October 29, 2006

A New Way to Search

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Once in a while, when I find something interesting or amusing in the net, I like to pass it along to my readers. This time it is something very amusing. At least, I think so. It's a new way to do searches that, if I have the right info, was conceptualized by Microsoft, in its efforts to win some space for its own search engine. Please, check it out and come back to MABB to tell us your reactions. We'll be waiting!

October 25, 2006

Morales May Confirm His "Toy" Status

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Very fresh developments, because Venezuela (Chavez and Co.) cannot gain 2/3 support for its candidacy to the UN Security Council this year, Chavez has proposed Evo Morales to take Venezuela's place in the elections.

According to the governmental news agency, Morales talked to Chavez who told him he will propose Bolivia as replacement candidate for the UN Security Council seat.

“Anoche me llamó el embajador, primero, y segundo el comandante Chávez y me dice que como no ha podido Venezuela conseguir dos tercios para el Consejo de Seguridad y el compañero Hugo Chávez dice que para buscar consenso él deja la candidatura a Bolivia”

Bolivia says it may be a U.N. candidate
AP via Yahoo! News Tue, 24 Oct 2006 7:30 PM PDT
Bolivia's president said Tuesday that his country could emerge as an alternative candidate for a seat on the U.N. Security Council to break the deadlock between Venezuela and U.S.-backed Guatemala.

Venezuela ponders passing Security Council bid to Bolivia
CNN.com Tue, 24 Oct 2006 6:35 PM PDT
The president of Bolivia announced that his country may have a chance at obtaining a much coveted spot on the U.N. Security Council, the body within the United Nations charged with maintaining global peace and security.

Guatemala says won't make way for Bolivia in U.N. bid
Reuters via Yahoo! News Tue, 24 Oct 2006 6:27 PM PDT
Guatemala, locked in a struggle with Venezuela for a seat on the U.N. Security Council, said on Tuesday it would not back down to make way for Bolivia as a possible compromise candidate.

Venezuela to give up UN candidacy for Bolivia: Morales
AFP via Yahoo! News Tue, 24 Oct 2006 4:49 PM PDT
Venezuela has agreed to drop out of the hotly contested race for Latin America's open seat on the UN Security Council and asked Bolivia to run in its place, Bolivia's president said.

Chavez asks Bolivia to run for U.N. seat
The Washington Times Tue, 24 Oct 2006 9:55 PM PDT
From combined dispatches LA PAZ, Bolivia -- As the U.N. General Assembly prepared to resume voting to fill a two-year-term open Security Council seat, Bolivian leftist President Evo Morales announced that his ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, has agreed to drop out of the hotly contested race with Guatemala for the seat and has asked Bolivia to run in its place, "Comrade Chavez says that to

Bolivia President:Would Be Backed By Venezuela President In UN Bid
Nasdaq Tue, 24 Oct 2006 4:41 PM PDT
CARACAS (AP)--Bolivia's president said Tuesday that Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez would throw his support behind the Andean country if Venezuela is unable to win enough votes to defeat U.S.-backed Guatemala for a seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Venezuela to give up UN candidacy for Bolivia: Morales
New Kerala Tue, 24 Oct 2006 10:42 PM PDT
La Paz (Bolivia), Oct 25: Venezuela has agreed to drop out of the hotly contested race for Latin America's open seat on the UN Security Council and asked Bolivia to run in its place, Bolivia's president has said.

Chavez supports Bolivia in seeking UN Security Council seat: Bolivian president
People's Daily Tue, 24 Oct 2006 6:58 PM PDT
Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Tuesday that his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez had agreed to support Bolivia in the race for the non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, according to reports from the Bolivian capital La Paz.

Venezuela to give up UN candidacy for Bolivia: Morales
Channel NewsAsia Tue, 24 Oct 2006 3:30 PM PDT
LA PAZ : Venezuela has agreed to drop out of the hotly contested race for Latin America's open seat on the UN Security Council and asked Bolivia to run in its place, Bolivia's president said on Tuesday.

My question is, will Bolivia confirm its status as Chavez's "toy" by going along with this proposal or will it take this opportunity to increase Bolivia's international status?

