La Paz – Bolivia’s new foreign minister, Aymara Indian David Choquehuanca, on Monday in his first speech announced “great changes” for the country, speaking not in Spanish but in his native tongue.
In an address at the Government Palace in this capital broadcast on nationwide television, the new head of Bolivia’s diplomatic corps thanked President Evo Morales and the Bolivian people for the opportunity to undertake changes that will allow “everyone to live well,” a reference to the country’s sizable – and largely poverty-stricken – indigenous population. About 65 percent of Bolivia’s population of about 9 million people are indigenous, with Quechua speakers and Aymara speakers the biggest groups.
Choquehuanca announced that the time of “pachakuti” had arrived, an Aymara term that means the return to the origins of the Andean civilization. “Uka jacha uru jutasjiway,” Choquehuanca said, which means: “The great day has arrived and we’re seeing it.”
“We have to undertake (our tasks) with responsibility, we have to move forward with these changes that the people have requested,” he said before the other Cabinet officials selected by Morales, among whom are three women, as well as leftist intellectuals and union and social leaders.
The foreign minister concluded his speech with a promise to be loyal to the new government, and he asked his colleagues to “push with all our energy and celebrate as our ancestors celebrated,” by shouting “‘jallalla’ (long live) Evo Morales.”
Choquehuanca is considered to be a key figure in the Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS, Morales’ party, and he is one of those closest to the nation’s first Indian president. EFE