So much to write about, and so little written! Compadrit@s, van a disculpar that I have left the t’anta wawa’s oven without a flame for so long. There was a housemove, and a concerted thesis-push involved. But there’s been plenty going on in Bolivia and even here in the UK where this last weekend, I had the pleasure of accompanying Bolivian ambassador to France, the legendary folksinger Luzmila Carpio, to a festival and conference in Wales. The El Sueño Existe festival has been held in Machynlleth, Powys every two years since 2005 and honours the life of Victor Jara, the Chilean popular singer executed in the coup of 1973. It brings together Welsh and Latin American musicians and leftists and all in all seemed a very enjoyable and thought-provoking jamboree, with some serious conference sessions counterweighing the musical celebrations. There was a lot of useful talk talked about minority language rights, revindication of colonised cultures, the right to culture and identity through language and even some more-than-verbal exchange through the medium of music. Dafydd Iwan of Welsh-nationalist party Plaid Cymru was in attendance and gave such a rousing performance of some of his self-penned Welsh-rights folksongs that I almost texted an SNP apparatchik friend advising him to teach Alex Salmond to sing – there’s something about the passion of song that transcends as well as augments political discussion. We also had an entertaining and inspiring visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology, a research and education institute that’s almost like a big clever sustainabilty theme park. Many thanks to the lovely people of Machynlleth for such a productive and peaceful stay.
Mientras tanto, in Bolivia election year is heating up! It looks like the opposition may crystallise its resistance around the candidacy of Victor Hugo Cárdenas, although at the moment the election is a 14-horse race, including the well-known figures of Samuel Doria Medina and (yawn) Manfred Reyes Villa, for whom apparently running for President is a habit he just can’t kick. There have also been some ugly incidences of the not-so-democratic opposition making itself known again in the form of letterbomb attacks against civilian targets. Well, if you can’t get elected, you can always attack the people who will, right? Violence is a loser’s game. More soon, my friends, more soon.