#Bolivia – between a rock and a hard place

A key to visiting & travelling through a country is to try to understand at least some of it´s culture and history, and a one great way to do so is to read a book about it. Finding by chance a copy of ´Bolivia – between a rock and a hard place´, was just what was needed! Written by an English author, Pete Good (a long term resident in Bolivia), and published in 2006 (426 pages, published by Plural Editons, La Paz, ISBN 99905-839-5-1), this history of Bolivia, and it´s politics, was a fine read. (info & review). It´s also got a great bibliography of referenced Spanish & English books.

After a brief into to pre-colonialism in south America, author Good goes on to cover Bolivia up to the end of 2005, when Evo Morales & his MAS movements were elected. Having read various books & other resources prior to visiting south America, and especially ´Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent / Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina´ (Eduardo Galeano, 1971), finding Good´s book specifically on Bolivia was a bonus.

Whilst the book covers both the colonialist period, and post-independence after 1825, it is particularly informative on the period since 1952. It takes in Bolivia´s National Revolution of 1952; traces the intervention & control of the USA from the 1950´s onwards via ´aid´, debt, threats, trade, the IMF & World Bank; ruthlessly exposes the greed, corruption, self-interest, brutality & stupidity of the Bolivian elite over centuries; explains the scramble for Bolivia´s natural resources by its larger neighbours, and the influence they´ve exerted; and goes into much detail about the events of 2000-2005, when decades of struggle comes to a boil and Bolivia´s indigenous peoples finally get a government of their own…or do they? Because Good doesn´t treat Morales/MAS with kid gloves, indeed he shows in detail some of their political machinations and power plays, and in many ways demonstrates that Morales & his fellow leaders may not be that much different…except of course the book ends with Morales historic 2005 election, and some hope! A follow up by the author on the events since 2006 would be fascinating…

More info: Bolivian independence from IMF & Debt (TeleSur article)
Bolivian history (wikipedia)
Morales/MAS 2017 crisis (blog article)
Our brand is crisis (Hollywood film 2015)

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2 thoughts on “#Bolivia – between a rock and a hard place

  1. Pingback: #MarParaBolivia – Bolivia’s Day for the Sea is on 23 March! | zerotothirtythree

  2. Pingback: Into the mines of Cerro Rico in Potosi, Bolivia | zerotothirtythree

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