NACLA/NYU panel on the Bolivian election and challenges to come — 17 November 2020

The North American Congress on Latin America and New York University Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies hosted me on a panel on the 2020 Bolivian elections and the challenges that await the MAS-IPSP government, on Tuesday, November 17. The video is online here.

Bolivia’s Electoral Victory: What Challenges Lie Ahead For MAS?

WHEN: Tuesday, November 17th, 2020. 5:30pm-7:30pm ET / 6:30pm Hora Boliviana

About the Event: The return of the MAS to government ends the ultra-rightist government of Jeanine Áñez, marked by the Senkata and Sacaba massacres, political repression, corruption scandals, gross incompetence and the weaponization and political use of the pandemic. For many, the electoral outcome heralds a restoration of democracy in Bolivia after Evo Morales’ ouster last year. For others, including many indigenous, labor, feminist and environmental organizations and movements, the results represent an opportunity to assess and redress deep contradictions in the MAS party and Morales government’s policies and practices. For all except the most recalcitrant, it is a sound repudiation of the racist, rightist government of Áñez and its coterie. Against this backdrop of restoration versus transformation, attention is now turning to the immense immediate challenges ahead for the MAS party and Bolivian people.

This panel brings together scholars and activists to discuss some of these challenges: How will the new government navigate the prospect of economic recession, a global pandemic and enduring political polarization? Will MAS’ pact with agro-industrial elites change (or not)? and how will the government quell far right resistance? How will the new government work with (rather than against) social movements to define the future development goals of the country? How will these social movements’ power and autonomy evolve in relations with the new administration? Will there be an opportunity for debate and reform in the MAS?

Olivia Arigho-Stiles (@OliviaArigho) is the moderator. The speakers will include: sociologists Marxa Nadia Chávez (UMSA, La Paz) and Gabriel Hetland (U Albany, @GabrielHetland), Kathryn Ledebur (Andean Information Network, @AndeanInfoNet), and myself, Carwil Bjork-James.

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