Election results around the world these days seem to be leading to more and more volatile situations; the October 2019 Bolivian election being no exception. The win by President Evo Morales has led to civil unrest throughout the country, with not a day going by without a new controversy, or scenes of chaos spilling out on to the streets. What is happening, and why is the potential for a Bolivian coup d’état an important subject of discussion for Spanish learners? Let’s take a look!
In October 2019, President Evo Morales beat opposition candidate Carlos Mesa in the Bolivian elections with a lead of only ten points. The victory meant that the election would have no legal obligation to go to a second-round ‘runoff vote’, meaning Morales was free to continue governing. However, the result came after an unexpected halt in the election count for almost a full day. When the count resumed, Morales had seen a rapid and unexpected spike in popularity.
Opposition parties are calling for Morales to step down accusing him of election fraud. The country has plunged into a democratic crisis since the election, with protests throughout the country, interruption of payments of social benefits, and even the forced closure of branches of the state bank. The situation has turned Bolivian against Bolivian, and shows no sign of finding a resolution anytime soon. Luis Fernando Camacho, a civil leader from Santa Cruz, is attempting to gain access to the government palace in La Paz to hand Morales a pre-written letter of resignation to sign.
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Morales has promised to abide by an internationally-backed audit of the election by the Organization of American States (OAS), which is currently recommending a second-round vote be allowed to go ahead. As Bolivians await the result of the audit, the death toll for clashes between those pro-government and anti-government continues to rise, with a 20-year-old student one of the latest victims.
A little language
So what language should you keep an eye out for as you read up on the developments following the Bolivian election?
Gran tensión social – many news outlets are reporting on the great social tension currently being experienced throughout Bolivia.
Amagues de enfrentamientos – another phrase you’ll likely see a lot of is this one, meaning fear of clashes.
Democracia sí, dictadura no – a protest cheer currently being heard on Bolivian streets, meaning democracy yes, dictatorship no.
General language – as you sift through newspapers and watch TV news, here are some words to look for:
Aeropuerto – airport
Resignación – resignation
Bandos – sides (of the political argument)
Protestas – protestors
Auditoría – audit
Bloqueadores – ‘blockers’, or those protestors opposing the Morales political party, MAS.
Benefits of learning a language to understand world news
As a language learner, you have the unique opportunity of being able to view the world’s news through a variety of different sources in both your native and target languages. For a situation like what is happening in Bolivia, this is the best way to be able to form your own opinion based on arguments from both sides. What news is reported in your country might be vastly different than the stories being told in Bolivia itself, and even between news outlets that are pro- or anti-government there will be large differences about what you get to read.
If you want to practice your Spanish while learning about the Bolivian election, one of the best things you can do is read Bolivian newspapers. Here are a few suggestions to get you started. La Prensa is a new Bolivian newspaper, established in 2016 and promoting itself as Bolivia’s first 100 percent digital newspaper. Articles are well-written and at a level which those Spanish learners who are new to using realia like newspapers as a study resource should be comfortable reading. La Razón is a far more established newspaper, on Bolivian newsstands since 1917. This is a daily newspaper written in La Paz using slightly more complex language than that in La Prensa, though still a good read.
Are you learning Spanish, wanting to discuss world events like the Bolivian election, or just looking for someone to practice your Spanish with? We can help! Our native tutors can design a tailormade study package that will perfectly suit your needs and schedule. Why not drop us a quick inquiry to see how it works.