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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. 

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.

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.

By Alexia Rauen

Paraguay’s political system has long been dominated by the Colorado Party (Asociación Nacional Republicana – Partido Colorado, ANR-PC). The Colorado Party is pro-West, and has historically – and into present day – restricted civil liberties and stifled opposition parties. This party stems from a brutal 35-year long dictatorship under military leader Alfredo Stroessner, and has retained power for 61 years, controlling the parliament even when Stroessner was removed by a coup in 1989. The Colorado Party has consistently held the presidency except for a brief stint from 2008-2012, which ended in impeachment. The party also holds a majority in the larger branch of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, and a near-majority in the Senate.

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By Alexia Rauen

On December 21, 2017, Reuters reported that ex-president Alberto Fujimori, in power from 1990 to 2000, had requested an official pardon from current President Pedro Kuczynski. The pardon was medical in nature; Kuczynski’s press release found that “prison conditions mean a serious risk to [Fujimori’s] life, health and integrity.” Fujimori requested the pardon “hours before [his] sympathizers in Congress vote on whether to remove Kuczynski from office.” Kuczynski then publicly pardoned Fujimori on December 24, 2017. In order to understand the significance and implications of the pardon, we must first delve into the political situation at this moment in Peru.

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Por Alexia Rauen, Traducido por Martina Guglielmone

Honduras se ha disuelto al caos producido por la elección que ocurrió el 26 de noviembre. La elección enfrentó al presidente titular, Juan Orlando Hernández del partido derechista Partido Nacional de Honduras, contra Salvador Nasralla de la coalición La Alianza de Oposición Contra la Dictadura. Este no fue el primer encuentro de estos candidatos, ya que Nasralla se había postulado contra Hernández para la presidencia en 2013.