January 14, 2005

Bolivian Political Crisis: Round Two

MABB is a registered TM.

To the relief of president Mesa, FEJUVE and its member organizations in El Alto called a recess to their general strike, which achieved the expulsion of the water services company, Aguas del Illimani. An 18 point list conditions the recess, calling for, among other things, the industrialization of the gas reserves, the nationalization of the natural reserves, fight against corruption and better life conditions in El Alto, the 20 provinces and the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, in Santa Cruz the Asamblea de la Crucenidad, surprisingly, decided to give president Mesa time until midnight, Monday 17. Their main demand is the annulment of the decree ending gas and diesel subsidies. If the government does not attend this demand, new movilizations, marches, vigils and cacerolazos (marches with pots) will follow and they will also move ahead with the autonomy demand, by carrying on a referendum about autonomy next April 10. In the mean time, various leaders of the neighborhood associations have started a hunger strike.

The government is desperately trying to negotiate a way out, but to no avail. Government officials, in the name of Mesa, repeated the administration will not repeal the gazolinazo (end of gas and diesel subsidies), but instead they offered negotiations with an agenda to talk about autonomy, economic reactivation, social issues and land property rights.

The end result is as follows:

The government is still in deep ..............waters!
The cruceno movement won't talk until the government reinstates the subsidies.
And, El Alto, well, El Alto is just celebrating its victory over Aguas del Illimani.