Friday, November 17, 2006

The Bolivian Professor

Troubling story from Kabobfest:
"New American Media writer Camille Taiara brings us the tale of a Bolivian-born professor, Waskar Ari Chachaki. Ari overcame all sorts of obstacles to become a professor. He was born in the Andean highlands, not exactly the kind of place that feeds academia. As a foreign student, he earned a Ph.D. from Georgetown University, making him 'the first member of the pre-Incan Aymara tribe with a doctorate in history from the United States.'

"Now he faces a greater obstacle than socio-economic and racial marginalization -- the misguided tyranny of the war on terror.

"There is good reason to suspect this is an ideological exclusion case. Officials comment his case is being handled by the FBI, and the State Department told the Chronicle of Higher Education that Ari's visa was cancelled 'under a terrorism-related section of U.S. legislation.' He was a bit of an activist, as well. He founded eight indigenous organizations in Bolivia and Peru -- the kinds of things our democracy-spreading government would seem to love...

"Taira reported that Ari suspects political opponents in Bolivia concocted this accusation to ruin him. 'If someone wants to ruin a person, they just say they have terrorist connections,' he said. Dr. Ari pointed out that 'the election of [Evo Morales,] the first indigenous president in five centuries, has provoked racial confrontation in Bolivia. Some say all those who advocate indigenous rights need to be reigned in.' (Only a professor could give structural context to the messed up policies that could cost his job)"

(Crossposted to American Footprints.)


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