A synical view would be to expect that, one, Chavez hasn't thought of this because he has the interest of Bolivia in mind. Presumably, he has an agenda and he has seen this move as another way to realize it. Not in the interest of Bolivia, but in his own interest. And two, he can chose to play the "solidarity" role and do everything Chavez wants him to do. In a way, representing Chavez in the seat. The alternative would be to
go the independent way, and use this opportunity to further the interests of Bolivia and the region.

October 17, 2006

Bolivia's Scorecard: The Millennium Challenge

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The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an initiative from the Bush administration to provide "development assistance to those poor countries that rule justly, invest in their people, and encourage economic freedom." Since 2004, "the Millennium Challenge Corporation was established on January 23, 2004 to administer the MCA. Congress provided nearly $1 billion in initial funding for FY04 and $1.5 billion for FY05. The President requested $3 billion for FY06 and pledged to increase annual funding for the MCA to $5 billion in the future".

Each country has a Millennium Challenge Account to which it can reach if it qualifies to be evaluated and if it meets the "challenge" or, in other words, has the right scores. Bolivia has been participating in this programm since its inception. The graph below is the scorecard for Bolivia to be considered for the FY 2007. It comes from the performance scorecards report that the MCC released on their website.

Basically, each square box has to be read from top to bottom and the most important thing is the colored band. If the band is red, it means that the country has a failing score. And, if the band is green, it means the country has a passing score. Bolivia's scores don't look that bad, eventhough it has four failing scores in as many areas: Inmunization rates, costs of starting a business, days to start a business, and fiscal policy. In each criteria, Bolivia, fails to be above the median line (the black horizontal line). However, the trends in the four areas (the red dots) look encouraging. They all look like they are improving towards 2006 and the future.

The picture looks even more encouraging if we compare the above graph with that of Paraguay, the other Latin American country (along with Honduras and Nicaragua) sharing the honors in the low income country category.

The way it looks, Paraguay has still a long way to go. According to the scorecard, it has six failing scores in the areas of control of corruption, rule of law, primary education expenditure, regulatory quality, costs of starting a business, and days to start a business.

To me it is interesting to note that Bolivia has good scores in government effectiveness and rule of law. In these two categories, it just moves beyond the median. Moreover, it seems that the most gains have been in education, specially in girl's education.

You can find more information in the program and Bolivia's participation in the program on the Bolivia section of the MCC website and on the MCC Bolivia website.

October 10, 2006

Bolivia Celebrates 24 Years of Democracy on the Back of Rumors of a Coup d'Etat

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Almost every newspaper in Bolivia has at least one article, opinion or editorial celebrating the 24 years that Bolivia has enjoyed the privileges, rights and responsibilities of living in democracy. Not an easy feat in a country like Bolivia. On October 10th in 1982, Hernan Siles Suazo was sworn into office two years after being deposed by a coup d'etat perpetrated by Genral Garcia Meza. The nice picture you are looking at on the left (although in no apparent order) is how the online newspaper from Santa Cruz, El Mundo, celebrates this day. This graph comes together with an article (es) which takes us back in history to remember some important events and some important people. At the bottom of the article there is a chronological listing of important facts.

Other newspapers with articles about this important date are Los Tiempos (es), La Razon (es), El Diario (es), El Deber, which says that Democracy matures slowly (es), and Correo del Sur (Sucre) (es). La Razon, in his editorial, gives Bolivians a stern reminder of the tumultous road to democracy, and compells all Bolivians not to forget this and to work for a better and more democratic Bolivia. From the side of the government, the Bolivian Information Agency (ABI) (es), highlights the current government's leadership in bringing the "neoliberal system" down, put in place by earlier governments, and its efforts to bring about change.

