March 06, 2005

Where Will It End Up?

MABB is a registered TM.

The political situation in Bolivia is a roller coaster only apt for those looking for extreme excitement. It can change from relative peace to a popular movilization in a matter of days. The civic organizations, especially in Altiplano, are, by now, organized in an efficient system which allows for a massive response even at the whim of the leaders.

Hold on to your seats, we are about to go through a rough ride once again.

According to reports emanating from El Alto, the umbrella organization, FEJUVE (neighborhood federation), is radicalizing protests in El Alto. They have decided to launch an all-out attack by marching into the city of La Paz to close the Congress. They want to march into the city the same way they marched in October 2000 when they demanded the then president Sanchez de Lozada to quit his office. In the midst of their delirium, they think the FEJUVE together with El Alto, are the defenders of the Bolivian natural resources. They also say that the congress has not defended the natural resources and thus it deserves to be closed.

Their demands are:

  • Immediate departure of Aguas del Illimani

  • Nationalization of the Hydrocarbons

  • The responsibilities process against Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and his cabinet

  • The constituent assembly

  • The resignation of the current El Alto mayor and the Minister of Work

  • 100% water services for all altenos

  • Not to accept the recently approved tax system regulating commercialization of natural gas

The measures:

  • Hunger strike

  • General strike

  • Road blocks

  • Massive marches

  • Town Hall meeting on Monday 7

  • Stopping trucks transporting gasoline on their way to La Paz

As stated earlier, these people can do this because they have built an efficient system to coordinate among the many organizations representing different towns. First of all, every single town in el Altiplano is organized in entities, but mainly in neighborhood associations. The system is efficient because it has a vertical structure. It starts with the FEJUVE at the very top, then the regional organizations, down to the much smaller neighborhood organizations. Decentralization has added to this phenomenon because by giving power to the local authorities, these authorities can force every one in the community to participate in the protests. People have no other choice because if they don't, they'll either encounter problems in their bureaucratic paper work or in any dealing with the local government. Local governments are also politically allied with the central forces in El Alto, so they also have to obey orders. It works beautifully!

What I am asking now is if all these protests and demonstrations and arbitrary stances are not violating someone else's rights. Is this not illegal? Where will this end up?