Tatiana Zhurzhenko examines the contrast between the colourful (orange, velvet, purple) revolutions of post- Soviet Eastern Europe and the coca revolution in Bolivia. The former, she says, are being sold as brands to introduce the former East Europe to the West- hence the colorful descriptions of democratic elections being termed as “revolutions”- when they are little more than an invitation to neo- liberal capitalism.Morales’ victory, however, is never termed as a revolution and certainly no colourful descriptions are evident either. Instead, the spectre of cocaine is what is projected in the dominant media.
An insightful essay contrasting the fruity and flowery revolutions in East Europe, specially the tingling Orange one in Ukraine, with the rise of Evo Morales, whose patron saints include, horror of horrors, Fidel Castro.
Maybe Bolivia really has staged the last revolution of the twentieth century, one that was possible only in a poor, marginalized, and underdeveloped country.
On the other hand, one might see in this revolution a ghost of the future. Bolivia, an absolute loser of globalization and a victim of neo-liberal politics, arrived in the twenty-first century a long time ago. Its political elite failed to represent the interests of the nation, and the income gap between rich and poor is one of the widest in the world. The country’s water supply was privatized by foreign companies, which raised prices for the local population and made water unaffordable for many, while Bolivia’s huge gas resources do not help Bolivians alleviate their misery. Does this mean that the socialist alternative remerges in the twenty-first century as an answer to global capitalism, as in the twentieth century it was the answer to national capitalism?