Racial divide behind crisis

There is an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times about the way in which the current crisis in Bolivia divides people along often ethnic lines – and how this manifests itself in racist comments against the largely indigenous people involved in the bloqueos (road protests).

The majority of Bolivia is indigenous, but 30% is mestizo (mixed race) and 15% is white.

In Santa Cruz, which is largely white and mixed race, I felt an undercurrent of racism against those involved in the bloqueos, although this was also mixed in with a resentment at all things linked to the capital La Paz and the central government.

"We produce all the wealth, and it all goes to La Paz" said one taxi-driver. Another middle-class Cruceno (citizen of Santa Cruz) who had travelled many times to Europe told me he had just visited La Paz for the first time. He went for a week but came back after two days. "I hated it. I felt it was not my country."


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