An interesting recollection of the influence and development of socialism in Bolivia, Luis Antezana writes for El Diario:
One hundred years of “Socialist” deception in Bolivia
From the twenties of the last century, information arriving from Europe about a new ideology offered to put an end to poverty and other ills, as well as the news of the victory of the socialist revolution in Russia, created as immediate reflection, an atmosphere of optimism in some youth sectors which immediately flagged the imported ideas, considering, finally, to do the socialist revolution in Bolivia.
Indeed, in order to attract clientele and become them militant, began to make Socialist propaganda, by which some labour sectors were mobilized and made some strikes that would foreshadow a revolution. But propaganda was a trap and workers, especially in mining, were violently repressed. The Socialist leaders did not show face and retreated. That was the first Socialist failure in the country. This “ideology” led the workers to the butcher.
It did not stop there that experience, because the Socialists (called leftists) left no propaganda and formed a Communist Party that continued ideological campaigns. The Socialists returned to mobilize the masses and caused the revolution of June 1930, they overthrew President Hernando Siles, and then delivered the power nothing less than to the far right supported by people aligned with Patino [patinista, Patino was the richest miner owner in Bolivia, and one if the fifth richest people in the world, at that time], which did not hesitate to crush the labor movement.
Then, some Parties adopted the title of Socialists, always in order to attract popular support. The Republican Party was renamed the Socialist Republican party, which only served to consolidate the most right-wing economic trends in the political life of the country and put at the service of colonialism and feudalism of the big miners and landowners.
We must not forget that on the occasion of the Chaco War, the leftists sought refuge in foreign countries, while the nationalists fought in the trenches.
With this deception holder Socialists also appeared other parties that offered workers the sky and stars, but at the time of the facts, hurrying them into massacres such as the Catavi (1941).
Something also notable is the famous Socialists were put to the service of transnational corporations, helped these from reaching the Government and co-governed with them to massacre workers. Actually, these Socialists of the 20th century were phalanxes organized by the call “Rosca” [elite] to precipitate to the workers for political actions so that the power went back into the hands of the far right, as happened on July 21, 1946, when PIR “Marxist-Leninist”, the “Trotskyist” POR and others hanged President Gualberto Villarroel and immediately handed the government to the oligarchy. They co-governed with her and staged killings of workers and peasants.
That was not the last error of Socialists and Communists, but in 1964 they opposed a revolution, they over thrown it to deliver, once again, all the power to the imperialism and the far right. Later, some repentant leaked in “left” Governments to thwart them. In that way, native Socialists did not serve either for the opposition or for the Government.
The political tradition of the criollo Socialists is always the same. It’s false prophets who are consistent only with your inconsistencies and whose list could cover the pages of a telephone directory. And that “socialism” is now the same and surely will not vary because it’s running against history.
People forget that Cuban guerrillas and one Argentinian also found their defeat when attempting to divide our Bolivia. Furthermore, those socialists out there, inside and abroad, foreign and national, fail to see history: socialism and communism has not, repeat, has not worked anywhere. Take a look at former USSR, Albania, Cuba, Vietnam and China. It doesn’t work. Whereas is called populism, indigenous, et al. it does not work. People’s initiative and drive should be encouraged to boost development. Bolivians need to strengthen their self-esteem and not fall on the old promises of a never-never land.
Lets not forget of an element which appeared only in the last twenty years of last century… narco-trafficking, which makes even more difficult to see who is just a used-car dealer and not a criminal itself. Bolivia needs to awaken and start working, producing. A socialist person is a good speech deliver, but whenever there is time to prove efficiency and competitiveness, well, they are out of the job…