Friday, August 07, 2009

Reactionaries defend slavery in Bolivia

This essay is part of an occasional feature on this blog that presents compelling stories from elsewhere in the world, particularly Africa, that are little reported in the American media. It's part of my campaign to get people to realize there is a lot going on in the world outside the US, IsraelStine and the Trumped Up Enemy of the Month. A list of all pieces in this series can be found found here..

Pretty much any leader in Latin America who doesn't slavishly adhere to neo-liberal economic policies and tries to pass economic reforms designed to address land reform or other massive inequalities is ripe for vilification by the American media.

Obviously, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is target number one, though his grandstanding, cult of personality and alliances with theocrats shouldn't endear him to progressives.

Bolivia's democratically elected president Evo Morales has also taken his fair share of criticism, despite focusing primarily on improving the lives of his people (in contrast to his Venezuelan counterpart who's more interested in being an international big shot).

That Pres. Morales has been wildly vilified by the big land-owning elite in his country is not surprising. They see his fairness reforms as threatening their inherited privilege, in much the same way there was a backlash from the white elite against majority rule in South Africa.

The true nature of the Bolivian elite is shown by the widespread use of slavery, a right they no doubt feel comes from God. They clearly resent their ill-gotten economic privilege being threatened by that socialist in the presidential palace.

Not coincidentally, the forced laborers are overwhelmingly indigenous, much like the president so hated by the slave owners. Sharecropping and serfdom were eliminated in the United States and Russia long ago but they remain a plague in anti-Morales parts of Bolivia . The BBC reports.


PlanetAlbany said...

Hey what's all this about Chavez being aligned with "theocrats?" As you know, I regard such people to exist largely in your imagination, but maybe I'd think better about Chavez if I found out what you're talking about.

Brian said...

I consider Ahmadinejad and the Iranian state to be theocratic, but you are welcome to disagree. I just wouldn't recommend you telling any Iranians that the regime there is a figment of anyone's imagination, especially the families of political prisoners and those who targeted by the morality police.