September 05, 2006

Things Are Getting Ugly

MABB © ®

Things are getting ugly in Bolivia. The positions are radicalizing even more as time goes on and the parties try to impose their views. For starters, the government is not backing down after its highly questionable move to approve the internal regulations code with a voting session without following the rules (see prior post). The opposition now, made up of not only the assembly members in the opposition, but also the civic committees of Beni, Pando, Santa Cruz and Tarija, and members of parliament from the same departments, have decided to strike on Friday. This decision was taken at a meeting yesterday in Santa Cruz, and they issued a document calling for the government to stop trying to control power and, as they put it, to carry an auto-coup-de-etat a la Fujumori.

As if things are not bad enough, various groups such as one of the national worker's union, an indigenous organization from the Eastern region, the Coca grower's union and the famous El Alto neighborhood associations, have decided to play police and travel to Sucre to assure the security of the assembly members, as well as to watch them closely.

For its part, the government a week ago, asked the same groups to go to Sucre. However, in recent days, it changed its mind and asked them not to go to Sucre. In response to the demands of the oppositon, Morales has asked the civic committees to form their own political party.

The main message is that the Constitutional Assembly is in serious crisis. There are calls from the separatists in Santa Cruz (la nacion camba) to form a regional assembly. The people in the Andes, are so worried that they decided to go to Sucre to make sure the assembly continues its work. They have threatened the assembly members with community justice if they don't do what the "people" want. The assembly itself is having trouble meeting and doing its work.

I think if the government does not negotiate and perhaps reconsider its actions, the process might even brake down. It might even be a better idea to stop interfering with the assembly and let the members (MAS) do their job. Last week I read a report, in a newspaper which is very supportive of MAS, La Razon, that the parties in the assembly were close to an agreement on the voting procedure and the nature of the assembly. The MAS group, after having meet with the government, changed positions and hardened its line. They were not ready to compromise anymore. As for the opposition, to regionalize the trouble will only contribute to the deep polarization that already exists as climate in Sucre. The civics and the parliamentarians should also stay away. Let the assembly do its work!