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158 c ha p t er six A Social Movement State Indigeneity in Morales’s Bolivia and a Compromised Constitution The Ceja in El Alto is a bustling urban sector characterized by the rapid movement of people from the high mountains to the basin of La Paz. Many of the pedestrians are searching for microbuses, which line up one behind another, heading down to La Paz, the basin of the mountain. Most of the women, who have migrated from rural Andean communities to this urban, peripheral city, wear layered pollera skirts and bowler hats. The men dress in a range of hand-me-down or secondhand clothing, including warm winter coats and boots. The Ceja is usually congested; people shove one another to make their way onto the buses, while young boys or ayudantes (drivers’ assistants) yell out the routes, shouting over one another as they compete to be heard. The air is always heavy and marked by thick clouds of pollution originating from the old Toyota microbuses. Hundreds of small-scale vendors set up along the Ceja, some selling black-market DVDs, others household items and goods, and still others cosmetics and everyday soaps and shampoos. Some vendors have their own puestos (informal stalls), while others simply set up cloth blankets on the road to sell their items. At first glance, this is a chaotic urban environment of marketplace competition and sale, hustle and bustle, but it is also framed by the majestic and serene mountaintop glaciers of Illimani. As one walks along the avenida leading to the Ceja, one sees small restaurants and shops with images of the Aymara revolutionary Tupac Katari, the anticolonial hero who led an army against the Spanish in the eighteenth century and held the city of La Paz while under siege for four months. In the end, he was tortured and his body ripped apart by horses. Inside the municipal offices, such as those of the Alcaldía, or the Planning Department, hang more contemporary posters of Evo Morales, dressed in a blue suit with Andean fabric running down his chest, clenching his left fist. Appearing directly behind Morales, almost like a shadow, is Tupac Katari. Bold white lettering above their heads reads, “Katari, La Rebelión . . . Evo, La Revolución”; and gold lettering on the bottom of the a social movement state 159 poster proclaims, “Evo Morales Ayma, President of All Bolivians” (see Figure 8). These signs of Tupac Katari are everywhere, graffitied on the cement walls of buildings, hanging as calendar images inside the makeshift homes of Alteños (people who live in the city of El Alto), and even sitting on the dashboards of microbuses. On a grander scale, close to the Ceja, stands a seven-meter-high statue of Che Guevara made of recycled scrap metal, peering toward the Christ the Redeemer statue, where the heart of Tupac Katari is said to rest. As legend goes, Katari’s right arm was taken to Ayo,hisleftarmtoAchacahi,onelegtoChulmani,andtheothertoCaquiaviri , but his heart is said to remain, embedded in the statue of Christ overlooking the city of La Paz. In the famous Inkarrí myth when the parts of his body reunite, he will rise, take back his kingdom, and restore harmony in the relationship between the earth and her sons. This rebirth of sorts will fulfill the promise he made at his death: “I will return, and I will be in millions.” This phrase has become a popular quotation, picked up by movement activists, ngo officers, and even Morales, who proclaimed that the time has come for pachakutí: “pacha” (time and space) and “kuti” figure 8. Tupac Katari poster hangs behind President Morales as he presides over final passage of the new constitution. Photograph by Eulogio Cortés. 160 symbolic citizenship and new forms of statehood (upheaval or revolution). The term pachakutí has popularly been used to refer to a kind of cataclysmic reversal. historic reclamation and the passing of a new constitution On January 31, 2009, nearly three years after the Fifth National March for Land and Territory, hundreds of activists gathered in El Alto to mark the passing of the new Bolivian constitution on a site that held great cultural and symbolic value. Initial cries to rewrite the constitution came out of the populist resource movements of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Part of Morales’s 2005 presidential campaign platform promised to create a constituent assembly, responsible for rewriting the document and incorporating indigenous nations...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469601458
Print ISBN
9780807837139
MARC Record
OCLC
830023595
Pages
288
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-20
Language
English
Open Access
N
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