Over the years a number of times I’ve had a few dollars in my pocket and I’ve looked in the cd stores for Paul Nabor’s Naguya Nei, my pick for the best Belizean song, ever, but maybe it sells out within a week of hitting the shelves, because I was never fortunate to get a copy. I have the cd Watina, a great cd that has the song, but I always had my eye out for a full Nabor.
Well now, Nabor is at my fingertips, on a phone one of my two sisters bought me, and while I am joyful about my find, I’m a little guilty, because I want to pay my two cents. I don’t know how our music artists make money these days, outside of doing shows.
I have heard that YouTube pays the artists a little fee after a certain number of people have played their songs, but I don’t know much about that. There is also a copyright group in the country, and they have some infomercials out on payments if you use the music of local artists. I don’t know how that works out for the pockets of our artists either. I hope it does.
I think NICH and the BTB can do more to promote our local art, especially art that is phenomenal. Naguya Nei is up there. Years ago I wrote a short piece, a complaint about my going to the Tourist Village to look for a shop that would sell one of my books, and they were blaring out “Guantanamera” for the incoming tourists. I couldn’t believe my ears. Some people in this country are warped.
“Guantanamera” is a great song, and Cuba is a heroic story, but please, people who want to hear Cuban music go to Havana.
Hey, no brukdown or borachos for me this weekend. It will be only Andy P and Mohobub and Supa G and Lloyd Augustine and a whole lot of Garifuna spirituals. And yes, Naguya Nei will be the feature when I take my little drink on November 19 eve.
All is not lost in Bolivia
If you asked me, after all I had heard about Bolivia’s revolution under Evo Morales after he came to power, was democratically elected in 2006, I would have told you that I believed that country was heading in the right direction. I don’t know the full details of Bolivia nationalizing oil and gas, telecommunications, water, and electricity, and some mines, and ACQUIRING IDLE lands held by ABSENTEE LANDOWNERS and redistributing them to the poor, but the rich weren’t sharing the wealth with the poor, so it was inevitable, necessary, that some changes had to be made.
Evo Morales’s political party, MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement Toward Socialism)), was definitely not capitalist, but there aren’t stories about any excesses of his new government to punish the rich who were taking the cream off a system that had no love for the masses, who were mostly roots Bolivians.
The rich fought back, and now it appears that they will regain control of the wealth, the oil and the gas, and the highly prized lithium that Bolivia is said to have a plentiful supply of. If electric motors are ever going to replace the internal combustion engine, batteries will have to become more efficient and some, no, a lot of that, will depend on the supply and cost of lithium.
Much thanks to AMLO, our great hope next door, for stepping up and getting Evo to safe harbor in Mexico. There is nothing really bad with the RIGHT, but these too FAR RIGHT are too daam greedy. Any political system that cannot alleviate poverty, no, does not insist that the basic needs of all the citizens in a country are met, is a system for the devil. It seems that the FAR RIGHT are about to have their way, but maybe not.
We expect there will be new elections. The crazy with greed FAR RIGHT might not get a lot of what they want. If they do, Bolivia will need MAS more. We natives are tired of the greedy in our hemisphere.
Some achievements of Evo and his government
I pieced some notes from this 2018 story, “Eleven Years of the ‘Process of Change’ in Evo Morales’ Bolivia” on the website www.coha.org. The story is by Stansfield Smith, a senior research fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs:
Evo’s government “ended the apartheid system against the indigenous that existed for 500 years in Bolivia … The country has made great strides in economic development, national sovereignty, women’s and Original Peoples’ rights, respect for Mother Earth, raising the people’s standard of living, level of education, and health care.
“ … By 2002 … the proportion of the rural population living in extreme poverty had risen to 75% … The MAS government undertook an anti-neoliberal program, which has enabled the economy to grow an average 5% per year since 2006, compared to 2.8% during the years 1951-2005. As a result, the Gross Domestic Product has grown four-fold from $9 billion in 2005 to $36 billion today. Bolivia has become the fastest growing economy in Latin America.
“Morales asserted public ownership over the country’s gas and oil resources … foreign corporations still extract most of Bolivia’s natural gas, but do so as contractors hired by the state, on the state’s terms … Over ten years, Evo’s Bolivia has gained $31.5 billion from the nationalizations, compared to a mere $2.5 billion earned during the previous ten years of neoliberal policies … this new revenue funds … infrastructure … schools, gyms, clinics, roads … subsidies for agricultural production … health and education … wage increases and social security benefits.”
I wasn’t with Evo running again
I’m very on the outside, I don’t know the innards of Bolivia, but whether you do good or bad you can’t hold on to power. Cuba is a different story because of the embargo, a war tool that the USA has imposed on that country. There’s a lot to be turned back, but socialist leaders lose world support when they hold on too long.
Evo moving out before a too long impasse indicates that he wasn’t power hungry, so I have to believe that there wasn’t anyone else in his MAS who was ready to lead. His deputy, Álvaro García Linera, surely has the capacity, but he must have been reluctant. He said he was just happy to serve Evo Morales, a true indigenous leader, and maybe that’s as far as he wanted to go.
García Linera is an extremely interesting guy. I read this piece on truthout.org, “Bolivian Vice President Álvaro García Linera on Marx and Indigenous Politics”, and after you’ve read a few of these bits, I bet you’ll want to pick up on the link. Marcello Musto, the author of the truthout.org piece, posted on November 9, 2019, describes him as “one of the most original voices in the Latin American Left.”
García Linera: “Textbook Marxism always seemed inadequate to me … I think the big problem for the global right is that it has no narrative for the future. The states that preached a free-market liturgy are now building walls against immigrants and goods … The great task for the left, in overcoming the limits and errors of twentieth-century socialism, is to chart a new horizon that offers solutions to the actual questions that cause suffering to people. It would serve a new ‘principle of hope’ – whatever name we give to it – which promulgates equality, social freedom, and universal rights and capacities as the basis for collective self-determination.”
Belizean Mennonites have family in Bolivia
If Mr. Bernard Penner of Lower Barton Creek had a telephone, I’d give him a call so that I could learn what his people in Bolivia feel about what is going on over there. The last time I met the jovial Mr. Penner it was on a bus, and when I asked where he was going he told me he was off for a vacation, to be with friends and family in Bolivia.
Of course I was stunned. Bolivia? That country seems so far away, especially for a Mennonite brother who drives a horse and cart. But for some things there is an exception, and a visit with long missed family and friends can’t be passed up, even if one has to travel on a jet plane.
One Wikipedia page states that “Mennonites in Bolivia are mostly Russian Mennonites descended from Friesian, Flemish and North German people who came to South America from 1927 onwards. In 2012, there were about 70,000 Mennonites living in Bolivia … The ‘Russian Mennonites’ in Bolivia are among the most traditional and conservative of all the Mennonite denominations in South America.”