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Polarization in Bolivia threatens the promise of pluralism

The rise of political polarization in Bolivia culminated in the 2019 political crisis.

Andrea González

The Global Pluralism Monitor: Bolivia report makes evident how many of the political wounds in the country remain unhealed and continue to impact everyday life in the country. Although the ruling party has succeeded in championing Indigeneity in Bolivia, this has not been true for all groups. Representation of Indigenous groups is partial to majoritarian Andino groups, leading minority Indigenous groups to feel excluded from their political base.

Feelings of exclusion do not end there. For minority Indigenous groups not affiliated with MAS, invisibilization occurs every day. The report showcases how, when making claims or reclamations, these Indigenous groups are discredited and delegitimized. For small minority Indigenous groups not formally recognized by the Constitution, obtaining recognition from the government has been a continued struggle.

The MAS government has contributed to this polarization by only funding organizations, including Indigenous organizations, that align with their party and government goals. Those funded by MAS enjoy a privileged position at the expense of oppositional organization. Consequently, many inequalities are reinforced in areas where the MAS political party is dominant.

To read more about the dynamics of international politics and its polarizing effect in Bolivian society, read the Global Pluralism Monitor: Bolivia report.