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Bolivian doctors fighting for socialism (6)

By Andre Vltchek (People's Daily Online)

15:18, June 18, 2012

Indigenous women in Cochabamba (People's Daily Online/ Andre Vltchek)

Many years ago I showed the film to my acquaintance in La Paz, the owner of a major daily newspaper and the son of a Senator. I asked him: “Don’t you think that one day there will be people banging at the gate of your mansion?” He gave me a big smile, as he was packing his golf bag. “They will come”, he said. “Of course one day they will come. But before that, I will be having plenty of fun while they will be eating shit.”

“Try this”, I was handed a cup of yoghurt with local herbs. “It is really good for you – all natural”. Several nutritionists explaining to local people how to incorporate healthy things they have and grow into their daily diet.

I moved further and was asked to register my family for some government health program. I tried to produce the most outrageous Chilean accent I could manage, but it didn’t deter the enthusiastic government employee. “You don’t live here? But you definitely know some people who do. Bring them here, we will tell them to sign up; it is for their own good.”

The entire atmosphere was of socialist realism brought to its best. It was naïve, sincere and to be in the middle of it felt extremely well and warm. People working on the square appeared to be fully stripped of any cynicism, sarcasm and self-interest. The government, medical staff and hundreds of women who were on the receiving end were interacting naturally and confidently. There was calm and plenty of good will, but there was no artificiality – not many pre-fabricated smiles and no unnecessary or extreme courtesy.

Many years ago a friend of mine, a translator and writer Kevin Mathewson who presently lives in Brazil, recalled the first days of the Nicaraguan revolution that he experienced in Managua:

“What I found the most powerful was not the revolution itself, but what it unleashed. One day I was standing at the side of the road. The bus was passing. It was full of girls from the countryside, dressed in their best. The bus was packed. Some girls were barefoot, but they were all very clean and very excited. You see, they were going to downtown Managua; they were going to dance. For the first time in their lives they were going to be allowed to enter the places that were just few days earlier reserved only for the elites. Suddenly, they knew they could… There was so much anticipation and hope and excitement radiating from their faces… This was the moment when I understood that this revolution was right. When I saw those shy countryside girls going to the capital city which was suddenly theirs.”

I felt the same, in the middle of the festive square of Cochabamba.

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【11】 【12】 【13】


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