January 25, 2005

Would Anybody Like to be in Mesa's Shoes?

MABB is a registered TM.

Would anybody like to be in Mesa's shoes for just five minutes? Wow, it must be very hot under that collar.

Mr Mesa, not only has to deal with the possible unilateral pronunciation of a new government for Santa Cruz, but there is also the possibility of a confrontation between groups in Unduavi, Yungas.

Talking about tight spots, President Mesa is and has been in one, since a long time. The Santa Cruz problem does not seem to go away. Instead it seems to get bigger and bigger. This Friday, the comite civico de Santa Cruz called for a town hall meeting, where it's supposed to appoint a new regional government for Santa Cruz. I guess I don't need to highlight that this is bad news for Mesa, right?

However, negotiations, conversations, meetings, etc., still go on, trying to de-escalate the conflict. Although, Mesa has gain much strength, due to the secession fears. Several of his former "contenders" (FEJUVE, for example), publicly stated they support his presidency and the Bolivian democratic process. I can't tell you how much of a relief it is to hear this. For a minute there I thought these "social movements" had something against democracy.

While the Santa Cruz problems boils to the point of evaporation, Mesa has another problem to take care of. As if he did not have enough with this one. It turns out that the coca growers in the Yungas region, started a road blockade to stop the government building a military base to control the production of coca, under the drug and coca control program backed by the US government. Everything was normal. The coca growers were blocking the roads (the only way to get to Yungas) and the government was trying to negotiate a solution.

The problem worsened when the inhabitants of the towns, which were inaccessible due to the road blocks, got tired of waiting and decided to do something about it, with any means necessary. Now, they have threatened to lift the blockades with force and have given a dead line.

If the government does not solve this problem fast, it is highly probable this will end in blood shed.

Stay tuned to see what happens next.