Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Video of the Strange Parade/Rally Last Night

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.


Bina said...

Nazi salute + Nazi-like armbands = ?

I'm amazed that the media up here can't connect such basic dots.

Fortunately, that march looks pretty small and pathetic. But then again, so too does the typical KKK rally...

They say it's a cold world said...

Uh, why would the media up here connect the dots? That sort of self-destructive behavior won't get you anywhere in this business!

They say it's a cold world said...

Mr. Gracias--
does the NYT have someone permanently stationed in La Paz following this major story? Or do they have somebody based in Sao P or Bogota who flies in every once in awhile? I hope you are letting the people who need to know, know, that you are on the scene. I appreciate all this info, but you are GIVING it away here in blogdom and someone ought to be picking up your stuff and running with it and paying you a living wage! Awesome. Sticking to the seat of the pants of your story like a snarling
pitbull! Thank you, my friend

Lorien said...

Re: Salute -
I can't figure it out. Some of them are doing forward punches high in the air, yes? Some of them are doing an open palm salute which is Nazi-esque. The fists, however, are something you see in all manner of protest rallies in the States.

Re: Armband -
Eh, I can't go with you on that one. That cross symbol (not a Christian cross, mind you) is not swastika-like. That's a very old form of graphic which was not perverted like the Nazis perverted the swastika symbol. As for armbands, those are very common. A variety of military orgs use them, they're common on protesters from any number of walks of life... in the '70s we had a U.S. SC case regarding teenagers wearing anti-Vietnam war armbands in public schools.

The armband and symbol is seriously stretching things. The salute definitely puts me ill-at-ease, while the punching just seems normal - in fact, there's a video on CNN which Masistas are filmed doing the same gesture in the air.

Anyway, of course, I think your analysis of the autonomia movement is crap. But, eh. I appreciate seeing another perspective from inside the SC area. I'm dead tired of seeing the guys in La Paz and the guys in Santa Cruz reporting from their own areas and spouting off the party lines.

I'd love to hear more at some point about some of these hilly paradises you're finding. I've a friend coming down for a few months in the Spring, and we poor college kids are going to try to travel as much as we can... for minimal expense and No Buses on the Yungas Road. I refuse. Anyway, most of the folks who've been giving me travel ideas are retired couples who haven't quite grasped the extent of my academia-driven poverty. Please toss any ideas my way, if at any point you feel safe doing so!

I have been having great success with . The video quality is astounding for online compression. The difference between my YT and my Vimeo videos is huge. Good luck with it!

El Duderino said...

I think Lorien shows just how someone (and the media) can manage not to connect the dots. It's called denial. Not just a river in Egypt.

El Duderino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lorien said...


Try discussing the points with me. If you've got better data, then give it to me. I am open to hearing it.

Right now I have plenty of dots and no FACTS with which to connect them.

The armband is a good example. You guys connect the dots to form a Nazi connection, but you do so with hypotheticals. Someone who values truth, no matter the result, must go through and try to disprove those connections. It turns out that your connections so far aren't holding up to testing. Instead of being petty and rude, you should be proving those connections correct.

Here's what I know.

1. Powerful Nazi and Soviet activity in the 1930s-50s in Bolivia. Both powers were grooming Bolivia to be their stronghold when they were ready to conquer Bolivia.

2. The autonomy movement's political plans would not be acceptable to either the Nazi regime or the Soviet regime.

3. Armbands are extremely common worldwide by protest and military groups, and they were common before WW2 and have been common since WW2.

4. The cross which is part the Santa Cruz symbology is a common image throughout history. It is a symmetrical serif cross. If pressed to make a comparison, it is much closer in style to the Red Cross sans-serif symmetrical cross than to the sans-serif swastika.

Are some racist pigs using swastikas in Bolivia? Yes. Are some racist pigs talking about the need to expel the "White man" (often including non-indigenous Bolivians)? Yes. Is racism a factor? Yes.

You need to give me more DATA to show a Nazi connection to the autonomy and/or opposition movement as a whole. Otherwise it's just propaganda and a straw-man argument in which you take the relatively few idiots and use them to represent the whole. I'm very willing to look at your data with an open mind. Just give it to me.

Lorien said...

Correction in point 1: should read "ready to conquer South America."

El Duderino said...

Are you serious? Ever heard that old adage, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." It's good advice.

As I stated on my blog, if you look at the blue banners at the beginning of the rally you will note the letters "FSB". It stands for Falange Socialista Boliviana, the Bolivian Socialist Falange. Do a google search if you don't know what "falange" means.


mgrace said...

