Division in Political Attitudes in Bolivia
In Latin America, most countries suffer of repeated economic crises, unacceptable levels of poverty and increasing levels of inequality, as Judith Teichman mentions in her work “Redistribute Conflict and Social Policy in Latin America”, and Bolivia is no exemption. All the problems the country has gone through reflect in the political instability since 1982, when the military dictatorship leaded by General Luiz Garcia Meza ended (Luis Garcia Mesa Tejada, 2010). Since then, Bolivia has elected many different Presidents, who have completely different visions of the future for Bolivia, which might be a cause for the low capacity Bolivia has. In this paper I will describe the different political attitudes the population of Bolivia has, and how it has created different types of political parties in the country. Coming from Bolivia, and having lived there for 18 years, I was able to see the inequalities among the Bolivia population, and how discrimination toward indigenous people has created a divided community in the country. Many times, indigenous people are often looked down upon and treated not as well as people with white skin and nice clothes. The inequalities in Bolivia are immense, with the indigenous majority (62% of the population) (The World Bank, 2010), and with most of the population living in poverty (75% of indigenous, and 54% of non-indigenous). Also, the elite group in Bolivia accounts for only 10% of the population, and consume 22 times more than the poor in Bolivia (The World Bank, 2010). These factors created the need for representation for the poor and indigenous majority in Bolivia and gave rise to the MAS political party, which represents the poor and indigenous population of Bolivia. Also, because of the MAS running to represent the poor, a political party called Plan Progress for Bolivia of PPB was created in 2007, to represent the elite society, and the middle class. Inequalities in Bolivia and lack of representation for the majority where more noticeable with the rise of the MAS and their new indigenous leader, and these created mainly two types of voters with different political ideologies. One group included the poor and indigenous who for many years lacked of representation in the political aspect of the country, this gave ascension to the presidency reflected the end of a particular Andean form of segregation that had marginalized the majority indigenous population since the Spanish conquest (Kohl, 2012). Because of the division of political attitudes among citizens, political parties with different political attitudes were also created, most of them residing between liberals and conservatives. The major political parties that were seen in the 2009 presidential election were the Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement Towards Socialism) and Plan Progreso para Bolivia (Plan Progress for Bolivia), with some other political parties on the polls not as big as these. Because Bolivia is a country where the majority of its population is indigenous (62%) and most of the people live in poverty (75%, including indigenous) (The World Bank, 2010) these two parties priorities are aimed to completely different types of people. The MSN’s main concern is the “elite” population, while the MAS have created the poor and indigenous well-being their first priorities and this tactic gave them the presidency in Bolivia in 2005 and re-election in 2009. MAS, by its acronyms in Spanish which means Movement Towards Socialism, is a political party leaded by the current president Evo Morales, which attempts to move the country towards socialism. Evo Morales became the first president to come from the indigenous majority in Bolivia. He was also the first President to emerge from social movements whose protests for two of Bolivia’s President, Sanchez de Lozada and Mesa, to be ousted of office (BBC News, 2011). This is symbolic, because Sanchez de Lozada was a President representative of the...
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