On Wednesday, we discussed students’ ongoing ethnographic projects, ranging from observing markets, street vendors, and supermarkets, to visiting Vida y Esperanza and helping out with the horses. We then headed over to the departmental headquarters of the governing MAS party, where after a brief wait we were able to talk to the president of the Cochabamba parliament (comparable to a state assembly in the U.S.), Ademar Valda.
Diputado Valda explained the advances made by the MAS administration, in both the economy and important areas including maternal and child health and public education. Despite concerns that he might be hostile given the ongoing tensions between the US and Bolivia, he assured us that he differentiated between the US government and the American people. Finally, he described the upcoming February referendum that would allow president Evo Morales to run again for president as an opportunity to deepen democracy by consulting the will of the people.