January 09, 2014

For Those Who Ask What Coca Leafs Are Good For


Those skeptics who dare to ask what coca leaves are good for, have to pay attention to this post. It is not just that these leaves have an important place in the Andean culture as a ritual aide to establish spiritual contact with mother earth. Neither are they only used by mine workers (and others) as an aid to diminish fatigue and hunger or are drank by the average people as a tea infusion or even drank by tourists to deal with altitude sickness in La Paz. The (as denoted in Bolivia) "millennial leaves" are also used to read the future, even to predict the political developments coming up in 2014. These predictions or divinations are performed by traditional healers/priests/shamans called Kallawayas.

As you well know, this year, 2014, will be a crucial year for Evo, because by the end of the year his presidential term will end and therefore there will be elections. This is very important for him, because it will be his third term in office and, as we also know, he wants to stay in office. So the results of this elections will determine whether Morales will stay in power or if there is a change in direction. The options have never been clearer and as a result the country is clearly divided between two camps: those who support the so called process of change (i.e. the Morales government) and those who just want to see Morales leave office.

On December 2013, a news agency (Agencia de Noticias Fides), asked two Kallawayas to make predictions about 2014. Below are the predictions made regarding the elections and the government.

Not surprisingly, for me, both priests predicted the new year and, specially, the electoral season will be ... attention! ... "problematic". They predicted serious social and political problems. In addition, they pointed out they could not predict exactly who would win the elections because it was ... attention again ... "too soon". Curiously, they gave the same answers as political analysts, pollsters and the like when they are asked the same question. Although, I would have expected that the coca leaves had a less vague insight into the country's electoral outcome.

However, when I was just about to give up, one of them dared to predict the second and third place in the coming election. He said that Juan del Granado, the leader of Movement Without Fear (Movimiento Sin Miedo, MSM) would come out second and Samuel Doria Medina (no alliance yet) will come out third. Now that is what I call insight. I would love to see Bolivian political analysts to get that concrete, so early on.

In addition, the other priest predicted two people close to the president will betray him and that the party, MAS, will have serious internal problems. So now I am thinking, this priest has some insight into the government's highest circles.

Of all the predictions, I find most interesting the ones about who will come out in which position in the elections. Though, if you follow Bolivian politics you might also tend to agree with this prediction, to get so concrete takes a bit of courage because after all you are predicting something that will be affected in many different ways by many different factors and in so much time. It is like trying to predict the weather for the end of the month.

I am certainly excited about the results of the election and to test the predictability power of the coca leaf.

If you want to read the article you can find it here. Hopefully they will leave it there for a while.