Take physic, pomp

The language of hate in Bolivia


Evo: born to be Blingeed
One of the common complaints from Evo Morales supporters is of media bias inside Bolivia. This complaint is made by the rank-and-file and the President himself (an Evo mouthful recently got media types so miffed they refused to cover Presidential affairs for a period). So it does beg the question as to whether Evo has a point or whether he’s being overly sensitive about the normal cut-and-thrust of political doings.

So as IKN is the kind of place that tries to treat its readers as thinking, reasoning dudettes and dudes,


Here are a few examples of the type of news editorial spoken on the air at the very popular local Radio Oriental, Santa Cruz. The speaker was Luis Arturo Mendivil, who is a local rich, landed lawyer and is also the owner of the radio station in question. This translation comes to you via Reporters Without Borders and the headsup was given to your humble correspondent by this post in the blog Ten Percent (a site friend linked on the right). My thanks to both sites.

Finally, please note the glossary of terms at the bottom that explains such local expressions and terms as “colla”, “stone llama freak” etc. Let’s see if you can see a hint of bias, hatred, calls to violence, or racism in the texts that follow, but just to help you along a tad I’ve picked out a few choice phrases in bold type.


First editorial, 11 April 2008:

“How much longer are we going to put up with the attacks of these evil colla sons of bitches? I am not one of those sissies who hide behind a false ‘Bolivianism.’ As a result of the criminal Upper Peru centralism, the pacos have invaded us with the aim of robbing us, murdering us, extorting things from us and plunging us into all-out violent crime. All these damned collas who laugh while destroying the productive home, while the other idiots do not react. Worst of all, we are just giving in to our murderers and vultures. You are better off dealing with a criminal, because you can always convince a criminal. But dealing with colla pacos who come in order to hate us, who come ready to hate us, can we put up with this much longer?

Let’s form our own police force, yes, let’s have a Santa Cruz police force so that these evil collas stop attacking us, extorting things from us and murdering us. When you see a colla, you see a murderer, a criminal, a piece of offal. That’s what you have when you see a paco. How can you talk about public safety with pacos around? There are 10 or 15 of them hidden at a street corner? Why? To rob us, to extort things from us. If I die tomorrow, I will no longer be there to denounce this gigantic mafia we have. Because there is no such thing as a paco with dignity, a paco with any kind of worth, a paco who wants to work. Why don’t we react? You will see what they do to us on 1 May. The pacos who have come to Santa Cruz are not here for law and order, they have come in order to kill, rob and commit crimes. They are here to stick it to us in the backside. Good night and have a good meal [sic].”

Second editorial, 11 June 2008:

“I am not proud of being a Bolivian, as the collas would say. I am proud of being a camba, of being a Santa Cruz man to the core. I want to be an Amazonian. I want to take advantage of this piece of Latin America without having to keep the company of these ignorant brutes, these animals in human form. I will never stop calling them that, these drugged, alcoholic maniacs who yesterday or the day before tried to demonstrate their ferocity in La Paz like poor animals. When a human being takes the form of a two-legged animal, when a human being loses his rationality, when we listen to these brutes and imbeciles who govern us, each day we lose a bit, or a lot of what we aspire to become.

I was listening to this imbecile, this ignorant cretin who represents us on the international stage, I was listening to him say he was not satisfied with the ambassador’s statement but would consult lawyers. Obviously, it is a man with knowledge of international law who can maintain relations between peoples, and not this stupid donkey, this animal, this stone llama freak. We must develop every possible mechanism to oppose this proposed referendum which makes no sense, which is just a sexual infatuation between the government and Tuto Quiroga [former president and current head of Podemos, the main opposition party, who is regarded as traitor by the most radical supporters of autonomy]. We won’t let ourselves be screwed by these sell-outs. They are all in the same corner as this crazy government that wants to make us submit to a socialist-model economy that has failed all over the world.

We must forge a broad social pact to preserve and extend our autonomy, as these imbeciles are trying to make it fail and to lead us into chaos. I am becoming steadily more convinced that those who govern us want our blood. My concern, and I appeal to our leaders about this, is that these stone llama freaks should stop thinking they can impose their vision of government on us. The referendum will lead us to a dangerous extreme.

This populism without content, vision or ideological basis that rules us is a source of uncertainty. We are beginning to feel the effects of the blockades, including inflation. The departmental prefect made proposals today. The response he will get tomorrow will be insults and blockades. We think the prefect’s proposal must be improved. Santa Cruz cannot and must not lower its guard towards this government. The war continues and the collas won’t stop until they see blood flow. They won’t stop until they have destroyed the pro-autonomy process. They won’t be happy until they have eliminated our system of production. That is why we must halt this cholo mentality in Bolivia.”

Third editorial, 18 June 2008

“We are above all Santa Cruz supporters, fanatically camba and nothing, absolutely nothing, can make me proud of being Bolivian. I want to pay tribute to these men and women who put their lives at risk in order to ensure that our rights are respected. The cholo, thieving, drug-trafficking bourgeoisie of Upper Peru, nowadays with Chávez’s trollops in their wake and manipulated from the upper levels of Illimani, know no limits in their hate for the people of Santa Cruz. It is a good thing we have a strong Unión Juvenil Cruceñista [an extreme right-wing group based in Santa Cruz that supports autonomy; implicated in attacks on state media].

We need a strong youth to deal with the blockades and take charge of defending the people everywhere, and not these damned collas who are just a bunch of nonentities, delinquents and perverts. The guy running the government is a pervert too, he is incapable of doing the job. The Unión Juvenil Cruceñista is attacked, insulted and vilified here. Damn you, those of you who think that our youth here is shit. Our youth is full of nobility, unlike that race of collas who just want to suck the state’s tit, who just want cocaine, who just want to rob. That’s the difference between the camba and the colla. We are sick of hearing this gang of scruffy collas, these stone llama freaks, who want to get rid of the Unión Juvenil Cruceñista. They cannot do anything without insulting us, these sons of bitches, who do anything to discredit the Unión Juvenil Cruceñista.

Any of these sick colla bastards can insult the Santa Cruz youth. I ask myself: where are the media, which are always ready to denounce a scandal? What does the press say? Where the human rights people. Where are these lousy collas? Where is the ombudsman? They all need to say something. When the collas come out with their machine guns, organise ambushes, kill, rob and spread terror and blood, is this a work of art that must be applauded? We are going to defend everything to do with Santa Cruz.

“Colla” or “cholo”: inhabitant of the highlands of western Bolivia. Most “collas” belong to the Aymara or Quechua indigenous groups. “Upper Peru” was Bolivia’s name when the region was under Spanish colonial rule. Present-day Peru was called “Lower Peru.”

“Camba”: traditionally, the peasant of the eastern lowlands. Nowadays it is used for all the inhabitants of eastern Bolivia, especially Santa Cruz.

“Paco”: a common and somewhat vulgar term in Bolivia for a policeman of the lowest rank. As he is paid so little, it is always assumed he will try to extort money from the public.

“Stone llama freaks”: Partly because the complexion of many Aymaras and Quechuas has a coppery tone, racists often claim that they look like llamas (the Andean domestic animal) or look as if they were made of stone, or both at the same time.

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