July 2nd, 2014
04:33 PM ET

Why Bolivia reversed its clock

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Take a look at the picture in the video of the Bolivian congress. Does something look amiss?

Look closely and you'll see the numbers on the clock are reversed...on purpose. You see, modern day clocks reflect the way that a sundial's shadow travels in the northern hemisphere. This clock was reversed to reflect Bolivia's position in the southern hemisphere. The foreign minister said that this "clock of the south" was installed so that Bolivians would embrace creativity and question the status quo.

A symbolic change like this isn't unique to Bolivia of course. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez changed his country's 200 year old flag by adding an 8th star in tribute to Simon Bolivar. He changed the direction the horse in the coat of arms faces from right to left, declaring that the horse had been "freed." (Critics at the time pointed out it was costly to "free" the horse from passports, currency and other government documents.) In Africa, Malawi's former president changed the flag's rising sun to a sun that had fully risen. He wanted the flag to imply Malawi wasn't developing, it had developed.

These may be clear symbols, but what doesn’t seem clear to these leaders – you can change a horse's direction, a sun's position, a date on the calendar or even what clockwise means – but your country's successes will still be based on the substance of your policies, not the style of your symbols.

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Topics: Last Look

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Richard M

    Socialist fools.

    July 3, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
  2. rick

    Interesting view.. Since NAZI germany was chocked full of "symbolisim". And Hitler used that tactic to great lenghts. He changed the german flag to the swastika. "ruinic" symbols on uniforms. Pagan rituals in indoctrination of the masses. Lest we forget the bloody outcome of his views and others in his like mind. Simmilar?? Unknown at this time. But watch closely. History has a bad habbit of repeating itself. SSDD.. Same stuff... Different dictator..

    July 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
    • RussianChinese

      Your comparing bolivia to nazi germany? are you dumb? sorry I already know the answer to that. you are dumb. The US is FULL of symbolism. on money, flags, architecture, washington's layout. Idiot.

      July 5, 2014 at 10:34 am |
  3. Nathanael

    Brilliantly fun move by Morales. Now that we all use digital clocks anyway, why not make the few remaining analog clocks go the same direction as the sundials go.

    July 4, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • James Coghlan


      July 7, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
  4. Ted Ward

    Just a leftist stunt to confuse, distract and misdirect the people's attention from the wasteful incompetence and corruption of the current Bolivian ruling status quo.

    July 5, 2014 at 8:38 pm |
  5. Bill Simpson

    Their globe should have the South Pole on the top too. I had a beautiful National Geographic 16 inch one that you could flip over if you wanted to. But the print would be upside down. Hurricane Katrina got it, and they quit making them. I'm one of the few people with enough money to buy things that they quit making before I can buy them.

    July 6, 2014 at 1:25 am |
  6. chri§§y

    Gloating is not an endereing quality @ Bill Simpson.

    July 7, 2014 at 9:50 am |
  7. andreas

    Quite the novelty:

    Bavarians had this quite a while ago


    July 10, 2014 at 11:37 am |

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