Testimony from Bolivia: “Our people have always been fighters and they are demonstrating it”

As part of the solidarity efforts in support of the Bolivian people in the fight against the coup, we continue to collect testimonies from the protagonists themselves. This time, we held a brief interview for the International Socialist League, with Hilda, a young woman and fighter of a mining family from Huanuni, very close to Oruro. She is a member of the organization “Housewives of Huanuni”.

Mariano Rosa: Tell us how the mining families of Huanuni are experiencing the coup d’etat.

Hilda: The mining family has been mourning since the first deaths in Bolivia. And, in addition, we are lacking essential products. We do not have chicken or cow meat, there are no vegetables and, if there is a little, it is overpriced. In addition, there is a fear that the coup plotters want to take the mines and persecute and kill our husbands.

M.R. Are the deposits of the Huanuni Mining Corporation state-owned? How were they recovered for the people?

Hilda: Before, Huanuni mines were foreign owned. One part was cooperative and a majority was private. There was a confrontation between the two forces, a great struggle that we put up as a working people that culminated in the union of cooperatives and wage earners that, in unity, decided to demand the nationalization of the site, which we achieved. Now, more than five thousand mining workers defend the state-owned mine.

M.R. There is a lot of misinformation by the mainstream media about Bolivia, right?

Hilda: The media does not reflect the truth of what is happening in Bolivia or how they are killing our comrades like cattle. They only inform what is convenient for the coup government. It is regrettable that the media is hiding the reality we are living. Many people have been kiled, injured and children orphaned. That is why I am very angry that we do not have a means of communication for the people and by the people. And that’s why your dissemination is very important.

M.R. What significance did the burning of the whipala have for the Bolivian people? Is it racial hatred of the rich?

Hilda: The burning of the whipala is racism and radical hatred of indigenous peoples. And that is why the people rose up: to fight for the respect of the flag that represents them. The whipala was even taken down from the government palace and for that reason our brothers are fighting and dying to defend the flag that identifies them

M.R. Do you think it was an mistake for Evo and the MAS to have perpetuated themselves in government for a fourth term?

Hilda: Yes, it was a mistake of the president to want to stay for a fourth term, because many Bolivians saw it as an attempted dictatorship. That, regardless of the fact that there was no other option left and all other parties were right wing.

M.R. The Bolivian people have a history of struggle. How do you see the future of this situation?

Hilda: Our people have always been fighters and now they are demonstrating it again. I am sure that, with the unity of the working class, of the people at the grassroots, we will win this fight.

M.R. There is international support from organizations like ours, the International Socialist League, in the struggle against the coup. How important do you think that support is?

Hilda: The support we receive is fundamental and we are not alone in our struggle. That gives us strength to keep fighting. Thank you for being with us and send our best regards to the MST and the ISL.

Interview by Mariano Rosa