Category Archives: Events

Bolivia Feb 2016 Referendum What do the results really mean?

Panel Discussion

Dr. John Crabtree

Research Associate, Latin American Centre, University of Oxford

Alberto Souviron

Bolivian digital media specialist / journalist with social media background

Thursday 25 February 18:30

Joint presentation with the

Institute of Latin American Studies

Senate House, Bloomsbury Room G35, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

Tickets: Non-members £8, Members £6, Students (with valid ID) £5

Reserve via email. Pay at the door.

Refreshments and nibbles included.

Send email for booking. Email:                    

Bolivian voters will again be going to the polls on 21 February 2016, in a third national election in two years. In October 2014 President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera were re-elected for a third term and sub-national elections for governors and mayors were held in March 2015. The Referendum to be staged on Sunday 21 February will consult the electorate on amending the 2009 Constitution to enable Morales and Garcia Linera, whose current term of office ends in January 2020, to stand for a fourth term until January 2025. A No vote would mean no change to the current constitution, barring Morales and Garcia Linera from standing for office in the 2019 general election, while a Yes would enable them to seek the fourth term. The panel including Dr. John Crabtree and Alberto Souviron will analyse the social, political and economic implications of these results and complex manoeuvring behind the scenes leading up to the Referendum.
ADDENDA: Traditional Press and Social Media Perspectives

In January this year, President Morales declared the political right had been reduced to communicating via traditional media and social networks. At the beginning of February, he complained about attacks he received in social media. In the meantime, various controversies and accusations have populated this space and later reflected in the traditional press. The campaign in favour and against the re-election of the President and Vice-President has been heated in all media.

In his panel presentation digital media specialist Alberto Souviron will explore whether social media is a fortress of the political right and the opposition? He will also examine if web 2.0 reflects the real debate in Bolivia, and analyse social media use by the No and Yes campaigns.

The Burguesia Chola and the changing cityscapes of El Alto and La Paz

Dr. Kate Maclean
Lecturer in Geography at Birkbeck, University of London
Thursday 11 February 2016 at 18:30
Joint presentation with
the Institute of Latin American Studies
Bedford Room (G37), Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU Tickets: Non-members £8, Members £6, Students (with valid ID) £5 Refreshments included.
For booking email:

Explosions of colour and the uniquely vivid Andean symbology woven into the architecture herald the rise of the socalled ‘chola bourgeoisie’ – the ‘new rich’ of El Alto and the north of La Paz, who have made their money in commerce, often informally.  In addition to the spectacular architecture, El Alto also now boasts luxury hotels and some of the most expensive property in the country.  Mobility between the two cities is also changing, as the ‘new rich’ seek property in the more salubrious areas of La Paz, such as La Zona Sur.  The development of new urban transport networks – the cable car and Puma bus – have opened up new connections in the city that are changing culture and identity, and transforming social divisions that are centuries old.  In this talk, Kate Maclean reports back on the first stage of her Leverhulme project on the changing cityscapes of El Alto and La Paz.  She will look at particular examples of the dramatic changes to the urban and cultural landscape in the two cities, and discuss reasons for the rise of the ‘chola bourgeoisie’.

UMATURKA – The call of the Water

Giovanna Miralles & Dr. Peter Wilkin

Documentary Film Producer and Director

Wednesday, 11 November 2015 at 19:30

Joint presentation with the

Institute of Latin American Studies

Bedford Room, Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

Tickets: Free entry

Glass of wine, refreshments included.

For booking email:

The documentary UMATURKA – The Call of the Water follows the aymara community of Quillacas, who continue to challenge the encroaching modern world and culture by performing the annual Umaturka ritual to call the clouds and rains following the dry season. UMATURKA serves as a memory of the Quillacas’ customs, culture and traditions that form part of the present, reality and life in the contemporary Andes. Giovanna Miralles and Dr. Peter Wilkin completed the different stages of production for the documentary with their own resources and are seeking support to cover the costs of image post-production. Luzmila Carpio, a North Potosi artist, singer, composer, former Bolivian Ambassador to France, contributed one of her songs for the documentary.  Miralles and Wilkin will exhibit the trailer, give a talk on the film and the crowdfunding campaign launched to finish the film.

