Within one twenty-four hour period four different men occupied the presidential palace, declared themselves president, and setup a cabinet. I know this dates me, but it’s no wonder Bolivia was know as the “long play republic,” thirty-three revolutions per minute. (For you kids, a full size vinyl record, known as a long play album, made thirty-three and one third turns on the turntable every minute–long play republic; thirty-three revolutions per minute.) The bloodiest of the revolutions was probably the agrarian reforms one in 1952 six years before my birth, but repeatedly during the time we were Bolivia we witnessed changes in government or attempted changes in government that could be classified as revolutions. The one where the nation had four men declare themselves president (though not elected) happened shortly before our final return to the US in 1972.
It may seem crazy, but we would stand at an open window facing the center of the city where there was a hill strategically occupied by those who fought against the military. With binoculars we would watch the untrained country rebels running back and forth in and out of cover on top of the hill as the soldiers in a barracks below fired upon them. We worried a little bit when an errant bullet sent up a puff of dirt as it hit the two story building in the lot next to ours. A junior high friend of mine watched the same battle from the attic of a house closer to the barracks. He stood on the attic floor and lifting a tile on the roof peered out at the same hill. He quit watching when a bullet ricochetted off the same roof just a few feet from his view hole.
Bolivia has “stabilized” quiet a bit since the 1960’s and 70’s, but we still occasionally see news of unrest and rebellion against this or that government. It is so also with history around the world. Governments rise and fall. Empirers are built and crumble. There may be trends we can follow historically to get some inkling of what is to follow, but there is one truth we can know for sure. The end will come. When the end does come it will be because our Lord Jesus will deliver ‘the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.’ What a glorious day that will be when Christ will make us who have received Him, who have believed Him, alive. May we not be caught being just spectators.