Dear Family & Friends,
The title to this blog comes from the words I read in an article from America’s Quarterly, which I mention later in this post. They grabbed my attention as if true, we live hopeless, uncertain lives. I was convicted by what I read and here’s why: I believe in Jesus. He is my certainty. There is a saying “you can be sure of 2 things in life, death and taxes, even taxes after death!” But, here’s the thing, there is death and we must pay taxes, but, there is the certainty of life in Christ, now and eternal. I am certain he laid down his own for mine, so I could live it free of the shackles of my own selfishness, arrogance, wrongdoing and uncertainties in this life. I live for my life to be a witness to this certainty, which brought us here to Bolivia-to share this certainty of our faith in love and grace with others, to be Christ’s light in the world, to be witnesses for the Lord’s Kingdom.
Sadly, right now, there is much uncertainty in Bolivia. A quick post seems appropriate as you may have heard news of the controversial Presidential election which took place on Sunday 20th October, the date which also marks our 3 years here in Bolivia! I posted a short update on Facebook. however I am certain many of our friends and family are not FB users.
Firstly, we feel safe here in Santa Cruz. Today there is a nation – wide Paro ( which means stop) a full scale strike. No transport, public or private from mid day, our girls’ school was cancelled, so it’s a ‘home education’ day. Andrew and Anayah have gone to the market to stock up on food. Petrol stations have long lines as people are filling up with gas- all precautionary and normal here in these times. Yet, all seems peaceful from where we sit.
Funnily enough and on a much less serious note, yesterday we had our septic tank emptied. It seems the last time it was emptied was 4 years ago!! We realised on Friday it was full, much to our surprise as we only just moved in- I blame Andrew and his pension towards toilet humour! Good timing though, as having to wait even one day longer due to a city strike, would have been, well, VERY stinky. Apologies for digressing..it was certainly bound to happen!
So, how did Bolivia get to this point and why the controversy’?
Under Bolivia’s 2009 constitution( changed by the Morales’ government), presidents may only serve two terms. Morales argued his first term was exempt from this rule because it took place before the new constitution. Then on February 21, 2016, Morales’s Movement to Socialism (MAS) party held a referendum to decide if he could run again; he promised to respect the result, however. that did not happen. In late 2017, the country’s Supreme Election Tribunal- all Morales appointees- ruled that preventing him from running would violate his human rights, prompting protests called 21F- Bolivia Dijo NO and Bolivia Dice NO. There is also a political party bearing that same name.
For more detailed insight in the lead up to the election, check out the link below to this article in America’s Quarterly. It really explained it for me https://www.americasquarterly.org/content/morales-or-mesa-either-way-bolivia-faces-tough-questions
Sunday-Election night and Monday:
Late Sunday evening, an abrupt stop in the release of presidential election returns fueled suspicion and confusion, leading to protests in the major cities of Bolivia which have spilled into Monday and today. Opponents suggested electoral officials were trying to help current President and candidate Evo Morales avoid a runoff with his closest rival, Carlos Mesa, which before the abrupt halt in reporting the results seemed inevitable to take place. This raised the eyebrows of the monitoring agency OAS as they demanded an answer, calling the drastic change from the earlier preliminary results ‘inexplicable.’
Currently, there are nation wide protests, some violent. amid accusations of corruption and fraud. Crowds burned the offices of the electoral body in the southern cities of Sucre and Potosi, and protesters set fire to ballots from Sunday’s election in Tarija. So far in Santa Cruz, the protests appear to be peaceful in nature. This city does not support Morales, but rather Carlos Mesa, a former Bolivian President who joined the opposition.
We don’t condone the violent protests, however, we do condone the peaceful protests. – be assured we will stay clear of them though. We recognise and respect the resolve and resilience the wonderful people of Bolivia embody. We hope that truth, justice and democracy prevail.
Join us as we commit to lift Bolivia, her people and her democracy in our prayers and our heartfelt thoughts today and furthermore.
As always, we are grateful for your love and continued support.
Andrew, Lisa, Liliana & Anayah.