25 April 2008

Why I'm doing this

I should mention why I, an American citizen born and raised, who's only visited Bolivia twice, has family in the country and would care enough about the political and cultural situation over there.

My dad moved to the US in the mid 70's. I'm sure all of you know about what happened then. If not, read the Wikipedia on that point in history. My family down there has been entrenched in politics for years, and one of my relatives is even Victor Paz-Estenssoro (link is to Wikipedia, even though they never put that hyphen in when they should), four-time president of Bolivia and co-founder of the MNR party. My family thought themselves to be safe until one of my dad's brothers got shot and killed. At first, my dad tried the UK and South Africa, but finally settled on the US. He really did settle, though; he never liked the US, even after living here for years, and never became a US citizen because they would have forced him to give up his Bolivian citizenship.

My dad was very "Europeanized". He stood by the assumption that there is no Incan blood in the Bolivian upper classes, something that I would have hoped would be beyond discussion at this point. Because of that, I got very little exposure to the native culture, with him even getting annoyed when my mom would want to wear a Llama-wool shawl out in public. If it weren't for the fact that my mom loved the music and one of my uncle's collected Incan art, I probably wouldn't have had any exposure at all.

So that's basically my background. I intend on spending more time in the country, hopefully when this whole Morales business blows over a bit. Until then, I have my true love, the web, to tell me all about it.

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