However, and in an ironic note, this celebration comes on the back of rumors that on Wednesday, October 11 (tomorrow), there will be a coup d'etat in Bolivia. This rumor was started by (according to my research) German Sociologist and professor in the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana de Mexico City, Heinz Dieterich (here is all the info I found in the university's website). Aside from teaching in Mexico, he is a contributor of online publications, rebelion and axis of logic. He is also advisor to Hugo Chavez. On October 7, he wrote this article and published it in rebelion.com. The article was picked up and published in El Mundo, along with what seems to be a photo of Dieterich. It was then picked up by none other than the International Herald Tribune which quoted the article in an article of its own. So, I would probably not have made much from it, but I heard at least one prominent MAS Senator, Gaston Cornejo, mention a message sent by Dieterich himself, warning of the coup and citing various sources, which were just re-prints of his own article. Cornejo sounded alarmed and here is the message he sent to all the members of a list-serv.

Cochabamba, octubre de 2006

El día de hoy lunes, recibimos un mensaje urgente del amigo
sociólogo, escritor y político alemán de renombre mundial Heins
Dieterich fechado el 7 de octubre sobre un posible golpe de Estado
el día miércoles, pasado mañana.
Si se tratara de otro autor, nos reiríamos pero se trata de Heins
Dieterich y su voz no puede ser desoída. Invitamos a todos quienes
reciban este informe ingresar a su correo:
Heinz Dieterich
To: gaston@comunica.gov.bo
Sent: Sunday, October 08, 2006 3:45 AM
Salió hoy en las páginas www.aporrea.org , argenpress.info, hoy en
la noche en www.rebelion.org, mañana en el diario venezolano VEA y
en múltiples otros medios. Indicar estos medios como fuente.
El primer golpe de Estado contra Evo Morales
está previsto para este miércoles, 11 de octubre
"Fuentes confiables del alto gobierno boliviano, que
pidieron el anonimato, revelaron que el primer intento de golpe de
Estado contra Evo Morales está planeado para este miércoles, 11 de
octubre. El uso de francotiradores en la matanza de Huanuni, que
causaron siete muertos, indica la participación de los golpistas en
los disturbios mineros. Militares chilenos estarían involucrados en
la conspiración"

Hasta la Iglesia Católica, esta mañana por boca del Cardenal
Terrazas, culpa de todos los males al gobierno de Evo Morales. Qué
decir de quienes concentraron el día jueves parando en asueto ilegal
a colegios, universidades, sistema bancario, SENASIR, cooperativismo
y otros.

As you can see, Cornejo sees his (and the government's) "fears" confirmed by reports such as these. We know that Chavez often cites "confidential sources", secret reports and who knows what else to substantiate his allegations that the US government is supporting and/or planning, not just a coup aginst his regime, but also one against Morales' government.

So, will there be a coup d'etat tomorrow? I would venture to say NOT! These are just malign rumors, which do nothing more than to add to the already poisoned enviornment in Bolivia. In this so special day, I wish Bolivia 100 more years in democracy.

October 09, 2006

The Political Evolution of MAS and Evo

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Our friends in La Razon have published an interesting graph (click on image). It shows the political evolution of MAS and Evo Morales. Albeit, it is in a short frame of time, but illustrative nonetheless.

The most striking element is how sharp Morales' popularity has fallen, from 79% in February to 52% in September. Another striking thing is the support gain from 2002 (this year MAS participated in a national election for the first time) to 2005. It is remarkable how MAS gained supporters in these three years. There is only one explanation, I think, and that is, the collapse of the multiparty political system in two opposite sides. What a difference three years make. Another thing that I find remarkable is the X shape of the bars in the middle. These bars show the result from the autonomic referendum. It is funny to see that as you move from South-West to North-East, the support for autonomy falls and vice versa.

October 06, 2006

A Picture of the Bolivian Voter: Part II

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In January this year I posted a small article on the Bolivian voter aimed at shedding some light on his and her characteristic preferences. This time around I want to continue with this effort in part two and take a look at the last two elections in 2005 and 2006.

Nine months into Morales' presidency, and three months into the new Constitutional Assembly's work, we have a dramatic picture of the average voter. The graphic on the left depicts the electoral geography emerging from the last national electoral exercise and sheds light on the characteristics in the Bolivian electoral landscape. As you can very well see, the graph is divided in roughly two colors, blue and red. The blue part represents the western region of El Altiplano and the support for Evo Morales and MAS. The red part covers the Eastern part of the country whre the opposition is entrenched, led by Tuto Quiroga's Podemos. This is the picture that emerged from the December 2005 general election results. (more here) The results were an overwhelming and hystorical win for Morales and his party with 54% of the votes.

