July 16, 2007

What Pacenos Say About Pacenos!

MABB © ®

What is a paceno? A paceno is a person who was born in La Paz city. There are other words to describe pacenos, such as chukuta, kolla, andino, or even some times arrogant.

Bolivia is more or less divided into regional parts, with each inhabitant of each region having a word to describe him or her. As much as a californian is a californian and a newyorker is a newyorker, a paceno or a camba is just that, a paceno or a camba. However, these last terms are 'loaded' terms. The appellatives have more than just geographical connotations. They have cultural, idiosyncratic, and even moral meanings.

The paceno word has its meaning, which many tend to equal to that of "arrogant inhabitant of the capital city". In recent days, La Paz celebrated its 198 anniversary. For that occasion, the Director of the La Razón newspaper, Carlos Rocha, wrote a special article giving 16 reasons to be proud of La Paz. In this piece, he talks about the paceno's bad habits. Now, if those are enough motives to be proud to be a paceno, I don't know. I, as a paceno, am not particularly proud of them (the bad habits). If this is supposed to be humorous, you can see what kind of humor pacenos are loaded with......!

Anyway, the article talks says that pacenos are dishonest, introverted, lack international relations, have no respect for the city they live in, have no respect for the local laws, intolerant, racists, lack of planning skills and thus improvise too much.

Wow, what a load of habits. In my oppinion, many of the habits are close to reality, others are just too general being able to fit anyone in the world.

But, read the article in Spanish, it brings the argument much closer. This way, you might just begin to understand your paceno amigo.


Anonymous said...

As I told Centellas...por favor usa ALT+164, hace milagros. ;)

Frank_IBC said...

If you're referring to the "ñ", it's actually ALT+0241. "Ñ" is ALT+0209. (Hold down the ALT key and use the numeric keyboard.)

miguel said...

Ah, tenemos un editor, y tiene sentido del humor! (solo estoy bromeando)

Entiendo que el uso de la ñ sin tilde sea un problema para algunas personas, pero es una cosa de practicalidad.

Además, en Inglés no hay ñ. ;) ;)

Claro, podemos entrar en una discusion si es correcto escribir palabras extranjeras en su forma original o si se debe adaptarlas al idioma. En esto, creo yo que no hay ganadores ni perdedores. Mejor dejarlo así.

Pero gracias por los dos tips, los dos funcionan. :-)

Frank_IBC said...

Claro, podemos entrar en una discusion si es correcto escribir palabras extranjeras en su forma original o si se debe adaptarlas al idioma.

You'd definitely want to use it if you're wishing a happy new year to someone. Otherwise it would sound like you're congratulating them on the success of their recent colostomy. :)

galloglass said...

Ouch!! By the way, Miguel, what's your opinion on what's going on in Bolivia??? It's seems like it falling apart. Evo wants centralized control, Sucre wants the capital, Santa Cruz wants autonomy or is it really secession? Montero is calling for a pro-MAS cabildo and bloqueo, the Guaranies want autonomy but on their own terms. Help me figure it all out.

miguel said...

LOL! You are definitely right Frank_ibc, I will have that in mind. Although it is a little tempting, hm!

galloglass: what's going on in Bolivia you ask? that is exactly what I am asking myself these days.

One think I can say, the talk about secession is a bit too soon. I think it is not much an independence movement, but rather an autonomic movement. The people want more control over the economic resources in their own regions. Lurking behind might be the issue of land reform too.

However, I have to say that 'some' people do want independence, but those are the hard core extreme.

The way I see it is really over (as Germans say) "machtkampf" or power struggle. At the moment, Bolivia is going through a realignment of power. Political and social forces are struggling for relevance. Within these dynamics, we can observe different strategic moves from different actors, such as Sta. Cruz wanting autonomy, Sucre wanting to be the official capital once again, etc.

So, I don't see, or better said, I cannot imagine, Bolivia falling apart as a country. However, I do have to leave some chance that it will. Currently, it doesn't look good.

Boli-Nica said...

IMO some events from the past 8 months have actually strengthened the concept of "Bolivia" as a country - outside of the continued ethnic/regional/class/rural-urban divides.

The Cochabamba riots in January were key in a way. Many people in the half moon and in the Andean cities, were sympathetic to the students who confronted the pro-government -largely rural- cocaleros. It made some people in the highlands (not to mention Cochabamba itself) more understanding of the Half moons intentions, and showed the half-moon people that there are a lot of people equally affected by the MAS. I would say you are finding a created sense of solidarity between the middle classes (including many in the Andean region who might have gone with Morales) in the entire country.

The Sucre situation is kind of creating the same situation- but I would say it pointedly excludes many people of all stripes from La Paz.

Finally, the altitude situation has created a new sense of solidarity, between "all" Bolivians.

mabb said...

That is exactly what I've been saying. It is a very issue driven. Talk about the natural gas export to Chile, about the privatization efforts, about soccer in high altitudes, people will tend to agree. Talk about autonomy, vision de pais, who gets the IDH, etc., people will tend to disagree. It is a very normal process, I guess.

However, I am not sure there is a sort of convergence of the people as far as closing some divides, if I understand right what you are saying. I would agree on the point that the concept 'Bolivia', as you say, has emerged perhaps as more prominent among the cleavages, but I still think Bolivia is a deeply divided society. It has always been, if I can remember correctly. The divisions are embedded in the social structure and culture.

As you mention, for example, the class divide is very strongly associated with skin color. That predates Colonial times. And so on and so forth. I don't want to make it long, but I think you know what I mean.