Constitutional, political and social analysts noted recently that the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, violated the constitution he himself signed into existence by celebrating a pre-Colombian “ancestral blessing” rite. Bolivia’s constitution states in article four that the State shall be secular and “independent of any religion.”
Carlos Cordero, an expert in languages, explained that if Bolivia defines itself as a secular country, “The correct thing would be for the President not to show support for any particular religion,” instead of wanting to “erase from Bolivian memory the symbols and important figures who were part of our history.”
Other experts interviewed by the media said the celebration of this “ancestral blessing” was motivated by the government’s desire to replace the religious ceremonies that were carried out by previous administrations.
Jorge Lazarte, also an expert in languages, explained that while the rite appears to violate the constitution, the constitution promulgated in February of 2009 contains actual contradictions. In one place it notes “the state shall have no official religion, and later in another series of articles it supports the revival of practices inspired by the indigenous worldview.”
Although government officials said the ceremony with Morales was an expression of the freedom of religion, other experts pointed out that it was in contradiction with the government’s policy, as the armed forces cannot hold Catholic ceremonies, but participate in ones such as that attended by Morales.