The results of this win represented around 90% renewal in Congress and the government. In congress there were left only 17 congressmen who were part of the prior legislature. This meant renewal, as well as, less experience in Congress and government. Because the majority of the elected officials did not have a prior political career, the overall experience in conducting the business of the country would be limited (in some cases seriously limited). But, the most obvious outcome visible from the graph on the left is that Bolivia emerged polarized from this elections. There are two regions in conflict, the West, with MAS and Morales, in charge of the central government and with a vision of how Bolivia should go forward. Although, this vision is only known to the insiders, as of yet. The East, with its own vision about Bolivia, its autonomous aspirations and progressive ideals, led by civic activists in the city of Santa Cruz and allied with the main opposition party, Podemos.

In the June 2006 Constituent Assembly and Autonomic Referendum elections, again, it could be observed the division along geographical regions of Bolivia. The CNE recently published the official results of the June 2006 elections. In it we find three graphs which confirm what has happened to the electorate in general in Bolivia. The graphs below show the results of the elections for Constituent Assembly members per municipality and territory.

In essence, we can see that the people from the West (the mountain region) and some people in the East have voted for MAS, thus giving this party the majority, albeit not absolute, in the assembly. From the graph we can see that Tarija, a department always aligned with the opposition, is in its territorial entirety blue, with a notable exception of the urban center. We can further see that large regions of the Eastern departments, such as Santa Cruz, are blue. This is a result surely not expected if one relies only on the media to follow the problem. The media tends to depict the department of Santa Cruz as the opposition, while it is clear from this graph that the picture is much more complex. In fact, looking at this graph, it would seem that the opposition lost support from 2005. The red region seems to be smaller and more concentrated to the East. These graphs stand in contrast with the graph from the elections in 2005.

However, if we take a look at another graph from the report, we can see that the support for autonomy is larger than the support for political parties. On the issue of autonomy, we go back, and fit almost perfectly, to the 2005 election results above. In this graph the green part shows the support for autonomy and the yellow shows the voters who do not support regional autonomy. I think the difference is that the rural inhabitants in the South of Santa Cruz department and large parts of rural Tarija and Sucre want autonomy because they see it as a solution to the marginalization they had to put up with since the central government is in La Paz. With autonomy, they would have more to say about their own place of living. However, this does not mean that they do not support MAS. Instead, I think they are MAS supporters but they do not brake their relations with the opposition because through it they could also win.

In summary, the Bolivian voter seems to support Evo Morales and his party, as shown in 2005 with the 54% result. However, there are issues in which he or she is not in line with Morales. So, this support is not blind, but rather issue driven. Also, it is evident that the Bolivian electorate is geographically and politically split along a West-East line. The reasons for this split are the different visions on how Bolivia should look like after the new constitution is written. Additionally, the issue of economic incentives from the natural resources is a powerful one. It should have a large influence on the decisions made in the assembly process. The challenge remains for the political parties to try to gain as much support as possible.

Deadly Clash Between Miners in Huanuni (in Altiplano)

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It seems that there is a small war going on up in the Andes. According to news reports, on Thursday there was a serious confrontation among two groups of mine-workers. The result of this confrontation is 12 dead and 57 wounded. The bulk of the injured came after a miner threw a stick of dynamite in to the buildings where the mining company kept its explosives. (graphic from La Razon)

The confrontation was between two groups of miners. One group is known as asalariados (salaried), and are the employees of the mining company operating there. The second group is known as cooperativistas (cooperativists), and these are basically freelancer miners who work on their own, but organized in cooperatives. The conflict was apparently due to the news the cooperativistas got from the government which said the mine's (Huanuni mine) shares would not be transferred to the cooperatives. This triggered a reaction, which ended up in bloodshed. See images here.

