Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Playing Soccer With Evo Morales


Cochabamba, Bolivia.

When the crowds cheered and the band played on, the flags were waving. Fireworks sounded and surely around the world there must be have been a sense that it was a good day to be Indigenous.

Earlier, when the international press jumped on the chartered bus in Cochabamba, we weren’t quite sure where we were going. “Are we going to play soccer with Evo Morales?” We all read those e-mails very quickly. Most of us just remembered something in the e-mail about playing soccer with Bolivian President Evo Morales.

As we drove up the mountains, the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth and the city of Cochabamba gave way to the strikingly beautiful mountains. Time slowed and serenity joined us. When the bus stopped in Colomi, a few dozen international journalists and filmmakers heard the sounds of a band coming from the new gymnasium. We crawled under a barbed wire fence and ran up the hill.

There, Evo Morales was suited out in the number 10 jersey, vendors were selling ice cream and there was a sense that a member of their community had come home. When the game was over, tables were lined with fresh fish, fava beans, boiled corn, various potatoes and other delicious traditional foods of Bolivia. With the cheering, firecrackers and celebration, the press corps laughed, celebrated and carried home Bolivian flags.

Today, while others were examining the science of climate change, we watched another remedy for the overconsumption and waste of so-called developed countries. We ate delicious local food on clay plates that was served with love and honor. We joined in the celebration of a people, a people happy to cheer on their first Indian president.

Traveling down the mountain, I thought, that Martin Luther King must have been thinking of the mountains of Bolivia when he said, “I have been to the mountaintop and I’m not afraid to die.”

I also thought of all those journalists who have been writing me for encouragement. In recent years, I could offer none. There were no jobs, and perhaps no hope of any. But today there is a new reason to keep writing, even if you pay for it yourself. There is a new reason to keep telling the stories, keep telling the truth, even if no one hires you, even if no one publishes you.

The reason is this: Once in a lifetime we get to go watch Evo Morales play soccer in the mountains of Bolivia.

It is a good day to be a journalist, it is a good day to be alive.

BRENDA NORRELL has been a news reporter covering Indian country and Mexico for 27 years. She can be reached at



More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Tom Clifford
Duterte’s Gambit: the Philippines’s Pivot to China
Uri Avnery
The Peres Funeral Ruckus
Reyes Mata III
Scaling Camelot’s Walls: an Essay Regarding Donald Trump
Raouf Halaby
Away from the Fray: From Election Frenzy to an Interlude in Paradise
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
David Yearsley
Trump and Hitchcock in the Age of Conspiracies
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”