About Nick Buxton
Nick Buxton lives in La Paz, Bolivia, where he works for a political NGO. His website is www.nickbuxton.info
Articles by Nick Buxton
“We are not just talking about a change in president, we are talking about a change in history”, Roxana Liendo, an NGO worker, predicted at a recent dinner in Bolivia’s capital, La Paz. In the final week before Bolivia’s elections on 18 December 2005, the feeling that the country is about to enter a new stage in a long history of repression and resistance, exclusion and privilege, has begun to take hold.
La Paz is still festooned with flags and posters that represent a rainbow of parties, but there is an extra spring in the step of the blue-clad supporters of indigenous leader Evo Morales and his left-wing party Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS). The party was trailing in third place with 15% of the projected vote. Now it is in the lead with 36%, six points ahead of the nearest rival, the right-wing Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga. Evo Morales’s support appears to be still rising and most commentators now feel he will form Bolivia’s next government.
“While the poor don’t have food, the rich won’t have peace,” reads the graffiti scrawled onto the wall adjoining the dual carriageway that sweeps breathlessly from one of the world’s highest airports into Bolivia’s Andean city of La Paz.
In front of the graffiti lie six smashed-up tollbooths, destroyed by protestors who have marched almost daily in May 2005 the eleven kilometres from the impoverished city of El Alto towards the seat of government in the capital, La Paz.