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Pronunciation for the dignity of the Yacuiba university | Statement

During statements made in Yacuiba, to the media on April 23, 2020, by José Quecaña of the Transitional Regional Executive of the Autonomous Region of Chaco, utilised language that violated the dignity of the Public University and which are aimed at guiding the actions of the State to provocatively violate University Autonomy.

For this reason, the “Autonomía” University Front affiliated to the FEBA and adhered to the IFA associative pact, pronounces:

First. The Repudiation of any declaration or intention by the Bolivian State to violate the University Autonomy.

Second We demand, a public retraction of the José Quecaña of Transitional Regional Executive of the Autonomous Region of Chaco, for his statements that violate the legal principle of University Autonomy.

Third Confirmation that, faced with threats to University Autonomy, the student body will unite in the sole cause of defending the dignity of the University.

Fourth We request solidarity support from the student movement, to stop any attempt to violate the grounds of the University Campus of Yacuiba.

Yacuiba, 24th April 2020

Original statement
https://bit.ly/358MCkw

For context of the situation students face in Yucuiba here is a report from el Popular

For José Quecaña “the university autonomy does not matter” and affirms that the state will have the environments of the UAJMS in Chaco

The Transitional Regional Executive of Chaco, together with other local authorities, decided to use the University Campus of the Juan Misael Saracho Autonomous University (UAJMS), so that its facilities are transformed into a temporary shelter for more than 500 people with Bolivian nationality, who will return from Argentina after being stranded in that country.

The repatriation of Bolivians is scheduled for the first days of May 2020, the Minister of Defense, Luis Fernando López, together with the authorities of the Region, toured the environments of the UAJMS in Yacuiba, which will be used as a temporary shelter. or quarantine center.

Subsequent to this determination, the Rector of the UAJMS, Gonzalo Gandarillas denied the use of the environment for the installation of the Yacuiba quarantine center.

The Rector reminded the Chaco authorities of the existence of a co-government for decision-making within university autonomy, “there is a definitive legal impediment that makes it impossible to grant the requested university properties, due to the rule of law and why doing so otherwise -as provided by the EOU- commits the university authorities to authorize such legal nonsense and manifest illegality, before our own regulations, “explained Gandarillas, in a formal letter sent to the Minister of Defense.

In addition, he warned that following the request to use the university premises located in the north of Yacuiba, as a quarantine center, would put the continuity of the semester at risk, it was categorical, the students would lose the semester.

“The fact of following the request of his ministerial office, considering that the entry of compatriots would be the first days of May and they must be in quarantine for 14 days, would seriously jeopardize the health of our students and teachers who provide services in the Faculty of Integrated Sciences of the Gran Chaco – Yacuiba and would determine the loss of the semester ”

In relation to this response, the Transitional Regional Executive of Chaco, José Quecaña, recalled that all the infrastructures in the Region were built, with economic resources from Chaco, “no one has to oppose,” he warned, explaining that it will be the State (referring to the central level), which will have the environments “the infrastructures in the Chaco are of the State (…) you cannot tell the State (referring to the response of the Rector of the UAJMS) that you are not going to provide an environment that the State built” Quecaña indicated. “Now there is a (negative) answer, it can be autonomous, not autonomous (referring with disdain to university autonomy) the State has to enforce,” he said, stating that the UAJMS will not have the last word regarding the use of environments. from the Yacuiba university campus, infrastructure that must be transformed from the last week of April into a Quarantine Center.

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Bolivia: A Very Latin American Coup | International

FACT. What just happened in Bolivia is a coup d’etat if we consider the dictionary definiton which is “the sudden, violent overthrow of an existing government by a small group. The chief prerequisite for a coup is control of all or part of the armed forces, the police, and other military elements. “

It is being said the former president Evo Morales resigned so he was not overthrown. It is also said he committed fraud and that is why he left. It is also said it is not a coup because Evo himself called it ‘civic and police coup’ as oppose to military cup. Wait.

This view is quite simplistic and does not go deep into the history of Bolivia, how the elections were held, and votes counted, and what was achieved in 13 years 9 months and who benefited and who did not, and who took power, how and what has happened I Bolivian streets since then.

During what his opponents call ‘dictatorship’, Evo Morales Ayma,  the first Indigenous president ever in Bolivia, and South America, reduced poverty from 35% to 15%, increased the minimum wage 127%, and very importanly, nationalised natural resources including natural gas and lithium, redistributed the lands among indigenous peasants, and made healthcare universal and free.  Also, Bolivia was named by the UN as free of illiteracy, and unemployment levels fell.

Bolivia held elections on the 20th of October. After the count of the overall votes he was declared victor with 47% against Carlos Mesa, right wing, with 36%. The latter immediately challenged this supported by the Church, and the governments of the USA, Brazil, and Argentina’s soon to be ex president, Neo-liberal, Macri, with the complicity of the American States Organisation (OEA) whose General Secretary, Luis Almeguer said in press conference on 12th of November that what was happening in Bolivia was not a coup and the military was not involved. All of this should should ring bells.

