[Marxism] A Dash of Mysticism: Governing Bolivia The Aymara Way (WSJ)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 6 04:41:18 MDT 2006

After you read the snide remarks by way of introduction, please
do go ahead and read the full article itself as there is lots
of good material in it, despite the spin.

The difference between presstitution and prostitution is that a
prostitute rents out their genitals while the presstitute sells
their soul and consciousness. The prostitute is supposed to be
selling a moment of sexual release to a customer, while in the
case of the presstitute, the goal is the mystical disorientation
of a broad mass public. Which one plays the more malicious role
in the human drama? I would argue against presstitution, a term
I first hear from Saul Landau, but one I've come to love and use

Don't you just love it when these savages from the United States
of Disneylandia complain about the spiritual practices of Bolivia,
a country whose geographical location many readers wouldn't have
been able to find on a map until recently? In the United States
of Fantasia, the government thinks women have no right to intrude
in God's own assignment to them as vessels in which the unborn are
given priority over the living. In Washington, they stopped all of
the nation's business to try to "save" the "life" of Terri Schiavo,
a woman who'd been braid dead for over a decade. And in the United
States, Christian mystical religiosity leads preachers to publicly
call for the assassination of elected heads of state - As Dobson
did for Hugo Chavez - but they fault Bolivian indians for THEIR
spiritual beliefs. And yet at the end you see a small but quite
revealing note about the fact that these new indiginous leaders
don't wear ties. There is something rather striking about that.

The Shah of Iran, and the former presidents of Bolivia, who today
is a crook hiding out in Miami, all wore ties. If you wonder why
Iranian officials, and Evo Morales don't wear ties, as this rather
small but symbolic gesture might help make it clear, they are in
the process of trying to create something new and better in their
countries, to break from the past in ways both visual and practical.
I bet those Bolivian doctors who complain about the Cuban doctors
who come and treat patients for free, those Bolivian doctors I bet
all wear ties. Take my word for it, whatever the spiritual ideas
motiving some of Bolivia's leaders, they aren't relying on faith
when they invite Cuban doctors. They know from long decades of
documented experience, that Cuban doctors practics basic urgent-
care medicine, leavened as well with modern technology and the
latest medical capacities.

Well, now that Godless International Atheistic Communism can't
be blamed for the world's troubles, the spiritual beliefs and
practices of indiginous leaders will be, let's hope, a harder
target for the media to organize public hate campaigns against.
It's taking some effort, for example, to get the public in the
U.S. all wound up against the evil threat of "Bolivarianism",
though some in the media are doing their best in this effort.

All of this helps us to also explain why some people have come
to believe that "God is With Cuba and With Fidel". Here's why:

Finally, it's worth pointing out that the attitudes propounded
by the so-called "advanced civilizations" of the west were so
well outed as far as Lenin in 1913, in his marvelous polemic:
"Backward Europe and Advanced Asia." Lenin WAS an atheist:

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews

July 6, 2006

A Dash of Mysticism:
Governing Bolivia
The Aymara Way
Reading Forefathers' Wrinkles
Doesn't Require Books;
The Future Lies Behind
July 6, 2006; Page A1

LA PAZ, Bolivia -- When Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca
discusses matters of state with visiting dignitaries in Bolivia's
faded foreign-ministry building, by his own admission, he's not
altogether there.

"We have always been without being," says Mr. Choquehuanca, a
45-year-old Aymara Indian intellectual. The concept of being there
while not being there, says Mr. Choquehuanca, is part of a mystical
code in which a person can be present physically but in a different
place spiritually. It's one of many Aymara concepts taught by his
forefathers -- in part, to cope with the brutality of life under the
conquistadors. Mr. Choquehuanca is trying to incorporate Aymara
concepts into the way the new Bolivian government does business.

Since he was elected Bolivia's first indigenous president by a
landslide vote in December, Evo Morales, a former leader of the coca
growers' union, has assembled a governing team of ex-guerrillas,
former street activists and Bolivian intellectuals. Casimira
Rodriguez, a former maid who founded a national maid's union, is the
justice minister, although she has never studied law. Vice President
Alvaro Garcia Linera was part of the Tupak Katari Guerrilla Army, a
group that operated in Bolivia during the 1990s. The group blew up
electric power towers and launched attacks in which some policemen
were killed. But prosecutors couldn't prove that Mr. Garcia Linera
had directly participated in those acts. He spent five years in
prison, but was not found guilty.

Since Mr. Morales assumed power in January, he has pledged to
redistribute the country's wealth among Bolivia's poor Indians, and
exert greater state control over the country's economy and natural
resources. He has forged a close alliance with Venezuela's fiery
anti-American president Hugo Chávez, and has organized a
constitutional convention, to reform the way the country is

The Marxists would be happy to take the country back to the
revolutionary 1960s and are exultant that Mr. Morales has already
renationalized the country's natural-gas industry. Mr. Choquehuanca
and other Aymara ministers would like to go back even farther -- to
1491, before Columbus sailed for the New World.

