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By Alexia Rauen and Alexandra Snodgrass

Bolivia will hold presidential elections on October 18, 2020, after numerous delays and an interim unelected presidency after the October 2019 elections. The nation’s former president, Evo Morales, who ruled land-locked Bolivia from 2006 to 2019, will not be running after a dramatic resignation. Instead, the election pits Luis Arce, the candidate of Morales’s party, against the ex-president Carlos Mesa. 

Bolivia had previously limited presidents to two consecutive terms. However, in 2013, Morales was able to run for a third term after it was found that the introduction of a new constitution in 2009 made his first term moot for counting purposes. In 2016, a referendum on whether or not to change the constitution to allow Morales to run again failed to yield results in his favor. This was reversed by Bolivia’s Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal, who ruled that term limits no longer existed for any elected official. Morales announced his candidacy for the 2019 Bolivian presidential elections in May of 2019. Luis Almagro, head of the Organization of American States (OAS), stated that given the tribunal’s ruling, Morales should be allowed to run. The election was held in October of 2019, and Morales needed a 10-point lead in order to prevent a runoff election. When Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal released results with 83% of the vote counted, Morales was in the lead – but not enough to prevent a runoff.  Then, the website went dark, and when it returned, Morales had won by just over 10 points. The OAS released a report on November 10, 2019 that found the election’s “process was contrary to best practices and failed to abide by security standards … Given the irregularities observed, it is impossible to guarantee the integrity of the data and certify the accuracy of the results.” The post-election public outrage led to weeks of protests and Morales’s resignation. 


We recently had the pleasure of sitting down (virtually) with Obie Anthony, Executive Director of Exonerated Nation, an organization that meets the immediate needs of exonerees by helping to heal the debilitating spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical effects of being wrongfully incarcerated and affects policy change for restoration and the righting of wrongs.

At only 19 years old, Obie was convicted of a murder he did not commit and spent 17 years in prison before being exonerated and released in 2011.When he left prison in 2011, he didn’t have a social security card or birth certificate and had to learn how to use a cell phone and write a resume. Since then, he’s helped other exonerees navigate the often difficult transition out of prison. He has been instrumental in the passage of California Assembly Bill No 672 (Obie’s Law) along with other key pieces of legislation.

We talked about identity and personal growth, what gets him up in the morning, his important work with Exonerated Nation, and which Seinfeld character he relates to the most.


Image: Wikimedia Commons

By Elizabeth Courtney 

For InterAction

This piece was originally published on InterAction.org.

“I’m doing this for my children.” 

That’s what Martha from Colón, Honduras, said to a reporter in November 2018. If you turned on any U.S. news channel in the Fall of 2018, you likely saw a lot of people like Martha—people who left their homes in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador in search of a better life in the United States. 

When large numbers of people arrive en masse to seek asylum at the U.S. border, it’s a newsworthy story. But what kind of story is it? Who decides how to tell it?

By Alexia Rauen

Trigger Warning: Sexual Violence

In fact, they realised, women had been speaking up about this from the very start – it was just that no one was listening. ‘In the Juntas Trial in 1985 in which nine commanders were tried, there was a victim who said I was raped, and the prosecutor just ignored this. He literally said, “Don’t lose the wood for the trees. We need to focus on the torture and murder.”’ 1 

In her work Our Bodies Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women, Christina Lamb explores the phenomenon of sexual violence in armed conflict. Her travels take her from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (nothing democratic about it) to Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. She also goes to Argentina, where she explores the violence against women that occurred during the military regime from 1976 to 1983. 

Traducido por Pilar Espitia

La siguiente entrevista se llevó a cabo en julio de 2020 con Erika Quinteros, escritora e ilustradora de TOMASA TITO CONDEMAYTA: Una histora de valor y coraje. Erika Quinteros es ingeniera industrial con una maestría en Comunicación Política y Gobernanza de la Universidad George Washington. Ha trabajado como asesora en el diseño y evaluación de proyectos de desarrollo comunitario. Tiene un particular interés por temas de género, los derechos de las personas indígenas y la protección medioambiental. 

¿Qué te inspiró a escribir la historia de Tomasa Tito Condemayta?

Fue la misma Tomasa y su poderosa historia. Fue una mujer indígena que lideró un batallón de mujeres para luchar contra los españoles. Esto sucedió en un periodo cuando muchos peruanos creían que la mujer no tenía un papel militar o político. 

Creo que, al haber crecido leyendo tantos libros diferentes y siendo inspirada por personas extranjeras, no podía creer que nadie me hubiera contado la historia de Tomasa. Era peruana, como yo. Era una mujer, como yo. Y aunque yo no soy indígena, mi abuela era indígena, así que una parte de mí es indígena. En Perú nuestros héroes nacionales son sobre todo hombres blancos y pudientes. Creo que todo niño/a debería poder aprender sobre héroes con los que él o ella se pueda identificar, y estoy segura que muchos estarán fascinados e inspirados por Tomasa y su valentía.

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Escrito por Shreyansh Budhia

Traducido por Pilar Espitia

Mientras que los embates entre grupos de supremacistas blancos y opositores en Charlottesville, Virginia, en agosto 12 y 13 de 2017 demuestran que el racismo en Estados Unidos es un fenómeno generalizado que persigue a las minorías raciales, se vuelve más y más evidente que nuestra tarea como sociedad para eliminar este mal y liberar a las minorías de sus garras no está completa. A decir verdad, el racismo en ambas formas, tanto extrínseco como intrínseco, afecta a las minorías de todas las etnicidades y colores en Estados Unidos. Hoy en día, las instituciones educativas en todo Estados Unidos usan el racismo para impactar de manera desfavorable el desempeño educativo de los estudiantes negros. Las cortes y organismos policiales son liderados por reconocidos supremacistas blancos que fallan a favor de los suyos. Los hombres negros se vuelven injustamente sospechosos en encuentros con la policía, y los reclusos negros superan en números de proporciones incomprensibles a los blancos. Los profesionales negros en el gobierno y el mundo corporativo se encuentran con casos sutiles de comportamientos prejuiciosos debido al color de su piel y herencia. Todos estos ejemplos sugieren que el racismo es un problema social que actúa como un obstáculo para el desarrollo socioeconómico de la comunidad afroamericana. 

The following interview was conducted in July 2020 with Erika Quinteros, author and illustrator of TOMASA TITO CONDEMAYTA: Una historia de valor y coraje. Erika Quinteros is an industrial engineer with a Master’s degree in Political Communication and Governance from the George Washington University. She has worked as a consultant in the design and evaluation of community development projects. She has a particular interest in issues of gender, the rights of indigenous people, and environmental protection.

What inspired you to write the story of Tomasa Tito Condemayta?

It was Tomasa herself and her powerful story. She was an indigenous woman leading a battalion of women to fight against the Spanish. This happened during a period when many Peruvians believe that women had no military or political role. 

I think, having grown up reading so many different  books and being inspired by people overseas, I just couldn’t believe that no one had told me Tomasa’s story. She was Peruvian, like me. She was a woman, like me. And even though I am not indigenous, my grandmother was indigenous, part of me is indigenous. In Peru, our national heroes are mostly wealthy white men. I think every child should be able to learn about heroes that she or he can identify with, and  I am sure many will be fascinated and inspired by Tomasa and her courage.