November 10, 2005

MAS and Podemos: Their Proposals

MABB © ®
Here is a rough translation of an article including the interviews La Razon made to the two vice-president candidates from MAS and Podemos. It sheds some more light on what'll it mean if Evo or Tuto become the next president of Bolivia.

On natural gas exports to Chile

MAS says it plans to concentrate on regional markets. That is, selling natural gas reserves to Paraguay and Uruguay and expanding sales to Argentina and Brazil. Also, MAS will continue with the policy of "gas for sea access" when dealing with Chile. That means, only when Bolivia has a sovereign access to the sea through its former territory will the government sell natural gas to Chile and become part of a regional energy integration strategy.

Podemos says it will also follow the "gas for sea access" policy against Chile. If there is no sovereign sea access for Bolivia, a Podemos government will not talk of diplomatic relations with Chile.

The Coca leaf issue

MAS proposes no free cultivation of Coca. It wants to make a study of how much Coca is needed to supply internal traditional use. That study will determine how many hectars will be allowed to be cultivated. At the same time they plan to engage in a crop substitution strategy to deal with the other farmers. MAS also wants to push for the legalization of the Coca leaf worldwide.

Podemos will basically continue with the current policy of 12 thousand hectars allowed to be legally cultivated.

The Blockades issue

The blockades which are the source of instability are the result of social dissatisfaction. MAS intends to deal with this problem by attending to the demands. They plan to make sure there is equality on the distribution of resources, equality between peoples and cultures and employment generation. Alvaro Garcia adds three issues MAS will carefully observe: a new economic model, inclusion of the indigenous population in the decision-making process and deepening of the decentralization process.

Podemos plans to penalize certain actions which interfere in the liberties and rights of the citizens. Additonally, they also propose attention to the demands, a new economic model focused on poverty alleviation and to increase citizen inclusion.

The regional issue

MAS will make it a priority to attend and include all the demands of all the regions and all the social and civic movements.

Podemos, through a two year exercize of conversations with people from all regions, developed a government plan which includes all the most important demands.

(neither party states what those demands are)

The territory or land issue

MAS plans to work on land redistribution. It will confiscate unproductive land (big farms) and will redistribute it to the people who don't have any land. In a MAS government there is no place for huge farms nor for illegal settlements. MAS will continue with the INRA law (current law in charge of land redistribution) and will guarantee social and productive private property.

Podemos plans to also confiscate unproductive land according to the social and economic function of the agent. INRA also plays an important role in applying this policy.

USA or Venezuela

MAS guarantees absolute and total independence of decision making. Good relations with all nations, including USA.

Podemos also guarentees independence and good relations with all nations of the world. Additionally, Podemos would work to provide more support for expats.

The Goni process

MAS will work to bring Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada to justice for the deaths during the October 2003 disturbances. A MAS government would carefully observe the work of the Judicial branch. MAS will also rely on the social movements to observe the Judicial branch.

Podemos plans not to intervene in the judicial process. In essence, it would leave the Judicial branch to carry its work without givernment interference.

The power distribution issue

MAS plans to fill its bureaucratic ranks through merit and tests. There will not be distribution of official posts based on politics. No clientilism.

Podemos proposes the second round elections or respect to the first majority to prevent the distribution of political posts at the time of alliances in parliament. This would prevent that alliances would redistribute embassies and ministries, among other posts. Internally, Podemos will tap into its alliance members to fill posts.