Democracy 101: To understand how Bolivia is fighting to keep democracy in place!

An excellent article by Carlos Cordero, from El Deber:

Celebrate the return of democracy

Carlos CorderoBolivians have just commemorated another year of the return of democratic legality and 31 years of continuity and institutional stability from that mythical October 10, 1982, when Gral. Guido Vildoso delivered the symbols of Authority and Government to Hernán Siles Zuazo and Jaime Paz Zamora. With that historic gesture, the delivery of the tri-color band and the Medal awarded to the Liberator Simón Bolívar, the winners of the elections of 1980, concluded 12 years of political instability and disputes between Bolivian civil sphere and the armed forces.

The last democratic stage, that had begun with the election of 1966, began to crumble with the crash that cut short the life of Gral. René Barrientos Ortuño in 1969. Then the democratic and constitutional succession of Vice President Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas by the late President was activated, but general Alfredo Ovando Candia, led the coup that overthrew Siles Salinas and opened the referred 12-year hiatus.

Three decades have passed since that 1982 political landmark, which deserves all kind of celebrations, rather than celebrate the shameful events of October 2003, that the Bolivian people should forget and make a collective pledge not to repeat.

An extraordinary document signed by Jaime Paz Zamora, Jorge Quiroga Ramírez, Carlos D. Mesa Gisbert, Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé and Victor Hugo Cárdenas, concerning the commemoration of 30 years of democratic continuity, argue in a festive and lucid manner that: “during three decades of democratic life, Bolivians have expanded our forms of participation, which go beyond the election of representatives and social inclusion, to claim and recognize our Magna Carta to the Nations and indigenous Peoples and begin construction of intercultural democracy, underpinned by the principles of plurality, freedom, equality, solidarity, responsibility, democratic alternation, subject to the laws and the CPE [Constitution]”. The document expressed a sincere interest in the future and institutional strengthening of democracy in our country. A copy of the same is available at:

This article belongs to Bolivia 101: The Basics

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