Conversaciones con Yapita

Prof. Juan de Dios Yapita
Presidente, Instituto de Lengua y la Cultura Aymara (ILCA)
Jueves, 8 Octubre 2015 a las 18:30
Iglesia Our Lady of the Rosary,
211 Old Marylebone Road, Marylebone, NW1 5QT.
Estacion Edgware Road Linea Bakerloo (frente a Sussex Gardens)

Entrada: £2 (Gratis para: estudiantes / jubilados / concesiones)
Habrá refrescos y bocaditos. Favor confirmar asistencia al correo:
El profesor Juan de Dios Yapita, lingüista Boliviano, dirigirá un conversatorio informal sobre las características y difusión del idioma aymara en Bolivia. Todos los miembros y amigos de la comunidad boliviana y latinoamericana en Londres están cordialmente invitados a asistir.
Juan de Dios Yapita, aymara-hablante boliviano, ha luchado por más de 25 años para que la lengua de sus ancestros se difunda y sea introducida en el currículum nacional. Ingresó en 1968 en la Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, en La Paz, para enseñar la lengua aymara y en 1979 colaboró en crear allí la carrera de lingüística, con mención en la especialidad de lingüística aymara. En 1972, fundó el Instituto de Lengua y Cultura Aymara, ILCA, para llevar constantes cursos de aymara hablado y escrito, y su difusión a través de radio y televisión. A nivel internacional participó en el Programa de Preparación de los Materiales de Enseñanza de la lengua aymara en la Universidad de Florida y enseñó lingüística aplicada y gramática a nivel de licenciatura y posgrado en Bolivia, Chile y Perú, los Estados Unidos, Inglaterra y Escocia. Sus publicaciones y co-publicaciones incluyen: Aymara: Compendio de estructura fonológica y gramatical (1988), Curso de aymara paceño (1991), Método fácil (1994) y La dinámica aymara: Conjugación de verbos (2008).

Andrés de Santa Cruz reexamined 1792-1865

Dr. Natalia Sobrevilla
Reader in Hispanic Studies
University of Kent
Thursday, 24 September 2015 at 18:30
Joint presentation with the
Institute of Latin American Studies
Room G22/26 Senate House
Malet Street, WC1E 7HU
Tickets: £10 entry (£5 for students & concessions)
Glass of wine, refreshments included.
For booking email:

Andrés de Santa Cruz y Calahumana was born in the city of La Paz in the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata in 1792 at the very end of the colonial period, when the Andes were still firmly under the control of the Spanish monarchy. He grew up in the aftermath of the greatest indigenous rebellion seen in 300 years and lived through the convulsed times that led to independence. Santa Cruz was an important participant during this time of change. He had the opportunity to lead and fought to shape the newly established republics in the Andes. He was president of Peru and Bolivia and between 1836 and 1839 he established a Confederation between these countries.
In this talk Dr. Sobrevilla will reflect upon life and the challenges Santa Cruz faced growing up as an empire broke down and the role he played in creating independent states. This presentation coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of Andrés de Santa Cruz.

“Fiesta Boliviana” Summer Picnic in Regents Park on Marylebone Green

Sunday, 23 August 14:30 till 18:00

All ABS members, friends, families, children are cordially invited to our annual free-of-charge Fiesta Boliviana. Please bring picnic food and drinks to share – Bolivian specialities most welcome.
Don’t forget balloons, sunglasses, funny hats, umbrellas, sun cream and sweets and biscuits to fill the piñata. Bring a rug, or a chair if you’d rather not sit on the grass. Test your skill with Bolivian games and relax to Bolivian music. Last year’s picnic was great fun – let’s make 2015’s even better!
Marylebone Green is in Regents Park (see link above to map), 10 minutes walk from Regents Park tube. Turn left into Marylebone Road as you leave the station, cross the road and head up Park Square West and at the end of this street cross the Outer Circle and enter the park. There is a children’s playground on the right and beyond the playground is a wooded area where you will spot us.

Don’t forget to call 07711 707 402 or 07931 936 209 for a weather check before leaving home.

We look forward to seeing you!

Bolivia en la Haya; La fuerza de una causa justa

Presidente Carlos Mesa
Vocero oficial de la causa marítima

Miércoles 8 Julio a las 18:30

Presentacion conjunta con la
Embajada Boliviana en el Reino Unido
University College London
31-34 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PY

Entrada Gratuita.
Plazas limitadas, presentacion sera solo en Español
favor reservar asiento por email

Uno de los pilares principales de la Política Exterior Boliviana desde los años 1960, época en la que Bolivia corta todas las relaciones diplomáticas con Chile, se funda en el principio de la resolución pacífica de controversias, orientada a la solución de la causa Marítima. Desde entonces, Bolivia ha realizado incansables esfuerzos por encontrar una solución pacifica que brinde al país una salida soberana al Océano Pacifico.

