloggers like Sandro, Hugo Miranda Cristina Quisbert covering the incidents.

Watch videos of the protest at Hugo Miranda's YouTube channel and also check the Voces Bolivianas Flickr page for more photos.


Mario Duran suggested [es] that Bolivia should use citizen media tools like cell phones as journalists from a local TV stations were thrown out of the parliament session.

Cristina posts a video and writes about the success:

Yes, yes Constitution … For a dignified Bolivia …
It is part of the letter of that song yesterday chanting Oct. 20 from the marchers who descended on the avenue Kollasuyo headed to the main square of La Paz, Plaza Murillo.

Other news:

Bolivian Initiatives

Hugo Miranda introduces [es] to us Bolivian initiatives, a venture from Santa Cruz, which aims to make aware of the various expressions, activities and movements of people seeking to develop the communities in which they live.

Rock Boliviano lists some new web pages of new Bolivian rock bands.

Apart from blogging about the march, Cristina introduces Tarqueada music and dance to us:

This dance is called Tarqueada and it is generally danced in rural areas. This group belongs to Tihuanacu town in La Paz, Bolivia. Yesterday, there was a music and dance festival in a mountain called Kimsa Chata which means “three mountains together”. Kimsa in aymara language means three and chata means together. This festival joined indigenous aymaras from three countries, Bolivia, Peru and Chile. In the ancient times, aymaras were only one but with the creation of the republics we were divided into three.

She also writes about a visit to the Moon Island in Titicaca Lake.

Meanwhile in El Alto, Voces Bolivianas continued to conduct workshops [es] to teach people how to blog. On Saturday, October 11 a workshop was held in an internet cafe where they were taught some extra tricks, some html, how to use pictures and videos to enrich a blog.

Voces Bolivianas also introduced another Rising Voices grantee Nari Jibon from Bangladesh to their bloggers.

Here are the slides of Virginio Sandy which were presented at the last BarCamp in El Alto.

Images courtesy: Voces Bolivianas

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