Social movements: development actors in Bolivia? : a case study of how "Cocaleros" movements perceive their role in Bolivian development processes
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In the last decades the Bolivian social movements started gaining force and raising their voices against the injustices and the inefficiency of the governments to give solution to their problems. During the last 20 years the movements have started to gain control and force, but many of the movements have a longer history. One of them is the cocaleros movement, the coca leaf growers’ movement. They spent more than thirty years fighting for what they considered to be their rights; they practically started form cero and created a strong organization that represents not only their particular interests, but the collective identity of their people. This thesis, based on a six months research among the cocaleros communities, academicians and civil society shows how this social movement emerged, how it has evolved over time and how its leaders managed to create perhaps the strongest social movement in the history of Bolivia. The cocaleros movement was the first social movement that created a ‘political instrument’ (the political party MAS), a party that won for the second time in the Bolivian history, with majority, the national presidential elections. As such, the movement has truly assisted in giving Bolivia its first indigenous president, the former cocalero leader Evo Morales. This thesis explores how the members of the cocaleros movement perceive their role in the Bolivian society; how they feel the impacts of their actions have changed Bolivia. The thesis will also discuss whether they are really changing the Bolivian context or if they are merely following a political discourse. Finally, the thesis also describes the way this social movement is seen by other sectors of society, sectors who may or may not agree with the new government that is somehow closely related to the cocaleros social movement.
Masteroppgave development management- Universitetet i Agder 2010