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It all points out to Mr Mesa is going to be staying in power. It also looks like nobody, not even all powerful Evo, will call his bluff.
I have a feeling that after all is said and done, people will be talking about the "brilliant" move Mr Mesa pulled on his two nemesis to gain some leverage and thus be able to continue governing.
But, let's not get ahead of ourselves and think this through. Today, Tuesday 8, 2005, will undoubtly go as a day to remember in the history of Bolivia. The congress (Deputy and Senate chambers) will consider Mr Mesa's resignation letter.
They will have to then decide whether they accept or reject the resignation in the name of the people of Bolivia. That's a heavy burden for any congress, if you ask me. What happens next has been already said. If congress accepts the letter, they will have to elect another president. The next in-line is the Senate Ppresident, Mr Hormando Vaca Diez. But, this is an already troubled choice. Mr Vaca Diez has very little support in congress and he has already been singled-out by Evo and his party as a potential enemy. You see, Mr. Vaca Diez comes from Santa Cruz and belongs to the Movement for the Revolutionary Left party. This alone makes him an enemy of Evo and the "movement". The same reasoning goes for the third person in the line of succession who is Mr Cossio (MNR, born in Tarija), the president of the Deputies Chamber.
But, this considerations are a little bit out of place. Right after Mr Mesa sent his letter to congress, the leaders of all the factions started to talk together. On Monday, they met and according to news reports, the buzz was that the first thing they agreed on was that Mr Mesa should finish his term. I even read that after the meeting, Evo concurred that Mesa should finish his term. However, and this is why I think this move is intelligent, Mr Mesa is using his leverage good and asking for a compromise to let him govern in peace. It was said that representatives from congress and the government (mainly Mr Galindo, Minister of Government) were negotiating a "pact" to stop the preassure against the government, stop making intransigent demands and work to pass a sensible Hydrocarbons Law. In Mesa's words, "one that can be accepted by the international community".
At the same time, the rumors about a coup d'etat started circulating. Because you know, after all this is Bolivia we are talking about, right? NO. As a sign to shut up all those sceptics, the military brass (Air Force, Navy (yes Navy, you read right) and Army) issued a communique calling the citizens of Bolivia to remain calm and assure their intent to remain under the command of the president and to respect the constitution.
So, come Tuesday, and it looks like the negotiations are well on their way and every indications has been given that Mesa will remain in power and will get, at least some kind of pact to continue to be able to govern. This is a lot, in this case. Just to think it could have gone all wrong.
However, I think he shoudn't expect much. Yes, it very well may be, that Evo calls off his general strike and enters in some kind of deal. And let's suppose that Mamani and his FEJUVE also, somehow come to their senses and call off their strike. Chances are, judging by history, this "honey moon" period would not last long. What these two (Evo and Mamani) want is to see results right now. They do not consider how easy it is to attain those demands, they are just in the business of demanding in the "name fo the people". Of course, as of today, Mamani, who is gone into hiding because of death threats, wants to continue with the protests. They want Aguas del Illimani out of El Alto and out of Bolivia, RIGHT NOW!