On the whole I’m a person that condemns violence, yet I don’t consider myself as a pacifist. The real pacifists are for example Buddhist monks in Burma or Tibet who are not willing to use violence at any cost, even self defence. I believe, especially in the case of military rule in Burma (remember the protests?) that if you are physically aggressed you have a right to defend yourself and your people/community. The monks chose otherwise and I respect their decision.

I don’t condemn (though neither condone) violence during the Cuban revolution since there was no other way. What resulted was a dictatorship replacing another. However, being purely pragmatic Castro’s dictatorship was much more humane than that of his predecessor Batista. A case of lesser evil which as I said I do not condone but do somewhat justify.

The FARC rebels in Columbia, are acting like the Cubans have a century ago, but the scenario is different. Yes I believe they care about the rights of the indigenous and the working class. However today they have other means which are not bloody and more effective. I condemn the violence completely. Yet I may have some sympathy with the workers, the poor, the underdogs who see no other hope than the FARC.

What is common in these three scenarios is that the violence is committed (or not) from the underdogs against the oppressor in power. The case of what is happenning in Bolivia right now is different.

Since Evo Morales was democratically elected the life of the indigenous, the underdogs improved, unlike that of the rich. They are still rich, their freedom to oppress the poor is now restrained. So they turned violent. The rich against the poor for fear of becoming less wealthy than before. Do I condemn this – definitely, with absolutely no exception.

I think there is a lot of hope for Morales in Bolivia. He has the support of many Latin American leftist governments who are democratically elected (with the exception of Castro), especially Venezuelan President Hugo Chaves.

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