We began this morning with a rousing discussion of neoliberalism, inclusion and cosmopolitanism inspired by Nancy Postero’s article on the struggle to create radical democracy in Bolivia. Then, we heard a sweeping summary of contemporary issues in Bolivia from Vivian Scharz Blum from Ciudadania. She emphasized the difficulties of institutional reform.
After lunch with their host families, we walked to the Universidad San Martin campus, the biggest public university in Cochabamba. Tuition is free, but the campus was closed for almost four months last year because of strikes.
We heard accounts from students leaders about the attack on their organizations’ headquarters, and their demands that the quality of education be improved, including ongoing review of professor performance, and ensuring that students are able to graduate as well educated profesionales.