The Elected Ones

One week from the beginning of
the Constituent Assembly in Bolivia

Traducción: Trisha Novak, USA

María Galindo
Mujeres Creando

Fotos: Idoia Romano


No one can take a crazy person seriously

Short, dark skinned, sort of fat, a drunkard and effeminate (SISSY, HOMOSEXUAL?), he confessed to me an uncontrollable passion while he tried to kiss me on any part of my body, barely holding on to my hips. His sister had unleashed this passion; his sister, a single mother and homophobe who had decided to vote for this nut in the elections for the Constituent Assembly.

The vote was simply inexplicable for him, the sign that he had been awaiting for more than 10 years, it was the link between a brother and a sister separated by a supremely absurd lack of understanding of two people needing to take a good look at one another in the same mirror, to share a Sunday, to sit together in hospitals and wakes.

On the other hand, the pastry cook, mother of two young girls and a boy, used me to finally break the link with her partner -- security guard, jealous, violent and a drunkard, too. Brazenly, she tells me how she used me to unleash a conflict with him with my pamphlets in hand, to incite his furor with the picture of my face and to finally tell him to get out of her life -- just as one might throw a chunk of fresh meat to a rabid dog in order to escape from the cage they shared. The sparkle in her eyes was so pretty that I forgot to ask her if she had really voted for me. It seems as though that Sunday she didn’t even go to the polls but remained musing, paralyzed, in a neighborhood park thinking about how she would start her new life .

Christian sermonizers, too, used me -- in their prayer halls to announce the Apocalypse, the punishment of God and the proximity of the end of the world, leaving the only possible salvation on the tired shoulders of submissive women, who are sick and silent, held up on two grooved columns with varicose veins in high relief, which are their legs. Sunday sermons they listen to while they hide their mouths under blankets and their hands in aprons, in some cases allowing bitter tears to fall, while they ask God for forgiveness for the candidacy of such a diabolical sinner.

On the other hand, in the middle of a frank debate among giant community cooking pots and over-filled bowls spilling soup on the sidewalk, a street cook tells me that everything in fine, that she agrees with everything that is happening and that she likes it -- except for madness. She says that nobody can take a crazy person seriously, not even she. To such an impressive statement, delivered with all her body and soul, as only a beautiful fat cook can, I say nothing. But I think. I think and smile to myself, knowing that if society were a cooking pot, the only scoop that would move the contents from the bottom of the pot would be a sort of madness.


Evo has won, Eva has lost

This is how 1877 votes fell ponderously into the urns, becoming sediment in the bottom and transforming themselves into fertilizer for defiance (??), which has absolutely nothing to do with the electoral process. These votes are more like leverage to make existential decisions, votes that do not build representation. I imagine them dancing around at the bottom of the urns, singing and relieving the boredom of the 100s of 1000s of votes that sing out in a chorus of “yes” and that constitute a renewed form of state patronage, a renewed form of caudillismo (bossism), this time indigenous. The hundreds of votes in the bottom of the urn that are asking for government jobs, the hundreds of thousands of votes that cause job seekers to shed their dignity and bury dissent, as is the case of my friend who chose the “gorrita azul” (blue cap ) (SERIA BUENO EXPLICAR EL SIGNIFICADO DE LA GORRITA AZUL) and the Choque (1) group to obtain her pega, the political appointment they have been offering her since the campaign of 2002. She didn’t vote for me, of course, neither did she greet me nor support me or even listen to me. I was just a discomfort, an inconvenience and inopportune. A single mother as she is, she must watch over and stay vigilant not for the dignity of motherhood but for the misery of her own.

To my friends, who increasingly are among the grassroots of MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo), and those who are functionaries of MAS, I sincerely say that they should have been there, too. It was a sight to behold how our delegates were harassed with insults taken from the great garbage dump of homophobia, racism and machismo.

How the job-seekers made fools of themselves during the proceedings. How the candidates, both male and female, imposed with no regard for the decisions of the organizations, how those candidates failed to attend the debates because their only speech amounted to “I am Evo”. This is how the Constituent Assembly got off to a bad start, without air to breathe, without ideas to discuss and without the will to change anything at all.

As the Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera says, it’s not a matter of changing the Political Constitution of the State; it is a matter of re-writing it with other protagonists, re-writing, reiterating and copying all the hatreds, re-writing based on the various formulas for distributing power, be it self-government, regional or national, be it in accordance with corporate interests, military interests, color of skin, sex or age.

This is to omnipotently re-write the patriarchal laws with hubris as if one were dictating Genesis; the fish will not fly, the birds will not swim.

The portal of law will once again remain closed with a heavy padlock and who knows for how long. This door will be locked for “the others”, for those who are different and unsuited.

We are on the outside, clearly well to the outside, so far away that our voice resounds in the echoes of the abyss, so far that our proposals are shouted to a “deaf sky” because they have no place in the constituent process.


The country will be re-founded in accordance with the elected

It is not laws that will restore motherhood to women, although it is laws and mandates that expropriate it. It is not laws that will return to women sovereignty over our own bodies, even though it is laws that snatch it from us by means of rape, imposed motherhood and various forms of norms that turn us into objects with neither say nor dignity.

Our families without fathers will continue to be considered of secondary importance along with our sons and daughters. In the schools, religious or not, our children will religiously repeat that mother does not work, that father is in charge and that the country is defended in the barracks. Poetry will continue to be proscribed in the classroom. Love between men and between women will continue to be proscribed. History and literature that do not refer to heroes will be banned.

The country will be re-founded based on those who are elected to re-write the laws to the pleasure of those in power and the powerful and that fact and that process is what they are today calling in Bolivia a Constituent Assembly.

(1) Grupos de Choque are groups that organize political parties to insult and frighten political adversaries