Discover the World News Forecast . . . FIRST in Foresight Journalism

Bolivia opens bicentenary events in Latin America ;

July 18, 2009 - BOLIVIA

The town was Sucre, formerly Chuquisaca, and La Paz commemorate the bicentenary of uprisings that were unsuccessful but regarded as the opening salvo of the continent's struggle for independence from Spain. Their bicentenary events will be repeated in varying degrees of lavishness over the next two years as Latin America celebrates 200 years of independence from colonial rule, coordinated by the Bicentennial Group. In Bolivia, the colonial drama is still in play.

The towns was Sucre, formerly Chuquisaca, and La Paz commemorate the bicentenary of uprisings that were unsuccessful but regarded as the opening salvo of the continent's struggle for independence from Spain. Coordinated by the Bicentennial Group, bicentenary events will be repeated in varying degrees of lavishness over the next two years as Latin America celebrates 200 years of independence from colonial rule. Bolivia, where the colonial drama is still in plan, celebrates on May 25 and Jul 18. Ministers of culture of the Ibero-American forum met in 2007 to form the Bicentennial Group. Made up by Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela and Chile--nations that began their emancipation process from the Spanish crown between 1809 and 1811--it aims to coordinate independence activities across the continent. Bolivia and Ecuador celebrate their bicentennials in 2009, followed by Argentina, Chile, and Mexico in 2010, and with Venezuela and Paraguay in 2011. Colombia has decided to commemorate its anniversary in 2019. Guatemala and Peru follow in 2021. Rafael Garcia Mora, a Jesuit priest interviewed by the BBC who has worked for 25 years in the Indian movement, says the country's majority indigenous people still feel colonised. "Here they kept up the same style and habits of Spain," he said. "In other places they kicked out the colonialists but in Bolivia they cut their ties with the empire and established their own government structures and constitutions so they could just carry on benefiting as they had always done." Despite having a president, Evo Morales, who is an Asmara Indian, the indigenous groups continue to be among the nation's poorest, working as peasant farmers or cheap labour. Morales has pledged reforms to help the indigenous communities

Grupo Bicentenario

History of Bolivia (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Colonial scars run deep in Bolivia (BBC 21 May 2009)

Date written/update: 2009-07-18