If you want to get an idea of what cooperativistas are, I can suggest you to watch the "Devil's Miner". (see my post about the film)

See below some news links:

Nine dead, 60 injured in Bolivia mining clash
Reuters via Yahoo! News Thu, 05 Oct 2006 6:56 PM PDT
At least nine people died and 60 were wounded on Thursday as miners fighting for control of tin mines, including one of the world's biggest, battled each other with dynamite in western Bolivia.

Eight dead in Bolivia mining clash
Reuters via Yahoo! News Thu, 05 Oct 2006 1:41 PM PDT
The death toll rose to eight in fighting between state-paid and independent miners over who has the right to work in tin mines in western Bolivia, a government official said on Thursday.

Mine clashes kill nine in Bolivia
BBC News Thu, 05 Oct 2006 6:10 PM PDT
Clashes between state-employed and independent miners leave at least nine dead at Bolivia's largest tin mine.

Mine clashes kill 12 in Bolivia
BBC News Thu, 05 Oct 2006 6:12 PM PDT
Clashes between state-employed and independent miners leave 12 dead at Bolivia's largest tin mine.

9 Dead, 40 Hurt in Clash at Bolivia Mine
Los Angeles Times Thu, 05 Oct 2006 6:49 PM PDT
LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Two rival mine groups fought Thursday with guns and dynamite over access to one of South America's richest tin mines, leaving nine dead and at least 40 injured, the country's vice president said.

LatAm Hails Bolivia Evo Morales Victory (and more...)
From the Wilderness Publications Thu, 05 Oct 2006 3:35 AM PDT
December 21, 2005 LatAm Hails Bolivia Evo Morales' Victory - by Prensa Latina With comment by Jamey Hecht (read this story) Politics or Not, Bronx Warmly Receives Venezuelan Heating Oil - by Michelle Garcia, Washington Post (read this story) Farmers dig deep to save money on fuel - by 9news.com (read this story) Food crisis feared as

9 Dead, 40 Hurt in Clash at Bolivia Mine
Forbes - NY,USA
... The fight pitted independent miners allied with President Evo Morales against those employed by Bolivia's state mining company. ...

Bolivia Delegation Urges US to Notify Ex-President Sanchez de ...
Democracy Now - New York,NY,USA
A Bolivian delegation is in the United States this week to urge the US government to notify Bolivia's ex-President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and two of his ...

Brazil, Bolivia energy ministers postpone meeting
Reuters - USA
LA PAZ, Bolivia, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Bolivia and Brazil have postponed a meeting between their energy ministers to negotiate new operating conditions and natural ...

Twelve dead in Bolivia mine clashes
Aljazeera.net - Qatar
At least 12 people have been killed and 57 injured in Bolivia in clashes between state-employed and independent tin miners, the interior ministry said. ...

Rival mining groups battle in Bolivia; 9 killed
International Herald Tribune - France
LA PAZ, Bolivia Two rival mine groups fought with guns and explosives over access to one of South America's richest tin mines, leaving 9 dead and at least 40 ...

Take a look as well at the Bolivia: full coverage plus the featured articles and the opinion and editorials sections on Bolivia in Yahoo News. Here are the dramatic images.

October 05, 2006

Eye Poping Report on the VP

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The AP has an article in Yahoo News about Bolivia's VP, Garcia Linera. It talks about the differences among the two leaders in office (him and Morales), which apparently is not only on their physical appearance, their relationship and their ideologies and approaches to government. The report cites oppinions of friends and colleagues of both. According to the report, Garcia is in fact the most radical of the two. In the words of a friend of his, the report says:
"He always was a man who didn't believe in democracy, a man with very clear ideas," Espinoza said, adding that Garcia has "always been a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing," a "hard man" despite his boyish face and refined manners.

October 04, 2006

The Constitution Has Been Ready for a Time Now

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According to an article by the online news magazine, Hoybolivia.com, the new constitution supposed to emerge from the Constituen Assembly has already been written. Evo Morales and his party, MAS, have a written constitution, which, according to the report, will just need to be approved by the assembly. That is why MAS needs the simple majority in the assembly.

