Globe, Latin America, Multiculture, Our People

Emma Felber and Bolivia during the times of Evo Morales

The reduction of poverty and inequality are two social problems in Bolivia that have been moderated by the policies of a government motivated by social movements.


Bolia Forum 17Since the Revolution of 1952, until the social demands of the first decade of 2000, Bolivia has been one of the Latin American regions with the greatest number of protests and demonstrations, led by a population defending its rights out loud.

Even though the gap between rich and poor has been narrowed due to “political changes staged by the current president, Evo Morales”, struggle against poverty and inequality are still two of the main problems affecting this South American territory.

Emma Felber, president of the British organisation The Bolivia Information Forum, witnessed in person the revolts of social movements, which began in 2002, and resulted in the election of Morales as president of the country in 2006.

emm felberFelber says that the situation in Bolivia has improved considerably, although it leads to problems being “quite complicated”.

She explains that Bolivia “has an incredible ecological and political diversity, there are many perspectives and interests at stake”.

“The Forum was formed due to the lack of reliable information in the UK regarding Bolivia and the processes of change promoted by social movements, which managed to gain power in 2006 “, says Felber.

In addition, the forum ensures that knowledge around Bolivia in England has not increased in relation to economic growth in the region, but by “the ideas and proposals of indigenous social movements”.

“Initiatives such as The 10 commandments of Mother Earth, in order to promote the rights and protection of the planet, have caught the attention of the universal society and of the United Kingdom”, Felber notes.

Bolia Forum 10The Prisma speaks with Emma Felber about the situation in Bolivia.

What is the economic situation in Bolivia? Is there an economic growth similar to that of the rest of Latin America?

In the last ten years, there has been improvement regarding the economic situation.  Bolivia has gone from being the second poorest country in Latin America, after Haiti, to one of the four territories with the highest economic growth throughout South America.

This is mainly because the government is committed to paying the income derived from hydrocarbons in aid of the Bolivians.

Evo Morales
Evo Morales

What lies behind the development and growth?

One of the key factors is political change. Economic growth is associated with the price of minerals.  Bolivia has an economy based on imports and exports, and now prices are very high. It should be highlighted that the policies of the government have reduced levels of absolute poverty and poverty in general.

 What are the existing problems?

The problem of inequality has been reduced in the last few years, but it is still great.

The differences between city and rural areas are evident. Absolute poverty affects more rural populations and farmers. Regarding the situation of human rights in comparison with other territories, fortunately we do not experience a violation of human rights on a daily basis.

Bolia Forum 14 There are plenty of protests in Latin America. Is Bolivia considered to be an exception?

In Bolivia, manifestations have become ordinary. The population is very committed, aware and active in the protection of its human rights and interests. During 2003, 2004 and 2005, it was worth pointing out the power that these social movements had when united in order to promote an agenda associated with the interests of the Bolivians.

They were even successful in the political changes that the country was undergoing.

Language is one of the problems of immigrants. What is education like in Bolivia?

Bolia Forum 15The language is indeed a challenge for the educational system. There are several official languages there, and many people speak up to three. Since 2007, the Constitution demands that teachers master one of the native languages in order to carry out their role.

It is necessary to promote English so that immigrants can defend themselves.

Is it important that Brits know and understand Bolivia?

In 2008, there was an attempted coup in Bolivia, and incorrect information was flowing in the country.  Certain media manipulated information saying that Evo Morales was a swindler and a tyrant. This information is certainly not true and needs to be corrected.  It is essential that the British public receive a reliable source of information and we are working on this.


(Translated by Loukia Katsiami)


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