Friday, 11 January 2008

B is for Bolivia

This is an interesting country and has many contrasts. Where to start? To the west are the Andes that run down the country in two parallel chains. Inbetween these is the altiplano, an area at high altitude that is dry and arid, with many salt lakes (one of which can been seen from space, so its big). Many of Bolivias indigenous population struggle to eek out an existence in this harsh area. As you come down the Andes you enter the highlands and valleys where we live in Sucre. Here there is a different type of geography, still with some of the effects of altitude. Much wine is produced in this area, that’s pretty good. From this area you can travel further down into lowlands of the Amazon rainforest, a much hotter climate and home to a lot of the Spanish descendents.

There appears to be two major groups of people here in Bolivia, the ‘haves’ and ‘have not’s’, the ‘haves’ being those of Spanish descent and the ‘have not’s’ of differet indigenous groups. For years the indigenous people have been suppressed by different rulers and have felt undermined and left out. In December 2005 when the first indigenous president was elected to power there was much excitement about what the future may hold. But two years down the line people are beginning to wonder if they did the right thing, as concerns are rising as the propsed new constitution seeks to be passed through the legal system.

As a result of which it seems that’s Bolivias turbulent political history is set to continue into the new year. Local opinion is that trouble is likely to return around Febuary time after carnival season.
Over the past 20 or so years Bolivia has had its problems but in general the people have always respected the institutions. The police for example would always be obeyed, however in recent months something has changed, people no longer respect the established institutions. So please pray with us that as the time comes for decisions to be made on the proposed constitution there would be peace and dialogue with the different parties and that the president would not be able to push though a constitution that is illegal in Bolivia’s current constitution.

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