Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Bolivian Social Movements 1992-2010

The Collection Bolivian Social Movements 1992-2010 was an outgrowth of a SEPHIS Project about 'Preserving Social Memory: History and Social Movements'. The project was elaborated by Rossana Barragán, director of the Archive of La Paz (2005-2011) and financed by the SEPHIS program in Amsterdam, aiming to create a  visual and documentary collection on social movements in Bolivia from 1992 - 2010.

1992 was the year that Spain and several Latin American countries commemorated 500 years of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and the encounter between Europe and the New World.  In countries such as Bolivia it was an occasion to discuss the colonial encounter and its legacies, and was used to concentrate on the ethnic and cultural aspects frequently forgotten in class analysis.  The collection ends in 2010 during the presidency of Evo Morales.

The Collection Bolivian Social Movements includes identification, classification, description and digitization of

  • 5.520 photographs from the daily newspaper Ultima Hora,
  • 6.780 journal articles about Social Movements and related topics,
  • 4.500 audio recordings of one of the most important radio stations in investigative journalism in Bolivia, Radio ERBOL;
  • 1.434 documents from the feminist Anarchist Movement “Mujeres Creando” (Women Creating) and
  • 1.353 documents from the Collective 'Familia Galán'. 

The photographs and articles from Ultima Hora and the audio material from Radio ERBOL include activities of various sectors and segments of society, such as peasants, indigenous people, workers, feminists, businesses, coca producers, small traders, etc.  Their demands were diverse. Their activities included important social and political demands as “The Water War”, the “Gas War”, The Porvenir Massacre, the trial of the Constituent Assembly, the presidential elections, the struggle against privatization and other instances of mobilization and demands between 1991 and 2010.

The Mujeres Creando Collection illustrates the activism of this movement in the political and cultural field and includes material related to publicity and diffusion of their activities (posters, triptychs, flyers), publications (books and magazines), articles published in the Mujer Publica supplement and other national and foreign newspapers, photographs of various activities and documentation about their proposals, projects, and social manifestos.

The Galan Family Collection, like the Mujeres Creando Collection unites documentation related to publicity and diffusion of their activities, publications, newspaper articles about the collective, photographs and miscellaneous documentation about their projects, proposals and manifests related to the protection GLBT movement rights, against HIV AIDS and for human rights. In addition to this material, the collection also includes audiovisual material of the cultural activities of the Galan Family, including their theater productions “Katherine’s Memoirs” and “Badly Behaved”, and also a considerable number of films on gay and lesbian themes.

The collection is classified along the following criteria:
PRODUCER
-       Ultima Hora Photographic Fund
-       Collection of articles about Social Movements of the Ultima Hora Newspaper
-       Collection Women Creating
-       Collection Galan Family
-       Collection Radio ERBOL
DOCUMENT TYPE
-       Photographs
-       Press Articles
-       Audiovisual material
-       Documents
-       Audio material

The description and digitization used specially designed software:  the SISDDDA – Sistema de Descripción y Digitalización de Documentos de Archivo (System for Description and Digitalization of Archive Documents), developed by Cesar Lunasco, Information Technology Coordinator and carried out by Lizeth Daniela Troche Guzmán, Academic and Administrative Coordinator of the Project, together with 12 archiving technicians. 

The Power Point presentation shows a schematic table of the content of the collection and some of the photographs.  Included is information about the working class up to the 90s, the workers and proletarians in the mines, and the peasants and indigenous movements that emerged that emerged in the past few decades. It includes demands from people of different ages and groups: children as well as elderly people. 

From the photographs, it is clear that demonstrations and marches were important part of the political life of the country. The demonstrations used different tactics and strategies to pressure the governments. 

The presentation also provides some glimpses of the audio material and the Data Base Search System.  The format used to describe each photograph or article is extremely detailed, and this system allows searches according to different criteria: dates, topics, groups, people, etc.

The last images show some important graffiti by the Mujeres Creando.  Finally, a short documentary shows that the main work of this collection was done by a team of students coordinated by Rossana Barragán as head of the Archive in that period.

Although the Archivo de La Paz holds the copyright to the photographs, the complete collection will be made publicly accessible via the IISH. Please contact dr Rossana Barragán or the IISH Reading Room Staff.

See also the IISH Latin America desk for more information on other projects and activities in Latin America.

Posted: 
9 July 2012