Evo Morales agreed to have international observers after his opponents accused him of stealing the election. On 2th of October he called for a second election. In the streets, there were clashes between supporters and police and opponents. Evo Morales was forced to resign to avoid bloodshed and was offered political asylum by Mexico who sent a plane to Paraguay for him which he boarded on the early hours 12th of November.

But that is not all that happened. During all this time, right-wing opposition gangs kidnapped family members of cabinet ministers and forced them to resign, burnt Evo Morales’ sister’s house, looted his own home, and burned the homes of some politicians loyal to the regime, and Patricia Arce, mayor of Vinto, was attacked, asasulted and publicly humiliated by an angry right wing mob. Ordinary people, mostly indigenous supporters, were also attacked, and graffiti appeared saying ‘Indios out” and “Bolivia free of “Indios” and the Wiphala flag, a symbol of unity of Original Nations has been burned and taken from police officers uniforms.

The perpetrators of this coup, some alleged quite simplistically is the USA. The European left forgetting that Latin American is a continent still colonised mentally and in all aspects of life. We do have agency and reactionary and fascist powers of our own that do not really need US support, even f they do look for it and they do get it.

That the CIA has backed every single coup in our continent since the 50’s is a given, however it is a fact that the plots come first from within. The USA usually provides money, weapons and a blessing.

The perpetrators of this very Latin American Coup D’Etat, which started being arranged as early as July 2019 , according to audio and documents seen by the new progressive elected government of Argentina to be made public soon, are many.

Carlos Mesa, the neo- liberal candidate to presidency, a privateer of course, but he is not leading this. The real brain behind this is Luis Camacho, a multi millionare religious fundamentalist which much to lose in a plurinational nation led by a socialist president. His family profited from the sale of Bolivia’s natural resources and health insurance. He is also a fascist leader of the separatist Union Juvenil Crucenista,(UJC) whose young members seems to have taken a leaf from the SS and Hitler Youth book. There are pictures of them sieg heiling, in fact.

The role of the evangelical churches in this coup and the far right in the whole continent must be mentioned too. The UJC are fanatics and there is now also an army of Christian youth in Argentina with fascist leanings, too. The Catholic church, as they have done historically in Latin America, are either keeping quiet or actively preaching to keep the oligarchy in power.

Important to mention the fact that the coup happened just a week after Evo Morales stopped a multimillion deal to exploit the country’s lithium resources.

Camacho entered the Palace of Government as soon as Evo had resigned waving a flag, and donning a bible. A sign of things to come. He has made speeches quoting the bible and has vowed to bring it back to governmental circles.

In terms of the army involvement, the Chief of the Armed Forces, General Williams Kaliman called for Evo to resign and after he did, the general gave a speech consecrating the army to Jesus Christ. They have also attempted to bribe Evo Morales’ security with 50 000 dollars to hand him in before he had to flee.

The army, too, have being asked by the police force to assist them in the streets to control the thousands of people who support Evo and who have pledged to revolt if he is not reinstated. I am talking about Indigenous organisations, Community leaders, Farmers and doctors.

Contacts in Bolivia now have reported to me that their friends have been arrested or attacked by young fascists or the police, with video evidence, and, oddly, they say a large number of indigenous people out in the streets last night seem to have vanished. There is also the fear of not knowing what side the neighbours are in or if they can leave the house.

The resistence is huge and grassroots and Indigenous, and community organisations are leading it. EveN doctors have taken to the streets. A the time of writing this, the Bolivian Workers Central (COB),who reject the coup, has pledged to call for a general strike and deploy all its affiliated workers to La Paz if consitunional order is not restored in 24 hours (13th of November 23.00 GMT) . 20 provinces are, I am told, going to La Paz to resist.

Unfortunately, today after midnight GMT, Jeanine Anez, a right wing senator proclaimed herself president of Bolivia, clutching a bible, with NO elections but standing by her side were Luis Camacho, and a leader of the UJC and was approved by the army, police and the elite. No indigenous people around despite them being 62% of the population. It must be stressed that this goes against articles 161, 169 and 420 that forbid this categorically.

Make no mistake. In words of Adriana Guzman, leader of Feminists of Abya Yala (The pre colonial name for what is now South America in Guna language) “The coup d’etat in Bolivia is racist, patriarchal, ecclesiastic and oligarch” A very Latin American coup, then.

Tais is a Mexican Native and activist based in London. She has been part of the student and Indigenous movements in Mexico and has been involved in animal rights, Antifascism and solidarity work in Ireland and the UK for many years.