That's because the conquest of Bolivia in the early 16th century led
to centuries of exclusion and oppression for its Indian inhabitants,
a condition that improved little with independence in 1825. Today,
65% of Bolivians live on an income of less than $2 a day.

Many Aymara intellectuals say they want to re-create in the 21st
century the values of the communal Eden they believe existed before
the conquest, a place without poverty or oppression.

According to a new study by Rafael Núñez, a cognitive scientist at
the University of California at San Diego, the Aymara is the only
studied culture for which the past is linguistically and conceptually
in front of them while the future lies behind them.

To speak of the future, Dr. Núñez found, elderly Aymara thumbed or
waved back over their shoulder, while to speak of the past they made
forward sweeping motions with their hands and arms. The main word for
eye, front and sight in Aymara means the past, while the basic word
for back or behind also means the future. "The past is never 'left
behind,' for them, it's in front," said Dr. Núñez. "It's very odd for
people coming in from the outside."

Another important Aymara intellectual, Education Minister Felix
Patzi, 39 years old, says the new government should use procreation
to reverse the pernicious effects of colonization. Family planning
was a failed elitist conspiracy to keep the indigenous population
down, he told a literacy conference attended mainly by government
officials in La Paz recently. Indian women need to understand that
and continue to have five to eight children each, he said, so the
country's white minority, with their European ideas, would become
inconsequential. Mr. Patzi headed the sociology department at
Bolivia's leading public university before joining the Morales

Incorporating indigenous principles into government policy will be
much discussed when a constitutional convention meets in October to
draw up the structure for a new Bolivian state. At this point, no one
knows what kind of government will emerge when Bolivia's re-founding
fathers meet. But the most fundamental issues are up for grabs.

"What kind of society do we want? Pre-capitalist or communal? That's
the decision we face," says Mr. Patzi. One thing the new Bolivia
won't need is competition, he believes. "Competitiveness? I ask
myself why. Why study business in a country with no businesses?"

For Mr. Choquehuanca, short and of serious mien, who didn't learn to
speak Spanish until he was 7 years old, the job of foreign minister
is a world away from his youth in the thin air of an Aymara community
on the shores of Lake Titicaca, which straddles Bolivia's border with
Peru. His early education was in rural schools, although in 1985, he
won a scholarship to study in Cuba's Niceto Perez National School for
Cadre Formation. He also studied philosophy, history, anthropology
and Indian rights in Bolivian universities.

Upon taking office, he recommended that knowledge of Quechua, Aymara,
or Guarani, the languages spoken by about 60% of Bolivia's people,
should be a prerequisite for a diplomatic posting. Last month, the
Bolivian government went him one better by requiring knowledge of an
Indian language for any civil-service job. Present job holders have
two years to learn a language.

Looking for new uses for the country's coca -- chewed by Indians for
millennia, brewed in a medicinal tea enjoyed by many Bolivians and,
also, the basis for cocaine -- Mr. Choquehuanca suggested to congress
that coca leaf is rich in calcium and could be substituted for milk
in the country's schools. Pediatricians were outraged, and Mr.
Choquehuanca beat a quick retreat.

Mr. Choquehuanca says he doesn't turn to Western books for advice --
indeed, he boasts of not having read a book of any kind in years
because he doesn't want to cloud his mind with European concepts. "We
have been in the hands of people who have read books, and look what a
mess the Earth is in," he says. Far better to tap into the knowledge
of Aymara elders. "When I say we have to read the wrinkles in our
grandfathers' brows, it's to recover the wisdom that our grandfathers
still have," he says.

President Morales is close to Mr. Choquehuanca and shares many of the
foreign minister's ideas. Last month, the two were guests at a
gathering of Quechua Indian chiefs in Quito, Ecuador. After lighting
a sacrificial fire on the stage of an auditorium, and purifying the
Baton of Command in the sacred smoke, local chiefs passed it on to
Mr. Morales, who vowed to reject Western concepts imported "in
English," and recover the wisdom of the elders. "We fight to defend
the Pachamama," said Mr. Morales, using an Aymara term for Mother

Diplomats at La Paz trade stories about what they call
"Choquehuancadas" or "Choquehuanca Moments." A recent one: During a
reception at the Cuban embassy, the foreign minister asked guests to
participate in an Aymara blessing by thrusting their arms toward the
sky, palms extended.

But some diplomats say they find Mr. Choquehuanca to be a breath of
fresh air. "He's a very wise man," says Francisco Carrión, Ecuador's
foreign minister. He says he was impressed when Mr. Choquehuanca
talked about the difference between the Aymara concept of "living
well," and the Western concept of "living better," which implies
competition and the subjugation of nature.

He is also jealous that Mr. Choquehuanca shows up for work in an open
jacket and shirt-sleeves instead of the diplomat's suit and tie. "If
I could help it, I wouldn't wear a tie, either," Mr. Carrión says.

More information about the Marxism mailing list