January 22, Day of the Plurinational State of Bolivia
The Day of the Plurinational State of Bolivia is celebrated on Jan. 22. Eleven years have passed since 2009, when the country’s “re-foundation” was carried out, led by the first Indigenous president, Evo Morales. The New Constitution states: “We left the colonial, republican and neoliberal state in the past. We assumed the historical challenge to collectively build a Social Unitary State of Plurinational Communitarian Law, which integrates and articulates the purposes of advancing toward a Bolivia that is democratic, productive, and an inspirer of peace, committed to integral development and with the free determination of its people.” In a counterpoint with the other countries of the American continent, Bolivia does not erase indigenous peoples but celebrates its plurality and culture. Nathália Urban reports.
Tomorrow, January 22, Bolivia commemorates the Day of the Plurinational State. The celebration represents the consolidation of the birth of the Democratic and Cultural Revolution of the country, a movement established by the central socialist indigenous government of Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS).
It was in 2010, due to an official change in the name of the territory made by then President Evo Morales, when Bolivia began to be called the Plurinational State of Bolivia, an alteration collected and supported in the 2009 Constitution in order to recognize the various ethnic groups that make up the Bolivian population. The country ceased to be a republic to become a new nation format, capable of including its 36 indigenous peoples with whom 41% of the population is related, according to the 2012 census .
The Plurinational State principle is based on respect and equality among all, with principles of sovereignty, dignity, complementarity, solidarity, harmony and equity in the distribution and redistribution of the social product, where the search for living well prevails, with respect for the economic, social, legal, political and cultural plurality of the inhabitants of this land; in collective coexistence with access to water, work, education, health and housing for all.
The constitution guarantees the pre-colonial existence of indigenous, native and peasant nations and its people, and their ancestral dominion over their territories. Their self-determination is guaranteed within the framework of the unity of the State, their right to autonomy, self-government, culture, recognition of their institutions and the consolidation of their territorial entities. Another recognized right is that all the languages of the thirty-six nations and indigenous peoples are official languages of the country.
The efforts MAS has done it to minimise the imperialist wound that all countries still have in America is impressive. In 2009 the country launched the Ministry of Cultures, Decolonization and Depatriarchalization, making an effort to decolonize and de-patriarchalize, also to reverse this inequality between nationalities, as well as between men and women.
Bolivia has been doing an important work mitigating the damages left by the Dictatorship of Jeanine Àñez and her government. Since MAS returned to power, the social and political situation has changed completely, bringing an end to the year-long crisis which followed the coup. In addition to the economy, the new President Luis Arce government is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The Bolivian president has placed emphasis on mass testing and vaccination, something that had been completely neglected by his predecessor.
Wiphalas Across the World
Here in the U.K. there’s an incredible group of Bolivians whose work is mainly to bring visibility to the issues of their homeland and celebrate their traditions, they are the Wiphalas Across the World or Wiphalas por el Mundo, (the 2009 Bolivian constitution establishes the Wiphala as the dual flag of Bolivia, along with the red-yellow-green tricolor.)
One of the members of its leading team Claudia Turbet-Delof, said that the Plurinational State Day “Is a day which Bolivia gives a message to the world showing that diversity, multinationalism, pluriculturalism can coexist peacefully”.
Twitter @WiphalasW [email protected]
Image credit: Aizar Raldes