Here is the promised video of a group of people vowing to defend Santa Cruz last night. Notice the salutes and armbands that are strangely reminiscent of another era. While there was something sinister and anachronistic about the assembled throngs (more video of which I'll post later), I found the turnout to be much less than I expected. At no point were there more than 200 to 250 people assembled--a very small number considering that they allegedly were there to defend their city from the unwashed masses of poor gathered on their doorstep.
Perhaps I'm bringing my own psychology into the equation, but I sensed (or projected) a feeling, not of shame, but perhaps that things had gone too far. I think that the conflict has been publicized worldwide enough that the antics of the opposition is now seen as ridiculous. Cutting one's nose off to spite one's face doesn't raise sympathy for your cause, only contempt.
That said, I was treated better in Santa Cruz this time around than I had been earlier. My first two stays there I was shocked at how uncommunicative and rude people were to me. There was a kind of arrogance in the air. This time, my waitress and hotel staff recognized me and welcomed me in warmly. Granted, this is their big city-founding-festival time, and the roadblocks and civil unrest have really emptied their coffers. So even a poor, threadbare gringo like me with little to spend has to be welcomed. Although that didn't stop me from leaving right away, as I've found a semi-paradise in the hills I was anxious to return to.
I've got better video quality on my computer, but the file is just too large to upload from rural Bolivia. If anyone has any suggestions on how to post 30-plus-meg files, let me know.