Hoybolivia.com has made a summary of the constitution, which they say, comes from insiders in the government and the party's high offices. Below, I post the text in Spanish. If someone is brave enough to translate the whole text, it would be wonderful. (warning: the links my not work, so go to the home page of Hoybolivia.com).

Update: Miguel from Ciao! has gone through the trouble of translating and commenting on the text.

Resumen ejecutivo de la nueva Constitución

La nueva CPE de Evo Morales, de entrada, incorpora a la Wiphala como nuevo símbolo patrio junto a la bandera actual, el escudo de armas y el himno nacional.

Elimina los actuales tres poderes del Estado y crea cinco nuevos que son:
1.- El Poder Ciudadano de los Pueblos
2.- Asamblea Nacional del Poder de los Pueblos
3.- Ejecutivo Nacional del Poder de los Pueblos
4.- Supremo Tribunal de Justicia de los Pueblos y,
5.- Asamblea Nacional Electoral de los Pueblos.

El Poder Ciudadano de los Pueblos tendrá la potestad de:
-Fiscalizar y efectuar un control social a los otros poderes del Estado.
-Instruir la Realización de auditorias especializadas a otros Poderes del Estado e Instituciones Públicas y Privadas.
-Promover a través del Ministerio Público, Contraloría General y Defensoría del Pueblo, procesos de responsabilidades penales, administrativas y otros.

En lo que se refiere al Poder Ejecutivo, éste será reemplazado por la Asamblea Nacional del Poder de los Pueblos que estará compuesta por 70 asambleístas que serán elegidos por voto universal, libre, directo y secreto. El Senado dejará de existir.

La Asamblea nacional del Poder de los pueblos, es el órgano supremo del Poder del Estado, único con potestad constituyente y legislativa en la República. Que representa y expresa la voluntad soberana de todo el pueblo.

El Ejecutivo Nacional del poder de los Pueblos, está conformado por el presidente de la República, el Vicepresidente, Ministros de Estado y otros funcionarios que determine la ley con responsabilidad ante la Asamblea Nacional del poder de los Pueblos, a quienes rendirá cuentas de todas sus actividades.

Los negocios de la Administración Pública se despachan por los Ministros de Estado, cuyo número y atribuciones determina la ley. Serán designados por la Asamblea Nacional del Poder de los Pueblos, a propuesta del presidente de la República, cuyo mandato será revocable conforme a ley.

El Poder Supremo de Justicia de los Pueblos está representado a nivel nacional por el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia de los Pueblos, a nivel departamental por los Tribunales Departamentales de Justicia de los Pueblos y a Nivel territorial por los tribunales o jueces territoriales de justicia establecidos por ley;

Los Tribunos Supremos y Departamentales serán elegidos por voto universal directo y secreto en circunscripciones Departamentales y Territoriales por un término de cinco años y su mandato será revocable conforme a ley.

En cuanto los derechos de las personas, habla de que el "trabajo en la sociedad socialista y comunitaria es un derecho, un deber y un motivo de honor para cada ciudadano", pero es poco claro en cuanto a la remuneración y por el contrario dice que "se renoce el trabajo voluntario no remunerado, realizado en beneficio de toda la sociedad y comunidad, en las actividades industriales, agrícolas, técnicas, artísticas y de servicio, como formador de la conciencia comunitarista de nuestro pueblo".

La libertad de expresión parece quedar reducida y controlada, ya que dice que "se reconoce a los ciudadanos el derecho a la libertad de expresión y prensa conforme a los fines de la sociedad socialistas y comunitaria".

En lo que se refiere a la religión: establece que "el Estado, reconoce, respeta y garantiza la libertad de conciencia y de religión; de las misma forma reconoce, respeta y garantiza la libertad de cada ciudadano de cambiar de creencias religiosas o no tener ninguna, y a profesar, dentro del respeto a la ley, el culto religioso de su preferencia. La ley regula las relaciones del Estado con las Instituciones religiosas".

En el tema tierras habla de que "el Estado, garantiza el derecho de los pueblos indígenas y originarios al acceso Irrestricto a la tierra y territorio..."

