Arce Receives the Indigenous Staff of Command Before Assuming the Presidency of Bolivia

El presidente electo de Bolivia, Luis Arce, y su vicepresidente, David Choquehuanca, reciben bastones de mando del pueblo aymaraThe elected president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, and his vice-president, David Choquehuanca, received batons from the Aymara people, in a ceremony under the first rays of the sun in the altiplanic ruins of Tiwanaku (west), two days before formally assuming power in the government.

“Brothers, we simply ask our Achachilas [guardian spirits that protect the people] to give us wisdom so that we can move the country forward in peace, tranquility, and prosperity. Jallalla [viva] brothers,” Arce said during the ceremony, which was conducted by indigenous spiritual leaders, the future governor’s press office reported.

The symbolic takeover of indigenous leadership by Arce continued the acts of transfer of power that began on November 5 with a farewell message from the transitional president Jeanine Áñez, while a civic strike in Santa Cruz (east) and minor protests against the new government of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) persisted.

“Accompanied by Amautas and Mama T’allas [Aymara elders], social organizations and our families, we received in Tiwanaku the energy of the Pachamama and the ancestors to govern in peace, unity and prosperity. We will not disappoint the people’s trust,” proclaimed Arce via Twitter.

The ceremony in Tiwanaku replicated, although without surrounding crowds, the acts in which former president Evo Morales (2006-2019) was recognized as a national indigenous leader upon assuming his three successive mandates.

MAS had announced earlier this week that the indigenous ceremony in the ruins of Tiwanaku, a world heritage site located 60 kilometers west of La Paz, was in doubt due to health considerations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the end, only about twenty leaders of social organizations and relatives of the leaders, in addition to Aymara priests, attended the symbolic assumption of Arce and Choquehuanca, according to the report of their press team.

The indigenous presence in the transfer of power will be seen again on November 8, when thousands of Aymaras and Quechuas from various districts will establish a guard of honor in the Plaza Murillo, the site of the legislative palace in which Arce and Choquehuanca will be sworn in, union leaders announced.

After the formal ceremonies, a parade will be held on the afternoon of November 8 in the same square, which will include traditional dance groups, according to the official program.