Today we began with a discussion of the power of protests, as we compared the Water and Gas “Wars,” as the protests of 2000 and 2003 became known. Then, we had an amazing and inspiring discussion of the long history and frustrating present of social movements in Bolivia from Oscar Olivera, one of the country’s best known activists.
We learned how his personal history beginning work at 14 shaped his union organizing, the history of such efforts in Bolivia, and his sharp criticism of Evo Morales’ administration. He ended with an invitation to continue building espacios de encuentro where we can develop the values of direct democracy.
In the afternoon, we visited Vida y Esperanza, a project using equine therapy with children who have been living on the street and consuming drugs. We heard about the challenges and joys of working with these children, and how the work requires long term commitment.