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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Chavez and the Indigenistas

Carlos Alberto Montaner:

While [Hugo Chávez] the colorful Venezuelan president claims to be the virtual son of Bolívar, the indigenistas led by [Bolivian President Evo] Morales believe -- and not without reason -- that the native-born nation builders were nothing but the descendants and cultural followers of the Spaniards who colonized the New World and subjugated the natives...

Morales and his supporters also dream of refounding Bolivia, as Chávez did in Venezuela when he took over the madhouse. But their refounding begins by eliminating the name of Bolívar, a white and wealthy foreigner backed by British imperialists, who wrote Bolivia's first constitution under the influence of the United States and in the manner of Spain's liberal Constitution of 1812.

Although Morales and most of his followers are ethnic Aymaras, a tribe subjugated by the Quechua-speaking Incas, the Bolivian indigenistas wish to create the Republic of Tahuantinsuyo, a new, supranational entity that will occupy almost all the land held by the Inca Empire 500 years ago.

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