June 09, 2005

Bolivia Decides in Sucre

MABB © ®

As life in Bolivia gets strangled day by day, the power struggle will continue in Sucre and the intransigence of the social movements is raised yet another level.

To begin this posts I must say that the current state of the crisis is one of agonizing wait. As a result of Mesa's resignation, Congress has to meet to consider his resignation and if accepted, it would have to vote his successor.

By now, it is already known that the entire Congress has decided to accept Mesa's resignation and to pick a successor. For this historic meeting, the current president of the legislative body and next in line for office, Hormando Vaca Diez, has decided to hold the meeting in the historic building of La Casa de la Libertad (Liberty House) in Bolivia's judicial capital, Sucre. This decision was taken because there were not enough guaratees from the protestors for Congress to meet in La Paz.

The issue at stake is who will succeed Mesa. According to the constitution, the presidential succession line is, firtst the President of the Senate (Hormando Vaca Diez), the second in line is the President of the Chamber of Deputies (Mario Cossio) and the third in line is the President of the Supreme Court (Eduardo Rodriguez). In the photo, from left Cossio, Vaca Diez, Mesa, Rodriguez.

The session promises to be a show down of powers between the main stream political parites (MNR, MIR, ADN, NFR, UCS) and the new political instruments of the social movements, MAS and MIP. According to reports, the major parties, MNR, MIR and ADN, have opted for following the constitution and elect Vaca Diez to the presidency. However, Evo and his party, MAS, have said this presents a serious problem for the social movements and that they reject this decision. Since they associate Vaca Diez as well as Cossio with the coalition members during the Sanchez de Lozada government and with the interests of the business people in Santa Cruz and thus of the multinational energy companies, these two possibilities would not be acceptable for them. The only possible and acceptable candidate is the President of the Supreme Court, Eduardo Rodriguez.

In the case Rodriguez is voted into office by Congress, according to the constitution (as if it matters much anyhow), he would have to call for elections within six months. Moreover, according to some analysts, this would open wide the possibility for Evo Morales to be the next President of Bolivia.

Here is a brief table with profiles of the would be candidates.

Hormando Vaca Díez

Presidente del Senado

Former Executive Secretary of the Santa Cruz Press Union.
President of Pro Santa Cruz Committee (1970-71).
Deputy representing MIR in Congress (
1989-93, 1993-97 y 1997-2002).

President of the Santa Cruz faction in Congress.
President of the Camber of Deputies
First Vice-President of the Senate

Member of a government commission on defense, police and drug trafficking.

Mario Cossío

Pdte. Cámara de Diputados

Lawyer and miltant of MNR.
Member of the commision in charge of writing the decentralization process in Bolivia.

President of the Tarija Civic Committee.

President of the Tarija Municipal Council.

Founder and first President of the Latin American Cities Federation.

Responsible of the Mercociudades in Bolivia Network.

Eduardo Rodríguez Velsé

Pdte. Corte Suprema de Justicia


Former executive of the Contraloria General de la Republica (government body in charge of controling the government's finances)

Evo and his allies have vowed to fight in Congress so neither Vaca Diez nor Cossio are elected president. Additionally, they have decided to continue protesting to put pressure on Congress. Many leaders of the social movements have expressed their intent on going to Sucre to protests. They have also announce the "radicalization" of the protests.

Meanwhile, in La Paz, confrontation continues. Now, it seems the confrontations are spreading throughout the country. In Santa Cruz, members of the UCJ have used force to try to unblock roads. There seems to be many small groups around the country rising against the blockades. Many of these people are just tired of being incommunicated and perhaps hungry, because their supplies must be running low.

In La Paz, the mayor, called for a brake because aside from fuel and gas to cook shortages, food supplies are almost inexistent. It is almost a desperate situation for the citizens of La Paz.