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In November 2019, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, resigned after weeks of public protest over election irregularities. Morales claimed his resignation was the result of a coup, and his loyal supporters as well as Leftists across the global online community supported this claim. But for many other Bolivians, including many indigenous communities, Morales’s departure was welcome. For them, Morales had long ago abandoned the promises of the plurinational state, concentrating power to the state instead of sharing power with indigenous communities or social movements. In this talk, I will analyze the Morales administration’s promises and failures, providing a deeper political and historical context for understanding the current crisis. I argue that while at the beginning of his time in power Morales promoted an emancipatory politics for indigenous and poor Bolivians, by the end of his administration, the state enacted a form of policing based on the extraction of natural resources and the silencing of opposition.
Nancy Postero is Professor of Anthropology at UC San Diego. She studies the intersection of politics, race, and economy in Latin America, especially Bolivia. She is the author of Now We Are Citizens: Indigenous Politics in Post-multicultural Bolivia (Stanford 2007) and The Indigenous State: Race, Politics, and Performance in Plurinational Bolivia (UC Press 2017). She is the co-Director of UCSD’s Human Rights program.
*Free and open to the public
*Lunch will be provided