I don't think there's a "Nazi" connection, as most of them are dead now, Lorien.
But the admiration--however misguided and stupid it is (I think a great many of the pro-autonomy folks, the ones we call fascists, wouldn't pass the Nazi racial test, they're far too brown)--is eerily reminiscent of the Nazi era. Add to that the naked racism that SOME adherents of the movement espouse (how many times have I heard Morales referred to with a sneer as an "Indio"?), the Nazi imagery (c'mon, you've seen the swastika jeep pix), plus the cooperation of the business and political classes to literally STOMP dissent, the internecine polical-party clashes (say what you will about MAS, they are the ruling party--67%, more than's happened in the "greatest democracy in the world" for some time) and thuggery--well, that's a bit fascistic. Not Nazi. Notice the label of the post: "when you give the hitler salute you look like a Nazi. Nobody sais they were Nazis. I think Nazis would eat them alive.
Except Klaus Barbie, a real Nazi who lived in Bolivia, was friendly with Luis García Meza Tejada during the Cocaine Coup (erm, which S.C., from what I've heard, profited enormously from). So if you really want to draw a line from dot to dot, start there. Add tot hat the falangist connection (which I haven't verified, but you can do some legwork as I've been on the bus all day, yo.) Also, check out El Dude's recent post on the Nazis in Bolivia, too. (Also, go the Dude's and check this graphis out and say with a straight fact it is not reminescent of a swastika!!!
Re serifs whatnot and blah blah blaf: It's the SERIFS that make it look like a swastika. IT LOOKS LIKE A FREAKIN' SWASTIKA! Don't be blind.
My slice of heaven was Samaipata, just three or so hours out of S.C. Go to Hotel (or Hospedaje) Paola, right on the main plaza. 25 bolivianos a night, and there are several excellent restaurants in town. Tho those are a bit more expensive. Wear your armband and you might get a discount, as long as you loudly ask if there are no "dity Indians" staying there. I am sure you will get on in S.C. just fine, whitey. ;)
It's a nice little town, though. I liked it, even though I di´t explore too much. But I heard the hills are great for strolls and there's an abandoned drug lord's home htat you can sneak in (halfway built).
OK, I'm tired. We'll battle again mañana.

mgrace said...

Oh yeah, that too, Dude.

Thanks, Richard. The bastards don't return my emails. So for now, y'all get it for free.

I hopr there are some BBQs in December.

Lorien said...

The cross does *not* look like a swastika, and my eyes are wide open. The serif cross is one of many variants which run throughout European history. Go check out the oodles of chivalrous orders and their imagery.

Question: how many groups, and which, in Santa Cruz use that cross? I was having trouble finding it online since it doesn't seem to be part of the official imagery. I'm not sure about that. Fill me in?

I agree - racism is alive and well in Bolivia. ON BOTH SIDES.

I already acknowledged the use of swastikas by some idiots in SC. Some swastikas and some pigs in a movement of millions does not define the movement! Would we let the radical and racist Black Liberation factions define Obama's campaign and ideology in the U.S.? Some do, and I reject them as well.

The Falange is interesting. Dude, you say it's a recent reappearance in Bolivia, yes? Also, that parade seems relatively small (correct me if I'm wrong, guys). Again, these don't define the movement. Meanwhile, I'm intrigued by why a socialist movement, if it is in fact socialist and not just reusing old terms and slogans, would want to support the autonomy movement. Autonomy is NOT socialistic in nature. Overall, strange.

As for dissent:
In a democratic situation, shouldn't we be more worried when the 67% tries to clamp down on the voices of the 33%? Even a supporter of Evo has to be willing to acknowledge that he hasn't been playing nicely with the opposition.

Final point on imagery, since you guys are probably not going to be willing to re-evaluate your views on things of importance:

If we're talking about spooky Nazi-esque imagery, it took my gringo brain quite a spin to not be creeped out by the GOOSESTEPPING national military.

Bina said...

"The autonomy movement's political plans would not be acceptable to either the Nazi regime or the Soviet regime."

The Soviets, maybe not. But the Nazis? Gimme a break, sister. I'm German, so I KNOW what Nazism looks like. If it goosesteps like a Nazi, drives around in swastikamobiles, AND mimics the Nazi symbology (which, BTW, was most definitely drawn from Christian heraldry, whose own Indo-European roots go waaaay back--Adolf Hitler was a devout Catholic, who learned his antisemitism in church)--guess what? It's a Nazi.

And as for racism "on both sides", I hope you can prove it WITH CONCRETE EXAMPLES FROM AN IMPECCABLE SOURCE. So far, I've only seen the real thing on one, and it's the one you seem to have an inordinate degree of blind sympathy for. What's even stranger is that there are two layers of it: one white, and one mestizo, both turned against the indigenous. That's not "both sides", that's two different shades from the SAME side! Best historical analogy I can find for that is the Jewish community leaders who collaborated with the Nazis, helping them round up their own brothers and sisters--or the kapos in Auschwitz.

No, of course they're not fascists. Just my well-trained eyes playing tricks on me again.

EPIC FAIL, Lorien!

Bina said...

BTW, in case anyone hasn't twigged to it yet, all the "autonomy" talk is bullshit. They don't want autonomy, they want ownership of everything for a very, very few. That's oligarchy, and the Nazis were fine with that sort of thing, as long as all the oligarchs were on side. Don't forget that Nazism got its start as a band of hired bullyboys out to bust socialist heads for capitalists, and that their first victims were killed not for being Jewish, but for being leftist. Later, of course, it got extended to all Jews, even partial ones, just as this hatemongering-dressed-up-as-autonomy is now being extended to all traditionally dressed indigenous and poor folks, not just Evo supporters (who, I note, come from all ethnic backgrounds, unlike the leaders of the "autonomy" movement, who are all whitey-whitey-white.)

In other words, the Nazi analogy is more apt than you could ever know.

Anonymous said...

First off that's the Roman Salute the Nazi's took it from the Roman's and The Holy Roman Empire
Hail Ceaser!!! We who are about to die Salute You.
And it was common for People to Salute the Pope that way