September 08, 2006

Is the Rule of Law Slowly Braking Down?

MABB © ®

Following events in Bolivia only brings lots of questions to my mind. Perhaps is just the media effect. You know, the way the media writes its headlines. They have to be catchy, sensationalist, if possible. But, if one just concentrates on the facts, one cannot help but come up with questions. For example the questions I asked myself today morning: Is the rule of law slowly braking down in Bolivia?

Take for example these two news reports from Bnamericas and Reuters, respectively:

Fejuve prepares to take over Aisa - Bolivia
Published: Thursday, September 7, 2006 12:14 (GMT -0400)

Bolivian neighborhood pressure group Fejuve plans on forcibly taking over the Aguas del Illimani (Aisa) water utility for capital La Paz and neighboring city El Alto, a Fejuve official told BNamericas.

Fejuve has already put together the group that will carry out the takeover and is currently holding talks with La Paz and El Alto residents to gain further support, said the official, refusing to comment on specific dates, but insisting that the group has already identified the time line for these actions.

The official accused Bolivian water minister Abel Mamani of failing to put an end "to the utility's abuses," adding that Aisa has begun to fine users for unauthorized water connections. Mamani had promised the utility's exit by May this year, after accusing Aisa of failing to comply with its concession contract. But both Mamani and President Evo Morales later began negotiations with the company, seeking what they called a "peaceful exit."

(to continue reading click on the title)

Thu Sep 7, 2006 08:40 AM ET

By Eduardo Garcia
SUCRE, Bolivia (Reuters) - Bolivians sat down a month ago to rewrite their constitution, but disputes and infighting threaten to bog down President Evo Morales' plan to rebuild the country on indigenous principles.

Bolivia has the highest proportion of indigenous people of any South American country. Morales, a former coca farmer, took office in January as the country's first Indian president and vowed to end centuries of domination by a European-descended elite. One of his biggest election promises was to set up an elected national assembly charged with rewriting the constitution, which was widely viewed as helping institutionalize the bias in favor of the elites. The 255-seat chamber was inaugurated on August 6 -- the country's independence day -- but it already looks polarized.

(to continue reading click on the title)