August 27, 2005

Things Are Not Going Well For MAS

MABB © ®
Well, things are not going well for Evo and Garcia Linera. The ambitious project Garcia Linera wanted to push for by uniting the political left with all the social movements (specially in El Alto) never became reality.

Alvaro Garcia Linera, when asked by Evo if he would run for Vice-president at his side, answered he would, if and only if, all the social movements would ally in one colosus block. This project seemed very ambitious but if realized would have been a force to reckon with.

Well, the project has just crumpled. That is to say, the social movements were not able to bridge their differences and come to an accord. The results are that a half hearted effort to support the Garcia Linera/Evo formula has been agreed upon. Half hearted because from the two most important groups in El Alto, FEJUVE (Neighborhood Juntas Federation) and COR (Worker's Regional Union), only FEJUVE decided to continue supporting MAS. That is, if every thing goes as planned.

The members of COR decided, on its Friday's assembly, that they wanted to stay independent of political parties and therefore not officially support MAS in the next elections. I think this decision makes sense precisely because COR is a worker's union. Had they become involved with MAS, they would just be another political party. Would they be able to fight against the government without biting themselves on the tail? I don't think so.

As for the support of FEJUVE, it is conditioned to two things. First, in exchange for support, FEJUVE gets the four nominations for uninominal (directly elected deputies) deputies. And second, the president of FEJUVE, Abel Mamani, gets to run for the prefecture of La Paz under the MAS formula. However, this is not 100% secured. MAS, as FEJUVE, is composed of many smaller organizations, which are denominated bases or bases. These bases are questioning the deals MAS made with FEJUVE. They feel they also have to get some participants as candidates.

The thing gets more complicated when the gremiales (informal and formal small vendors) or the student unions are taken into account. El Alto is not an easy place to discern politically. There are too many interests and too many groups and too many differences among them to call them a cohesive group.

As a result, what I called the Garcia Linera project, has definitely disintegrated. Now it is up to MAS to keep this lefty "mass" together before more pieces start to fall apart. And I am not even mentioning the supposed gain on the middle-class voters Garcia Linera's candidacy was going to bring.

The big questions are: Will the Bolivian left be able to get its act together for December? Is there a Bolivian left, per se? Where are Izquierda Unida, Partido Cominista and Partido Socialista?

Prediction: There is one prediction I am voluteering to make in regards to the outcomes from all these alliances. ASSUMING, FEJUVE and other social movements alike, end up supporting MAS and also ASSUMING MAS, as is expected, gains seats in Congress, then I think it is reasonable to expect that the participating organizations will be quieter and will not engage in protests as much. That concretly means that if FEJUVE becomes part of the system by having leaders as congressmen, they will be less likely to stage as disrupting protests as they are accustomed to. In other words, they will become more or less irrelevant. Much like the once powerful CSUTCB (Only Peasant's Union of Bolivia).