Felix Muruchi Poma: Bolivia’s Process of Social Change
Felix Muruchi’s personal history as a miner, construction worker, student and union activist, nonprofit organization, political prisoner and later candidate, and most recently indigenous rights lawyer provides an extraordinary lens to grasp Bolivian struggles for social justice.
Friday October 25, 2013 | 4:00 to 6:00
Sociology Lounge, Room 6112
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Felix Muruchi Poma was born in a highland indigenous community in Bolivia where he herded llamas as a small child. When he was seven, his family moved to the Lllallagua tin mines so that his father could work underground. By the age of 16 Felix was engaged an illegal miner, before heading off to military service at 17 where he witnessed the first in Bolivia’s 18 years of military coups. He then joined the Siglo XX state mines rising to union leadership in the battle against military government repression and massacres. At 24, determined to study, he moved to Oruro where he supported himself working construction while attending the local university. He was an active student leader who was imprisoned and tortured after the Banzer dictatorship (1972-78) closed all universities. Captured and sent to Chile as part of Plan Condor, he organized a harrowing escape, finding sanctuary in the Dutch embassy in Santiago and exile in Holland. When Banzer fell, he returned to Bolivia’s mines but was forced into exile again when General Garcia Meza seized power in 1980. He returned to a democratic Bolivia in 1986 and founded an NGO in El Alto dedicated to training unemployed miners. He was active the fight to found a local university, where he subsequently became a student leader once again and was active in the 2003 Gas War.
In 2009, some thirty years after he first became a university student, he graduated as an attorney and is currently active in supporting his community of origin. He is co-author of two books, From the Mines to the Streets: a Bolivian activist’s life and Ponchos Rojos about an important highland indigenous social movement.
Praise for From the Mines to the Streets
This is quite possibly the best book about labor and political organizing in Latin America I ever have read. It is a real page-turner. —Frederic Hicks, University of Louisville
This book is a must read for gaining a deeper understanding of the country that is arguably undergoing the most interesting political – and citizen’s led – revolution in Latin America today. —Coletta Youngers Washington Office on Latin America
Of the six books and dozens of articles we read, the students overwhelming identified ‘From the Mines to the Streets’ as the course’s most engaging and interesting text. —Jason Tockman, University of British Columbia
Sponsored and Organized in collaboration with the Department of Sociology (Graduate Center, CUNY) and the Andean Information Network.
Friday October 25th: Bolivia’s Process of Social Change with Felix Muruchi Poma
Date: October 25, 2013
Time: 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Location: CUNY Graduate Center, Room 6112
Address: 365 Fifth Avenue, New York 10016 (View Map)