maria-galindo-bolivia6With her partly shaved pate and theatrical eye shadow, Bolivia’s most prominent feminist stands out in a crowd. Mujeres Creando (Women Creating), the group she founded in 1992, has been daubing walls with graffiti, staging performances and engaging in acts of civil disobedience ever since to protest homophobia and maltreatment of women. Tradition-minded Bolivians call her an anarchist and revile her lesbianism. She describes herself as a rebel…

“The government’s position is utterly incoherent,” she contends. Mr Morales’s party, the Movement To Socialism (MAS), is an “agglutination of caudillos’ interests and does not represent progressive ideas at all”. The underlying problem, she thinks, is Christianity, especially the evangelical sort that has taken root in indigenous communities. No doubt there is some truth in this claim. It also allows activists such as Ms Galindo to blame bigotry and violence on European influences rather than native ones. “Homophobia is not an indigenous idea,” she asserts. “It was introduced by the church.”

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