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Dignity and Defiance

Dignity and Defiance: Stories from Bolivia’s Challenge to Globalization

Jim Shultz
Melissa Crane Draper
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Dignity and Defiance
    Book Description:

    Dignity and Defianceis a powerful, eyewitness account of Bolivia's decade-long rebellion against globalization imposed from abroad. Based on extensive interviews, this story comes alive with first-person accounts of a massive Enron/Shell oil spill from an elderly woman whose livelihood it threatens, of the young people who stood down a former dictator to take back control of their water, and of Bolivia's dramatic and successful challenge to the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Featuring a substantial introduction, a conclusion, and introductions to each of the chapters, this well-crafted mix of storytelling and analysis is a rich portrait of people calling for global integration to be different than it has been: more fair and more just.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94266-0
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    Melissa Crane Draper and Jim Shultz
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)
    Melissa Crane Draper and Jim Shultz

    We begin with a question:What is globalization?Historians might tell us that globalization actually began fifty thousand years ago, when a handful of our ancestors began a slow path out of Africa that ended up populating the far corners of the world. For centuries, through wars, commerce, migration, and religious proselytizing, the world has become steadily more integrated. In short, globalization is nothing new.

    Today the wordglobalizationhas become a catchall that means many different things all at once. On the lips of some, the word refers toeconomicglobalization—the movement of money, goods, business, and migrant...

  5. CHAPTER 1 The Cochabamba Water Revolt and Its Aftermath
    (pp. 9-43)
    Jim Shultz

    A two-and-a-half-gallon bucket of water weighs about twenty-two pounds, slightly more than the weight of five bricks. In Bolivia, that is just enough water to cook a family meal and clean up from it.

    On the outskirts of Cochabamba, where water is scarce and taps in the home are merely a dream, young children, burdened mothers, and bent-over grandmothers carry such buckets of water over long distances from rivers or public spigots. For thousands here, gathering water in this way is a basic feature of their lives, in the way people in other parts of the world gather water by...

  6. CHAPTER 2 A River Turns Black: Enron and Shell Spread Destruction across Bolivia’s Highlands
    (pp. 45-75)
    Christina Haglund

    For the people of Bolivia’s highlands, Lake Titicaca is a mystic place of long memory. Here, they will tell you, is where the sun and the moon were born. Here is the birthplace of the spirits of the Incas. Perched at an altitude almost three miles above the sea, this lake has only one vein, only one outlet that draws its water out onto the vast flatlands: the Desaguadero River. It is the river that, at the dawn of the millennium, would suddenly and mysteriously turn black.

    The Desaguadero serves as the most important water source of the Bolivian altiplano,...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Oil and Gas: The Elusive Wealth beneath Their Feet
    (pp. 77-115)
    Gretchen Gordon and Aaron Luoma

    On May 1, 2006, banners reading “Nationalized: Property of the Bolivian people” were hung over filling station entrances and strung across the gates of refineries and gas and oil fields across Bolivia. From the San Alberto gas field in the eastern region of Tarija, President Evo Morales stood flanked by his ministers and military before a crowd of television cameras. In a carefully orchestrated public relations event, Morales made the surprise announcement that the military was at that moment securing the country’s oil and gas fields. “It’s the solution to the social and economic problems of our country,” Morales proclaimed....

  8. CHAPTER 4 Lessons in Blood and Fire: The Deadly Consequences of IMF Economics
    (pp. 117-143)
    Jim Shultz

    Through the panoramic windows of the International Monetary Fund’s office in La Paz you can see down to the rooftop where Ana Colque, a twenty-four-year-old student nurse and single mother, was shot and killed in February 2003 . Army sharpshooters sent a bullet through her chest when she climbed to the roof to come to the aid of a twenty-five-year old repairman who had also been shot and killed by sharpshooters just an hour earlier. Both of them died during a violent military assault intended to quell public protests against an economic belt-tightening package imposed on Bolivia by the IMF....

  9. CHAPTER 5 Economic Strings: The Politics of Foreign Debt
    (pp. 145-179)
    Nick Buxton

    María Luisa Ramos had been in meetings with government officials before, but this was different. This time she was in the driving seat. The policy researcher and activist of the party Movement toward Socialism (MAS) had been invited, along with representatives of Bolivian social movements, to participate in the transition commissions preparing for the installation of the new MAS government in January 2006. “It was brilliant. We had indigenous community leaders and campesinos [small-scale farmers] asking government functionaries for information, and these officials were unable to refuse, because we were now the ones in power,” she said, her face lighting...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Coca: The Leaf at the Center of the War on Drugs
    (pp. 181-211)

    When Doña Corina harvests her coca bushes, each leaf makes a softsnap,indicating that she has picked it off whole, not torn or crushed. With all the women working together in her field, the air is filled with these snaps, a rhythm that decorates the women’s conversation like the sequins embroidered on their festival skirts at home. At the end of the day they will have accumulated a large cloth bag of the leaves that Corina can carry on her back along the winding paths to her adobe home. There she has a slate patio called akachi,where...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Workers, Leaders, and Mothers: Bolivian Women in a Globalizing World
    (pp. 213-253)
    Melissa Crane Draper

    Bolivian women have been an inextricable part of the process of global integration. Economic forces from abroad have increasingly dominated the country’s experience in the past three decades. Macroeconomic policies brought neoliberal principles to the country through the privatization of mines and public services like water. Women’s burden as wives and mothers in the face of mine closures and the unemployment of their husbands forced them to find new types of income, as vendors in a local market in Sucre or orange juice squeezers on the streets of Cochabamba.

    More women across Latin America are entering the workforce. In Bolivia,...

  12. CHAPTER 8 And Those Who Left: Portraits of a Bolivian Exodus
    (pp. 255-290)
    Lily Whitesell

    When Leonardo Fernández was three years old, his father left him, his older sister, and his mother to find a better life in Argentina.¹ A year later, in 1992 , Leonardo’s father sent for his family. Leonardo’s earliest memories from Bolivia include his seven-year-old sister’s tears after the disappearance of their father. In Argentina, he remembers playing with other workers’ kids outside the factory where his parents worked late into the night and being heartbroken by petty insults about his Bolivian background by Argentinean kids at school.

    Simona Velásquez lived in El Alto, La Paz’s sister city, managing her own...

  13. Conclusion: What Bolivia Teaches Us
    (pp. 291-296)
    Jim Shultz

    This book began with a question: What is globalization? It ends with another: What do Bolivia and its stories teach us about how to make globalization a force for justice and equity, instead of a recipe for exploitation and abuse?

    One lesson Bolivia teaches us is about the wide gap between theory and reality. On the one hand, much of the force behind economic globalization comes from the unwritten rules of free markets. Capital flows to where it can maximize profit. Workers head for lands where they can earn better wages. Nations trade goods because buyers and sellers benefit. But...

  14. Contributors
    (pp. 297-300)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 301-336)
  16. Index
    (pp. 337-341)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 342-342)