En este contexto, el gobierno del Presidente Evo Morales, ha presentado el 24 de Abril de 2013, una demanda en contra de Chile ante el más alto tribunal internacional, La Corte Internacional de Justicia de la Haya (CIJ), que busca que la Corte dictamine la obligación por parte de Chile de negociar una salida soberana al Océano Pacifico. Asimismo, ha nombrado en 2014 al ex Presidente Carlos Mesa como vocero oficial de la causa Marítima.

En esta ocasión, después de que las dos partes han presentado sus alegatos orales ante la Corte Internacional de Justicia, Carlos Mesa dará una explicación general de los fundamentos, alcances y avances de esta controversia y una ilustración de lo que pide Bolivia a la Corte.

Travelling to high altitude destinations: Bolivia

Bibiana Tellez-Garside

HighLives Travel Founder

Thursday 2 July at 19:00

Joint presentation with the

Institute of Latin American Studies

Room G34, Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

Tickets: £10 members, £5 seniors and students with ID

Glass of wine, refreshments and nibbles included.

Send email to make booking

Bolivian-born Bibiana Tellez-Garside leads the London-based tour operator HighLives Travel which she founded to offer specialist and small-group adventures in Bolivia and South America that delve into the region’s culture and landscapes. Her talk will cover the thrill of travelling to high altitudes and how travellers should prepare before visiting these destinations. Bibiana’s extensive local knowhow has enabled her to promote pioneering travel trends and, as well as revealing highlights of a trip to Bolivia, her talk will include news of the country’s culinary ‘revolution’.

Bolivia March 2015 Subnational Election Results in Perspective

Panel Discussion

Dr. John Crabtree

Research Associate, Latin American Centre, University of Oxford

Dr. Jeffery Webber

Senior Lecturer

School of Politics & International Relations, Queen Mary University of London

Alberto Souviron

Bolivian digital media specialist / journalist with social media background

Tuesday 28 April 18:30

Joint presentation with the

Institute of Latin American Studies

Senate House, Bedford Room G37, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

Tickets: £10, students (with valid ID) and concessions £5

Glass of wine, refreshments and nibbles included.

Send email for booking at 

Do Bolivia’s March subnational elections signal lasting developments in the political landscape or do the results reflect a temporary correction or protest vote by local community groups and organisations? The ruling Movement for Socialism (MAS) led by President Evo Morales, which secured a handsome 61% result in the October 2014 Presidential elections, remains dominant nationally, yet in these elections lost control of the regional government and municipality in the seat of government La Paz, and the adjoining Aymara Indian city of El Alto, its support bastion and scenario of the 2003 War on Gas. The opposition retained control in the Santa Cruz region, and secured city hall in Cochabamba, but May second-round elections in the Beni, Chuquisaca and Tarija regions, where the MAS was determined to win, may yield further upsets. The panel will analyse these developments, and identify risks and opportunities moving forward.

Katari and the Seacoast during the Bolivian Gas War

Sue Iamamoto

PhD Candidate, School of Politics and International Relations

Queen Mary University of London

Capes / Brazil

Thursday 19 March 18:30

Joint presentation with the

Institute of Latin American Studies

Torrington Room (104), First Floor

Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

Glass of wine, refreshments and nibbles included

                       Send email for booking at                       

Eleven years ago, in September / October 2003, a powerful social mobilisation paralysed Bolivia to demand nationalisation of natural gas. The setting for this struggle was mainly the highland provinces of the department of La Paz and the city of El Alto, overlooking the seat of the government of La Paz. After more than 50 protestors were killed by the army, President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada resigned on 17 October 2003. This presentation will focus on the power of collective memories during these days, more specifically how the protestors incorporated narratives of two particular events: the anti-colonial rebellion of Tupac Katari in 1781 and the War of the Pacific in 1879-1880, in which Bolivia lost its seacoast. These collective memories were entangled with the protestors´ national and ethnic identities and were central to frame and make sense of new political projects for Bolivia’s future.