In the midst of the political turmoil in Bolivia, I remembered the story of other disappearances that intertwine the political history of Latin America and seem to be recurrent through many countries. Right now, 30 people have died in Bolivia during the recent wave of violence and 100 people are missing. All this deaths and disappearances surfaced after President Evo Morales decided to hold a referendum on a new constitution in December and members of the opposition protested.
The news really make me wonder if the numbers are somehow embellished by Morales’ government and if the situation is worse than what it appears. In the past, the worst human right violations always surface after leaders no longer have power. This situation is definitively a reason to worry, especially because Morales is trying to change the constitution. Is it possible that all the Morales’ allegations of the U.S. backing up the opposition are hiding something worse? Is he covering up for something else?
Somehow, these mysterious disappearances during certain dictatorial regimes seem to be also a recurrent theme for Latin American authors.
Of the many books about dictatorial regimes, the one that really comes to my mind is “The Feast of the Goat” by Mario Vargas Llosa. (However, I really feel the need to clarify that Evo Morales is not a dictator, for he was elected by majority vote in 2005.)
The novel tells the story of the conspiracy to kill Rafael Trujillo, a dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. “The Feast of the Goat” also follows four of the conspirators involved in the assassination of Trujillo and their motives to kill the dictator. The novel describes how many of the members of Trujillo’s party had to prove their loyalty to the dictator in violent ways.
Violence seemed to be the way in which Trujillo exercised his power, and I fear that it is the same way for many leaders today. After reading the news from Bolivia, I am really wondering. Have Latin Americans failed to learn from the mistakes of the past? I really hope not.