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Let Me Speak! Testimony of Domitila, a Woman of the Bolivian Mines

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  91 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
First published in English in 1978, this classic book contains the testimony of Domitila Barrios de Chungara, the wife of a Bolivian tin miner. Blending firsthand accounts with astute political analysis, Domitila describes the hardships endured by Bolivia's vast working class and her own efforts at organizing women in the mining community. The result is a gripping narrativ ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Monthly Review Press
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Willow Firstbrook
Oct 08, 2015 Willow Firstbrook rated it really liked it
Shelves: marxism, feminism, bolivia
"My husband works, I work, I make my children work, so there are several of us working to support the family. And the bosses get richer and richer and the workers' conditions get worse and worse. But in spite of everything we do, there's still the idea that women don't work, because they don't contribute economically to the home, that only the husband works because he gets a wage. We've often come across that difficulty.
...even though the state doesn't recognize what we do in the home, the coun
Dec 17, 2011 Andy rated it really liked it
An interesting and depressing slice of Bolivian history. Living through the repeated military coups and the struggles of people reliant upon natural resource wealth, Dona Domitila has seen a lot of ugly history and amazing solidarity among her fellow wives and the workers of the Siglo XX mines. The format, while intending to keep her voice and experiences central, doesn't work for me. There could have been more information provided to put the events into a broader context but that would go again ...more
Mar 27, 2014 Adriana rated it it was amazing
Great insight into Latin American organizing and leftism
May 21, 2008 K rated it really liked it
I was assigned this book while taking an anthropology class, I didn't finish it during the course. So one summer day I decided that I wanted to finish the book. I was, surprisingly, impressed. I think that it is important that we learn about others not from media, etc. but from the words of individuals. The woman's plight was touching and I admire her strength and determination. Given her circumstances I'm not sure that I would have been able to survive and continue to try to make things better ...more
This was a very interesting book. It is a true story from the perspective of the wife of a miner in a shanty town of rural Bolivia. It talks about the poor working conditions and the even worse living conditions. It also outlines the author's rise as an activist to fight for the poor working families like her own.

She has some pretty jaded views of the elite in Bolivia, and of the US in general. This is still a very good book and important for anyone studying Latin America.
Sheila Rocha
Oct 20, 2008 Sheila Rocha rated it liked it
Superb testimonio of the struggles of the Indian people of Bolivia. Want to know what capitalism does? Take a look at Domitila's story as a freedom fighter for her family and the workers of the tin mines. Tortured and exiled, she walks us through the on-going human rights struggle of indigenous nations of the americas.
Mar 05, 2010 Julie added it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I had no idea what life was like for Bolivian miners and their families. I didn't end up finishing the book because it got too violent for me. The part where she gives birth and loses her baby was just a little too close to home for me right now, and I didn't think I could keep reading.
Apr 16, 2009 Kim marked it as to-read
I read this once for an Anthropology class, but didn't care too much about the story/people. Now that I've lived in Bolivia, and love her people so deeply, I'd like to read it again with a new perspective.
Ali Alavi
Feb 18, 2007 Ali Alavi rated it it was amazing
توصیه میکنم این کتاب رو به روشنفکرها و فمینیست ها بخونند و یه مقداری به فکر فرو بروند
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“ was the very government and the way they treated us that started us on that road. For example, in my case, when they beat me in the DIC cells for being a “communist” and an “extremist” and all that, they awoke a great curiosity in me: “What is communism? What is socialism?” Every day they beat me over the head with that. And I began to ask myself: “What’s a socialist country? How are problems solved there? How do people live there? Are the miners massacred there?” And then I began to analyze: “What have I done? What do I want? What do I think? Why am I here? I only asked for justice for the people, I only asked for education to be better, I asked that there be no more massacres like the terrible San Juan massacre. Is that socialism? Is that communism?” 3 likes
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