Dice que "ninguna de las libertades reconocidas a los ciudadanos puede ser ejercida contra lo establecido en la Constitución y las leyes, ni contra la existencia de la decisión del pueblo Boliviano de construir el socialismo y el comunitarismo. La infracción de este principio es punible".

El Estado reconoce la Justicia comunitaria y sus normas originarias Indígenas (Ama Sua, Ama Llulla y Ama Q’ella); además de la sanción Moral y trabajo comunitario como penas para la infracción a dichas normas.

En cuanto al territorio nacional, para los fines político-administrativos, se divide en Territorios indígenas-originarios, Departamento, Municipios; el número, los límites y la denominación de los mismos se establece en la ley. La ley puede establecer, además, otras divisiones.

Los territorios Indígenas-Originarios, departamentos y los municipios, además de ejercer sus funciones propias, coadyuvan a la realización de los fines del Estado

El Territorio indígena-Originario, es la sociedad macro regional, con personalidad jurídica, identidad, lengua, cultura y autodeterminación propias, descentralizado política y administrativamente, organizada por la ley como enlace intermedio entre el Gobierno nacional y la administración departamental en una extensión superficial equivalente a la del conjunto de departamentos comprendidos en su demarcación territorial

El departamento es la sociedad local, con personalidad jurídica propia, descentralizado, política y administrativamente, organizada por la ley como enlace intermedio entre el Gobierno Territorial Indígena Originario y el Gobierno Municipal, en una extensión superficial equivalente a la del conjunto de municipios comprendidos en su demarcación territorial.

Se crean las Asambleas Locales del Poder de los Pueblos, constituidas en las demarcaciones político-administrativas en que se divide el territorio nacional, son los órganos superiores locales del Gobierno de los Pueblos y en consecuencia, están investidas de la más alta autoridad para el ejercicio de las funciones estatales en sus demarcaciones respectivas y para ello, dentro del marco de su competencia, y ajustándose a la ley ejercen gobierno y coadyuvan al desarrollo de las actividades y al cumplimiento de los planes de las unidades establecidas en su territorio.

It incorporates the indigenous flag, the whiphala, as a symbol. It createds five branches of government. They are, the citizen-power of the people, the national assembly of the people's power, the national executive of the people's power, supreme justice tribunal of the people, and national electoral assembly of the people. Of them, the first branch has the power of controlling the rest. The cabinet will be appointed by the assembly after the executive's proposal. Freedom of press and of expression is a right, so long it is in conformity with the socialist and communitary society. However, none of the rights granted to the citizen can go against the ideals of the state. Communitary justice is recognized as a legal way of administering justice. The territory would be divided in communities. Land is accessible to all.

Those are some of the changes the new constitution would bring.

This can be a look in what COULD end up being the new Bolivia, if Morales has its way.

October 02, 2006

Photos From My Last Trip to VA

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On the Flickr banner (right bar) you can see the newly uploaded photos from my home visit to Virginia. Enjoy!

ICG Assessment on Bolivia`s Plight

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The International Crisis Group published its October Crisis Watch report. The report speculates on the Bolivian situation and concludes things are deteriorating.
Potential for significant unrest as President Morales’ reforms hit stumbling blocks and rifts emerged in Constituent Assembly. Santa Cruz and regional allies walked out of Assembly 1 September after Morales’ MAS party imposed simple majority instead of two-thirds vote as threshold for making changes. Further evidence of regional divide 22 September: farmers and trade unionists in Santa Cruz, angered by opposition to land reform program, blocked roads. VP Garcia raised stakes in speech to country’s peasants that included veritable call to arms in defense of “revolutionary government”. Full nationalisation of hydrocarbons industry continued to stall: minister in charge resigned after crisis in relations with Brazil prompted by granting state-owned YPFB control over 2 refineries owned by Brazilian gas giant Petrobras; new minister expected to take more conciliatory tone.
Although informative, it lacks a bit of insight on the situation. But, you can get more details from the links it provides at the bottom of the paragraph. It is not surprising though, since ICG has taken up a daunting task on monitoring and, I would assume, providing information about crises all over the world. As usual, this is FYI!