June 03, 2004

The end of El Mallku?

MABB is a registered TM.

El Mallku Felipe Quispe (a.k.a. El Mallku) has abruptly quit from his parliamentary post in the Chamber of Deputies. He charges this chamber with not working in the interest of Bolivians, in particular the indigenous people he represents.

However, he will still postulate for the highest post of the CSUTCB (workers confederation), of which he is still the leader. The CSUTB is a powerful organization giving Quispe a broad base of supporters. He also plans to continue as leader of his political party MIP (Indigenous Movement Pachakuti).

Is this move ideologically or politically motivated?

It seems to be a little bit of both. In an interview Quispe argues, he quit because his integrity was being called in question. Many of his supporters questioned his earnings as deputy and some even questioned his commitment to their cause. He also argues that congress favors the rich and the US, by passing laws which benefit both. He further referred to the US immunity law passed by the Senate last February. This law is now being discussed in the Chamber of Deputies.

On the other hand, deputies on his own party, have denounced Quispe as a collaborator of Sanchez de Lozada and of a lackluster performance in congress.

But the Quispe saga is not yet finished. According to the CNE (Electoral Court) Quispe needs to file more papers to make his decision official. He has not yet officially quit. He needs to comply with regulations dictating the process by which he leaves the chamber and relays his duties as Deputy to his substitute.

Once Quispe leaves public life, it remains to be seen if he will stay as leader of CSUTCB or, as he says, go back to work the land and fight for his political base.