Tamara Pearson

“We are the sons and daughters of Bolivarian socialism and we want to defend it”, explained Eduardo Churrio, speaking to Green Left Weekly.

Venezuela has won Miss Universe again. Meanwhile, my friend in Bolivia wrote on her blog that day, “I don’t know if anyone as big as me deserves to be alive”.

“Once they got their wages, [the workers] occupied the installations and demanded that the company go, then they occupied the offices and demanded that the administration of Sincreba [Merida Waste Incineration and Recycling System] retire”, Simon Rodriguez told Green Left Weekly on the peaceful take-over by its workers of the Solid Waste Processing Plant in Merida in September last year.

“We defend our sovereignty, and support the Ecuadorian people against imperialism, and for peace”, Aida Guitierrez told Green Left Weekly at a protest outside the Colombian Consul in Merida on March 6.

The moves by US oil giant Exxon-Mobil to freeze more than US$12 billion in assets in Britain, the Netherlands, the Dutch Antilles and the United States belonging to Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA is just the latest in a long line of attacks led by the US government on the government of President Hugo Chavez — which is seeking to construct a “socialism of the 21st Century”.

“We lack everything” Frances Buitrago, a small shopkeeper in the city of Merida, commented to Green Left Weekly. “There isn’t any milk, rice, mayonnaise, oil, wheat, or butter.”

“You’re only killing a man”, revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara said in a school in La Higuera, before he was shot. Forty years later, in that exact spot, among the fog of the Bolivian forest and darkness of night, flags representing social movements from all over Latin America waved in the wind and their bearers danced together until sunrise. That night of October 7 we remembered Che and the struggles of that time, through speeches and song, and we thought about the future as the continent turns red with the idealism, humanism, rejection of neoliberalism, and collective ownership of resources that Che had talked of and fought for.

About 10 stalls with banners, photos, information and signature books filled Cochabamba’s Plaza 14 de Septiembre on October 2 as Bolivians continued their campaign for Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous president, to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Her name is Lucha, short for Luisa. It means “struggle”.

She wears a purple polera, down to her knees,

And carries her shop in the rainbow aguayo on her back

Her husband died 2 years ago,

She has 3 children

She is 26.

Lucha’s mass the rusted roads, the birthing soils.

Throughout the week, some people in Cochabamba had worried about how September 13, a date expected to involve confrontation between the supporters of the government of left-wing, indigenous President Evo Morales and the right wing, would turn out. People at work talked of a coup. Others remembered the protest on January 11 when three people were killed and some buildings burnt, worrying that the same would happen again. Some of the most right wing spoke of a campesino “invasion”.

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