INTRODUCTION
We could defend ourselves if we all unified and paralyzed the country. There’s no
other option. One hundred percent is now privatized. This Mallku [Felipe Quispe,
an Indianist leader] has spoken well, saying ‘‘We have to make them listen to us,
and paralyze [the country] until the government listens to us.’’ His aim is war. . . . I
want the poor people to progress; people with three or four houses just want more
houses. We’ll only win by cutting their nails. During the strikes, rich people will
have all their money in vain, they’ll die of hunger the same as us, and the president
will have to listen to us. It’s like that.—Doña Josefa, interview, August 2000
[In October 2003] all the organizations mobilized themselves, and with one voice
said ‘‘We don’t want the gas to be sold [and exported] either through Chile or
through Peru.’’ . . . The fight began in El Alto from the 12 of October. . . . We
ourselves were with the fejuve [Federation of Juntas Vecinales] comrades and
with the di√erent neighborhood councils, the vecinos [residents of each neighbor-
hood], confronting the army.—fejuve leader, interview, January 2004
We mobilized, we held vigils, we didn’t sleep at all, day and night; we had to stay
up all night, keeping fires going in the marginal neighborhoods of El Alto. . . . We
worked, as mothers, as Bolivians, children, grandchildren, we all worked, we all
went together to each demonstration.—Doña Gertrudis, interview, January 2004
We asked for a change for our dear Bolivia, but we left this change half done,
because it actually meant changing everything, so that the people govern, as it
should be; and the q’aras [white people]—as they say, no o√ense intended—
should go to their proper place. They say we’re racists, but it’s not that in reality,
instead it’s rage. I know that not all [white people] are guilty, no, the guilty ones
are the ones in government. . . .
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