Bolivia… In the centre of La Paz, opposite the Plaza Murillo, the hands of the Reloj del Sur turn to the left as a sign of Bolivia’s decision to preserve its identity.
The curious mechanism was installed in the Plurinational Assembly Building on 21 June 2014, a date marking the start of Andean-Amazonian Year 5522, and which also represents the national process of change initiated in 2006.
With its numbers reversed, it symbolises both the recovery of peoples’ traditions in the region, and also the opposition to values imposed by large powers.
As well as awakening the interest of those who visit the Bolivian capital, it evokes the possibility of challenging established standards and daring to think differently.
For Chancellor David Choquehuanca, the initiative has as its aim to appreciate Bolivian culture and to retrace the path of indigenous nations.
The Foreign Affairs Minister confirmed that We must be made aware that we are in the South.
He also noted that the new clock is one of many demands made by indigenous populations in recent years.
The use of the Whipala (a flag of seven colours representing Andean communities), recognising the coca leaf as a tradition and unifying element, and campaigns in favour of protecting the Mother Land, are some of the region’s and this country’s concrete achievements in the fight for its recognition.
After coming to power in 2006, the indigenous prime minister of Bolivia, Evo Morales, focused his time in office on guaranteeing respect for indigenous peoples and peasant farmers, and on recovering and defending their traditions.
The new Political Constitution of the State, passed in 2009, declares the nation democratic and intercultural, founded on political, economic, legal, cultural and linguistic plurality.
It also recognises the ama qhilla, ama llulla, ama suwa (do not be lazy, do not be a liar or a thief), the suma qamaña (live well) ñandereko (live harmoniously), teko kavi (good life) ivi maraei (land without evil) and qhapaj ñan (noble path or life) as ethical and moral principles.
At the request of the government, the first three, known as the triad of the moral and intersubjectivity of indigenous peoples, were recognised by the United Nations in 2015 as values for public, transparent and efficient governing.
Morales hailed the body’s decision and confirmed that the Andean peoples were honoured that their principles had been recognised. Another of the provisions defended by the Bolivian government is Live Well, which seeks harmony with the Pachamama, or Mother Earth, as well as her respect and care.
According to Choquehuanca, this philosophy entails appreciation of history, culture and traditions of indigenous peoples, but, above all, protection and preservation of natural resources.
To Live Well is to share with the community, live harmoniously with nature, aim to save the planet and to give priority to humanity, explained the chancellor in an interview with the newspaper La Razón.
It is also to achieve a consensus and respect differences, and to know to listen to one another without discrimination or any type of subjugation, he added.
He stated that it is about defending identity, reaching complementarity, returning to the unity of nations, leading an equal life with all individuals within a community and building an equal society.
Morales recalled the importance to Live Well and not better than our peers, as well as advocating for a new national model, in which indigenous peoples can have full civil, political and economic participation, and shall never again be excluded.
He affirmed that within the framework of profound and democratic transformation, we have proposed an end to injustice. Today, with the new Constitution, we have a historic opportunity to close doors to racism, discrimination and exclusion, starting by building a plurinational, intercultural, and authentically democratic state.
Before, the Quechua, the Aymara, the Guaraní and other low-land groups could not enter the Palace (of government). This is a thing of the past. Now, we are one of the fundamental pillars of a new nation, he added.
In this vein, he highlighted that in Bolivia today, there are indigenous communities and peasant farmers who are marking out the path to follow and the necessary changes to guarantee development of the country, the preservation of nature and equal distribution of profits.
I know that change is difficult – said the governor -, but I have absolute confidence in the Bolivian people, in their capacity to reason, to learn from their mistakes, to recover their roots and forge a just, diverse inclusive, equal and harmonious nation. (PL)
Photos: Pixabay y Commons Wikimedia – (Translated by Abaigh Wheatley – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)