Somos la memoria
Of vast empires snaking through the Amazon
Of great peoples and high temples
Of Quiche and Kechua and cultura
They couldn’t wipe out, no matter how hard
They tried.

Somos el dolor
Of nations decimated for their
Oro y plata
Nations with roots deep as
The mountains they blew open
With hearts strong as
The people they enslaved in the mountain
Stripping the riches from their own soil
Hail Mary, full of grace…

Somos el espíritu
Of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Of the Spanish church and
the native gods and
la mezcla of spirits from two
Disconnected worlds.
El espíritu de la Iglesia
That controlled everything
And everyone.

Somos la lucha
Por la independencia
The struggle that finally burst
From a land controlled by
Aliens across the ocean with their
Oro y plata

Somos el liberalismo
Sending our crops
To strangers and
Bringing in the luxuries
Created by the roaring
That we cannot afford

El nacionalismo
Of a people tired of hating
And being hated for their history—
Ready to paint murales
A celebrar Kahlo y Rivera
A recordar los raíces

El populismo
Of a people who wanted a leader to listen
Of a leader who smiled
And promised
And changed nothing
Of Evita
Primera dama, pasionante,

Somos la industria
A movement to stop our dependency.
Developing our
Brown skies and gray earth
And destruction of our land
Filled with our gods
So they will stop destroying
Our nation
Filled with our people

Somos las víctimas
De la dictadura
We are the Mothers and Grandmothers
The Leftists
Noche de los Lápices
Students, unionists, “subversivos
We are the French nuns
We are the pregnant women screaming
From inside soccer stadiums.
And we are the Church,
Silent and stolid.

Somos el neoliberalismo
La desigualdad
In the palm of the IMF and
World Bank
Raped by foreign capital
Tearing down our own countries
With the same hands that so painstakingly
Protected our markets,
Handing the pieces
To Walmart
And Coca Cola

Somos la democracia de infancia
Picking up the pieces
The junta left behind:
Promising housing
Concertación with all
But leaving the people
Demobilized and
Unable to stand up to
The government they
Had elected

Somos la generación de jóvenes
Rising up to take our place
In remembering
And moving forward
Los líderes indígenas
Chewing coca leaves
And writing el espíritu
Into a new constitution
A nation of Aymara and

Somos la herencia
Of a democratic pendulum
Swinging back and forth
Colony to independence
Racial control to equal say
Democracia to dictadura
And back again
But we are on the upswing
Of Correa and Morales
Of constitutions and change
Of yelling to be heard
But finally getting a response

Somos el desarrollo
In fits and spurts
Throughout our existence:
Through racism and mining
Blancura y progreso
Eurocentrism to nationalism
Exports to industrialization
To free markets and
comparative advantage
To backlash against
Neoliberal inequality
To the pink tide
Engulfing us in efforts to
Finally change things

Vamos caminando
But we have far to go
Our neighborhoods
Run by cárteles de drogas
Our poblaciones
Empty of the promises
They made to our people
Of community centers
Parks and Laundromats

Todavía luchamos contra el racismo
City folk who spit at our
Presidente indígena
That take advantage
In the name of “development”
And a world that
Marginalizes us
As the secondary America
Vulnerable and ignorant

Vadeamos por
The mess left by privatization
La fuga de cerebros
The refuse of greedy corporations
Millones en la deuda externa
Still in the palms of
Foreign nations
Dangling our debt over our
Impoverished heads

Todavía luchamos
Luchamos siempre
For equality and recognition
For dignity and security
Forming collaboratives
Running hotels
Pushing for pride and
Communication and
Regional autonomy

Is a changing place
Still settling into its
Democratic stance
Trying on and throwing out
Different last names
Reconciling its pasts
And trying to fit them to
A future

Sabemos quiénes somos
And we remember the past
That has painstakingly
Constructed our identity
Brick by brick
Regime by regime
Paradigm by paradigm

Somos desiguales
But we are strong
And we are fighting
And inch by inch
We are moving forward