Bolivian History 101: The evils of the Fatherland

Eric Cardenas writes in El Diario:

The evils of the Fatherland

Eric Cardenas189 years ago in the city of La Plata (now Sucre) the Act of Independence of Upper Peru, before the arrival of the Spaniards was called Kollasuyo, was signed.

The republic was the result of 15 years of unremitting struggle for independence from the colonial years that sacrifice and lives of patriots offered up, but once achieved the defeat of the Spanish armies, the pro Argentine and pro Peruvian currents determined the Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre, from La Paz, to convene a conference of representatives of the five “high-Peruvian” provinces to determine their future. The Congress, overcoming those currents determined the absolute independence, not only from Spain but from Peru and Argentina.

The new republic was founded on the principles of the most progressive ideas of that time, liberalism or freedoms. The same Simon Bolivar, whom the Assembly instructed him to draft the first Constitution, expressed in his Proclamation of January 1, 1826, that Bolivians will “receive the most liberal constitution in the world.”

Bolivia original sizeBut having passed in 1826 the most advanced, ideologically for that time, constitution, the republic was born lacking financial resources, as the independence war consumed and paralyzed their productive activities, that is we were born poor and aside of the period of rule of Marshal Andrés Santa Cruz, we had the characteristic of a backward and poor society in permanent state of political turmoil. Plus we had to hold several wars with our ambitious neighbors, who had snatched almost half the territory with which we were born to independent living.

The poverty of the Bolivian republican society has been the hallmark of our independent life, in which the then population, of indigenous majority was kept in as “serfs”, in “pongueaje” until the agrarian reform of 1953 and universal suffrage, which gave them full citizenship, gave them land and schools.

Although our country has vast renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, poverty is and has been the outstanding feature of our social situation. We are the 14 poorest country in the world, and the level of human development is among the lowest in Latin America (the lowest is Haiti). 80% of our population is considered in poverty and of that 80, 60% are in extreme poverty.

While some international body has welcomed the reduction of our poverty, attending only to the accounting aspect of our economy, the latest Human Development Report of UNDP affirms what was noted here.

Another of the great problems of our republican life, now multinational, are corruption and deteriorating terms of citizen and government ethics, with high levels of political corruption of state managers; insecurity, by the increase in crime; disrespect for private property and rights of others; lack of institutional justice; anomie before the law; the loss of credibility of the rulers; the excesses of political power, etc. Especially in recent times, the drug has been installed in our society and their implications threat to seize political power and become a drug factory. To this must be added the contraband, which hurts weak domestic manufacturing, fail to pay taxes and make us accomplices of consuming these products. Entire villages in rural areas are dedicated to smuggling and drug trafficking.

Another evil of our beloved country is the bad governments, for which results have been poverty and corruption. If we analyze our political history, we find that in its course and with very few exceptions, many rulers have been bad, without love for our country or a real vocation to serve; we observed absence of scientists and humanists to administrate knowledge of public interests; exaggerated ambition for power, in such a way that the purpose of their efforts has been and is the exercise of power by the power; personalistic warlordism that has been above the law, the national interest and service to the common good.

Despite these evils affecting the liberty of the people, it retains its extraordinary ability to preserve the nation, picking up the mandate of Mariscal Sucre and we hope that new generations react to their state of “I-don’t care-about-it” and as happened in the large strife to preserve our heritage, will contribute their effort and sacrifice for our country.

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