The day the colors changed in Bolivia

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The multicolored indigenous wiphalas and blue flags of the ruling party disappeared this Sunday from the streets of La Paz, before an overwhelming irruption of tricolor flags – red, yellow and green – national historic symbol carried by thousands of protesters in urban celebration of the fall of Evo Morales , the indigenous president who failed in his attempt to add a five-year period to his record of almost 14 years in power.

An intense afternoon rain, after several hours of radiant sun, did not placate the festive mood of the celebrants, most of them university students, who occupied the still blocked streets and squares of the center of the Bolivian capital, until recently taken by unions, neighborhood associations and peasant and indigenous organizations that supported Morales.

In fact, the so-called social movements had begun their withdrawal two days before, when the growth of anti-government protests seemed uncontrollable, without responding to the subsequent calls of the indigenous president to return to La Paz in defense of the "process of change."

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"This we wanted, no more Evo, not only because we are already tired but because he has tried to make fun of the popular will to illegally prolong his mandate," said Marina Guzman, a systems engineer student at a local university, waving his flag. "He could go through the big door as the flag bearer of the natives, but he preferred that the youth and the middle classes take him out of power"he said, expressing a general feeling among the residents of middle and upper class neighborhoods that sustained the street blockade of almost three weeks in most of the cities of the country, which began as a dispersed movement and ended up led by civic committees that raised the resignation flags of Morales and new elections.

Opponents of Evo Morales celebrate with emotion the resignation of the president. Photo: Reuters

Opponents of Evo Morales celebrate with emotion the resignation of the president. Photo: Reuters

The university said that together with a dozen other young people, she was part of the group of protesters who spent the night before at the street block points that moved from the neighborhoods to downtown La Paz.

The collapse of the until recently powerful Morales Government began to precipitate in the early hours of Sunday, when protesters and the general public were alerted through the social networks of the publication of a long-awaited audit of the Organization of American States ( OAS), who undressed a fraud in the October 20 elections, denied by the government.

By then, the blockades and demonstrations in La Paz, in keeping with the protests in the rest of the country, had gained as much space in public opinion as in the streets, until they took the Plaza Murillo – where is the Government Palace, next to the Casa Grande del Pueblo, Morales headquarters – sheltered after the mutiny.

Opponents of Evo Morales celebrate with emotion the resignation of the president. Photo: Reuters

Opponents of Evo Morales celebrate with emotion the resignation of the president. Photo: Reuters

The protesters, which did not take long to pass from the protest to the celebration, kept watching their blockades and broke into shouts of celebration while the reports of resignations of ministers, departmental governors and official parliamentarians multiplied, in some cases pressed by opposition protesters who burned their houses and harassed their families.

Nor was it a normal Sunday in El Alto, the city near La Paz that was one of Morales's strongholds, whose famous street trade fair, considered one of the largest of its kind in the world, barely began to function when its thousands of vendors decided to close their stalls and pick up their varied merchandise, ranging from buttons to cars, through an inexhaustible assortment of new and used clothes.

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Unlike the celebration in downtown La Paz, the streets of El Alto looked empty and silent after being the scene, on the previous night, of the only attempt of official counteroffensive with marches and blockades of streets that ended in excesses and attacks on public buildings and the transmission plants of two private television stations.

"Oh my God, now who will come to govern!", Said a saleswoman of flags who witnessed the youth celebration in the Plaza San Francisco de La Paz. "This Government should not end like this, because something has given us to the poor, but the violence and protests were already too much," he lamented, while hiding the blue flags of the Movement to Socialism and exhibiting only the national tricolor.

The different worlds of the university and the seller completed the picture of Bolivia after Evo.

Bolivia Carlos Quiroga, special for Clarin



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