Church leaders says Morales fulfills prophesies

La Paz, Bolivia - Christian and Andean religions in Bolivian politics are woven together in a tight weave with some indigenous church leaders seeing the results of the recent election as the fulfillment of Andean lore and prophesy.

For the Methodist Church of Bolivia, which elected its first Aymara bishop in 1978, the election of indigenous coca leader Evo Morales as president of Bolivia is a prophetic completion. "I was very excited and I cried," said Bishop Carlos Poma describing what he felt when the first Bolivian indigenous president was sworn in.

Morales was sworn in as Bolivia's president last weekend. Since then he has filled his cabinet with left-leaning members, and promised to clean up that nation's politics. Last week Morales fulfilled an election promise and halved his - and his ministers' - salaries. International markets will be cautiously watching the new populist government.

Poma said that the faithful are "very happy and thankful to God and the Andean deities for the return of the great Pachakuti," fulfilling the prophesy of the majority election of an Aymara indigenous president.

The Methodist Church of Bolivia is more committed than ever and the time has come to restore and dignify human life in the construction of the great Pachakuti, of the Kingdom of God, Poma said.

It's interesting that Poma referenced the great Pachakuti, given its association not only with Andean religions, but also New Age philosophies, as noted in the "Heart of The Incas, Mystical Peru" website:

"Once again, the world has begun to recognize the Andes as one of the greatest cultural and spiritual centers of the planet. The doors to new dimensions of awareness are opening of us, and we are now unearthing and reviving ancient, hidden knowledge, due to the beginning of the new, tenth Pachakuti, or cosmic cycle. Andean history is divided into segments of 1000 years, with a transformational era in the middle, every 500 years. We recently passed one of these historical transitions in 1992. The Quetchua of Peru call this Pachakutekk ('turning of the times')."

In other words, Pachakuti can refer to the "turning over of time and space" or a moment when history is ended. Relatedly, Una Pachakuti is the name of a flood that the Inca god Viracocha caused, and which killed all but two people - who were to then bring civilization to the world, as well as being incorporated in the left-wing indigenist party Movimiento Indigena Pachakuti (Indigenous Pachakuti Movement)

On that backdrop, Poma's recent statements to ALC News that the presidency of indigenous leader Morales is the fulfillment of Tupac Katari's prophesy "I will return and I will be millions," combined with those for the Methodist Church - "one day what is happening in the Methodist Church will happen in Bolivia" - could raise some eyebrows.

According to Poma, "they tried to exterminate the indigenous and they couldn't ... because we are the axara, a small Andean seed that never dies."

Since 1975, the Evangelical Methodist Church of Bolivia has proposed Church unity and the formation of leaders at every level of the Church and community "so that shortly we can be free of all oppressions, exclusions, humiliations, and religious and political exploitation from colonial times to the present," said Poma.

Poma seems to not find any problem in his church supporting a rebellion, as well as integrating popular non-Christian beliefs. Tupac Katiri was born Julian Apasa, and led a rebellion of indigenous people in Bolivia against the ruling Spaniards, before being executed by quartering in 1781. Modern indigenous groups see Katari as a hero, and his name is also used by a guerilla group

Poma readily admits he is optimistic regarding Bolivia's future. According to the bishop "now everything will be a reality, there will be friendships, good manners, work for everyone, happy children, there will be no corruption, no favoritism, no more 'come back tomorrow or the next day.' The authorities will talk to the people in their native language, as will the president."

"The future of Bolivia is in good hands and we are all committed to constructing a new Bolivia through the Constituent Assembly," said Poma.