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Rangel Fellows at Work

Bolivians will vote in a referendum on Sunday to decide on a constitutional change that would allow Mr. Morales to seek a new term in Morales and his team remained silent for a few days after the report about his relationship with Ms. Then, on Feb. He had no idea, he added, that Ms. Morales and Ms. Zapata, 29, appear embracing and smiling at a carnival celebration. The photo was real, Mr. Morales acknowledged later, but he decided to stick to his story. Morales told reporters. Morales has dismissed the corruption allegations as a desperate ploy by the political opposition.

On Monday night Mr. Don David, at one time the cacique of Santa Ana, recalled a particular event—the construction of an airstrip in the mission town of Covendo—on which Mosetenes toiled for months so that the mission could extract goods more easily. He was a small child at the time, but he remembers that whole families worked on the project, which ultimately served for the extraction of quinine by merchants from La Paz. Grandmothers cared for children while men, women, and youths moved earth by hand:. All the people, all the youths, all the women worked.

The old women that were there then took care of their grandchildren. They were hung [in hammocks] one next to the other.

Rangel Program in the News

The old women became nannies. When the children would cry, their mothers came and nursed them for a minute. It was terrible. I used to see my mother, with her whole face sunburned. So much sun. I saw that in my mother and the women who worked. They carried earth in baskets. The men dug, the youths carried earth to level the airstrip. They worked hard.

It was the time of quinine, too. Ages ago, when I was a child. I remember a little bit. The airstrip, large enough for a Hercules C to land, is one of only two such strips in the steep valleys of the Alto Beni. The other was built by military conscripts. The project required not simply creating a clearing in a flat stretch of forest as is the case in flatlands north and east of Alto Beni , but building it up and leveling it as well, all by hand. Those who I interviewed described the forced labor in direct terms. Some told stories about direct violence against the priests from earlier epochs, for instance the drowning of one mission father when his raft was intentionally overturned, or occasions when particularly abusive fathers may have been poisoned.

Then the father went to La Paz. You had to come and go by raft.

One month, two months. The father returned. They finished killing them all.

Chargé d’Affaires Bruce Williamson | U.S. Embassy in Bolivia

This happens particularly as older Mosetenes reflect on the current state of their communities. Certainly, one aspect of this yearning is that they view the mission period, prior to the arrival of colonists, as a time of fellowship and plenty, in which food was shared and money had not yet corrupted their relations Ricco Quiroga and Sturtevant Another aspect, though, is a yearning for a more orderly world. For instance, Marcos protests at length about the disorder that he sees in present-day social organization:. They make so much noise to do nothing. They have to guide people in how it should be, and organize their work; not just watch them, not just sit around and yell ….

We have to go in good form. Pharaoh still managed everyone like a slave, but us here, no. I protest. Because I know how you have to be. You have to share. For Marcos, good leaders operate by persuasion and example rather than through violence or an overbearing attitude. This type of coordination is precisely the role that the caciques and their police played in the social world of the mission, though they had the authority of the church and the violence of the whip to back it up.

He followed his story of the airstrip by recalling how Mosetenes received the bishop in the days before the construction of the airstrip, when he had to travel by boat:. Before there was the airstrip in Covendo, the father would come. The Monsignor would come. And they would receive him like we receive the government now. That was the tradition back then.

Best Tomato Salsa – Inspired by the Bolivian Llajua

The women with flowers, the kids. Shoot, it was like flower confetti. On the beach, with musicians, with violin, with singers ….

We would go out to wait on the beach. We would go down to the beach, and when he was closer, another stick of dynamite. This nostalgic reflection on the pomp and circumstance contrasts starkly to his recollection of the construction of the airstrip.


Taken together, the two remarks reflect ambivalence about the mission. He rejects the suffering associated with the forced labor that made the mission run. At the same time, he waxes nostalgic about the pageantry of the church and the reverence that Mosetenes showed to the person of the priest. That image of violence still colors his experiences of the mission fathers. Yet he also speaks admiringly of the organization and orderliness of the mission system, particularly compared to the disorder he sees in the present.

As a youth, Marcos became a novice and trained to become a priest. His experiences offered him opportunities to learn about the world beyond Alto Beni. He learned to read and write, and to sing in Latin.

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He was not allowed to wear a watch or buy his own clothes, but instead was issued two shirts per week.