Preface
In Bolivia, primarily in La Paz’s rugged and stunning altiplano, in the city of
Cochabamba and the fertile valleys that surround it, and in the lush and hu‑
mid lands throughout the Chapare region, thousands upon thousands of men
and women propelled a wave of social movements between 2000 and 2005.
These uprisings ended the neoliberal hegemonic path that had been direct‑
ing the reorganization of everyday life and economic production. In this way,
they marked a definitive end to the continued development of that process.
There was a dynamic wave of social potential that affected public life in
plural, polyphonic ways. This opened a space‑time of Pachakuti. In other
words, it produced a social context defined by disrupting what until then
had been accepted as a normal part of everyday life: the prerogative of a few
men and women, from a privileged social status and ethnicity, to govern and
determine the fortune and fate of everyone else. This included the authority,
accepted until then as legitimate, to use and manage public resources in a
predatory, selective, and, above all, private way for the sole benefit of a few.
These were the same few who for decades had reveled in their power to gov‑
ern and in their unlimited access to pleasure.
There were hundreds of community planning events to reach agreements,
to organize, generate mutual trust, and fight for and defend what belongs to
everyone collectively and what should also be collectively managed and used
for everyone’s benefit. On various occasions, the ethnic and social conflict
that defines and divides Bolivian society was clearly visible in the same way
that lightning illuminates dark nights. The visibility of the various mecha‑
nisms for political and social domination that make it possible to exploit
Pachamama (mother earth in both Quechua and Aymara) and her children
generated a growing collective response, which empowered the participation
of thousands upon thousands of men and women. They organized in
com‑
munities, trade unions, neighborhood councils, federations, confederations,
and coordinating committees to transform and modify those oppressive and
unjust social dynamics. This marked the beginning of an era of Pachakuti.
This study’s research comprised two objectives. First, I sought to clar‑
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