Andean Uprisings; Growing up to World Citizenship

I arrived in Ecuador near the start of the Andean uprisings that now include Chile, Bolivia, and Colombia. South America’s wave of protests began in October in Ecuador. According to the United Nations, at least 58 people have died in the latter three countries since late October, and more than 4,000 have been seriously injured. How is it I find myself here, now, I ask myself? When the spine of the great Andes bristles with native peoples standing up and risking their lives to make change in the Americas?

I don’t pretend to understand the complexities of these longstanding injustices. I do understand that the changes now sought by ordinary people in these counties are tied to those of us in the north of these same Americas, linked by means of corporate and military support financed by taxpayers.

In Ecuador, the protests supposedly ended after 10 days when the government agreed to drop its plan to eliminate subsidies for gasoline and diesel fuel. However, since the government agreements have not been met, the union of indigenous groups in Ecuador currently threatens to resume disruptions.

Protests in Chile enter their fifth week despite the government’s concessions to roll back a public transportation fare hike and hold a referendum on a new constitution. Leaders of the protests say that larger issues are at the base of the unrest, particularly economic inequality and control of public resources by the country’s rich.

The mass protests in Boliva began following the October 20 national elections in which Morales appeared to have won another term as president by a narrow margin. Many questioned the vote count including the American Organization of American States, which said its review found “irregularities.”

In Colombia, addition to wealth inequality, protests are aimed at recent roll-backs of labor regulations, cutbacks in pensions, lack of employment for the country’s indigenous and poor population and the government’s inability to stop violence against rural community leaders.

Growing up to world citizenship is a slow process. In the early 80’s, I lived my tranquil life as a young mother, ignorant of wholesale massacres being waged against the Maya in Guatemala and financed by my own US taxes. In the early 90’s ,I lived my peaceful life on a farm in Wisconsin, ignorant of the four-year siege of the civilian population of Sarajevo which the US watched without intervening. These are only small personal examples of the vast and ongoing unconsciousness engineered by corporate media, and  tacitly agreed to by me,  by you.

Deciding to take my place in the wide world means acknowledging sufferings, and uprisings to remedy sufferings; means accepting the web of life and the web of cruel economic policies that links me to peoples now rising in Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, and Colombia. Despite and because of the comforts and privileges I was born into, despite and because of the great gaps in well-being between me and those now rising up in the Andes, I vow to stay awake and aware of the whole human family, of which I am a participating member. Either by ignorance or by awareness, we each participate. I have no answers, but now I have compassion, the gift to one another that can be cultivated by every single one of us.

Why is it I find myself here, now? Perhaps because I am asked to bear witness, to simply keep breathing, and keep bearing witness. (please share this post if you are so inclined)

©Susa Silvermarie 2019


2 Responses to “Andean Uprisings; Growing up to World Citizenship

  • Thank you for sharing these events, circumstances and your insights. I am only beginning to awaken a little to so many injustices everywhere. It can sometimes be overwhelming.

    • Susa Silvermarie
      2 years ago

      Yes it surely can be overwhelming. Let’s keep breathing to stay stable, and keep on bearing witness to both the suffering and the joys of the world we live in. (Are you the Carol from Ajijic?)

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