(Article originally posted on Freedom)

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Anarchism and the Student Movement in Yacuiba

The student movement in the south of Bolivia has a long history, as well as diverse ideological influences. Denying the existence of a student movement in the domain of public universities, especially with the ideological influences of the symbol that it was, affirms that apoliticity on the issue of education is a contradiction; as Paulo Freire says: The political nature of such a task exists independently of whether we are aware of it or not. (p 137, Letters to Guinea Bissau, Freire). If indeed secondary school and university students or teachers, all students, were walking in the Chaco Plain without meeting one another, this wouldn’t mean that their paths would never cross, such as in May 2001, when the “Guevarista”-influenced current in the classrooms of the Universidad Pública en Yacuiba (Public University of Yacuiba) decided to meet with the leadership of the secondary student movement at the centre of the Student Coordinator popularly known as Asoces (Asociación de Centro de Estudiantes – Central Association of Students). For the last three years of the twentieth century this became a space in the south of Bolivia to criticise the policies of the neoliberal Educaional Reform Bill of 1994. Continuing this legacy, in the first decade of the twenty-first century came the revival of the Federación Estudiantil Secundarista (Federation of Secondary Students), but it was then (May 2001) that university and secondary students in Yaciuba really understood the necessity of pushing for the consolidation of higher education in Chaco. We mustn’t forget that in 2001, the University of Tarija wanted to close the only option for public higher education in Yacuiba.

That attempt, which would have succeeded because the fight didn’t resonate with the public (the local bourgeoisie showed no interest in supporting the consolidation of public higher education in Chaco), would still find an opposition in the students who organised in the Asoces, in an agreement with the union which would later repeat itself at other levels of decision. A quote from Bakunin says, The union is strength. This is a well-known truth that no one will want to contradict. However, it is important to understand it well. For the union to produce that effect, it must be real and sincere at all times and not mean the hypocritical exploitation of one party for the benefit of another. (Letter, Bakunin, 1870) It is important to note that the majority of the militants of the Asoces had an inclination towards anarchism, belonging to a group descended from the thought of Liber Forti. This anarchist intellectual played an important role for the constitution of the Universidad Obrera de Llallagua (Workers University of Llallagua), having contributed to the formation of a nucleus of militant anarchists during his visits to the city border of Yacuiba in the second half of the twentieth century. Towards the end of that century, these anarchists would pass their knowledge to a new generation, who would discover a revolutionary truth in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Errico Malatesta, Mikhail Bakunin and Piotr Kropotkin. Without that knowledge, the anarchist student movement in Yacuiba would not have been able to construct a solid discourse of struggle and unity.

On the subject of the union, Bakunin states: Trust makes the union, and the union creates strength. We have here, without doubt, two truths that no one will try to deny. Moreover, to be true, two things are necessary: that the trust is not a farce and that the union, equally sincere for all parties, must not be an illusion, a lie, or the hypocritical exploitation of one party by the other. The parties who unite must forget completely, not forever, no doubt, but for the time that the union should last, their particular, necessarily opposed interests.” (The Knouto-germanic Empire and Social Revolution, Bakunin, 1870). The economic crisis of the capitalist system which hit the people of Yacuiba in 2002, the consolidation of the secondary student movement in 2003, the consensus of the Encuentro Nacional Libertario (Libertarian National Conference) in Paukaparta (La Paz, 16 October 2004) and the expansion of public higher education in Chaco from 2002, would set the stage for the signing of the founding statement of the Frente Autonomia (Autonomous Front), a student organisation which with time pushed for the creation in 2007 of their own Federación Universitaria Local (Local University Student Federation) [FUL] for Chaco (since 2018 this instance of co-government is no longer classified in a separate list in the directory of the regional FUL, thus burying ten years of an experience of government which respects the particular characteristics of university life in Yacuiba). Since the student elections in 2008, Autonomía has been growing as an anarchist student organisation, on the platform of “a strong student movement, built from the bottom up” (Documento Político para Transformar la Educación superior Pública, Autonomía, 2014). It mobilised students in defence of their rights in various Student Government leadership spaces in the Faculty of Integrated Sciences of Gran Chaco, part of the University of Tarija. By March 2018, it would reach the historical milestone of being the driving force of a university movement at the departmental level, challenging the ruling cliques of the most neoliberal universities of the Bolivian higher education system. The passage of time has allowed for the consolidation of a Yacuiban anarchist group into a model of organisation, direction and unity for the rest of the Bolivian student movement.

Since 2018, Autonomía has been the fundamental pillar in building the Federación Estudiantil Boliviana Anarquista [FEBA], a diverse space for discussion between the popular and anarchist student organisations, which fight the hierarchy and corruption of the leadership of the Student Governments, in addition to the opportunistic electoralism of short-lived groups which, stripped of all ideology, seek only the crumbs of power for their own benefit, forgetting the large majority of students who are victims of authoritarian teachers and the despotism of the university authorities. “It is the students who are the victims of the worst learning conditions, due to the ruling cliques of teachers who silence all protest and the cowardly student representatives who don’t speak up against them,” (Declaración por el día del trabajo, Autonomía, 2019). With this philosophy, affiliated to the FEBA and adhering to the associative pact of the IFA, the Autonomía Frente Universitario is the only student organisation which is currently continuing to defend public higher education in Yacuiba, true to its history and commitment to transform education into an instrument of liberation and social justice.

Article by José Luis Claros López originally shared in Spanish on his blog. Desde Yacuiba
Translation by Organise!