April 07, 2007

The Relationship Hugo + Evo: Is Evo Following Hugo's Path?

MABB © ®

Currently, the big question when it comes to Bolivia is: Is Morales: Following Chavez or own path?

Thanks to a tip from galloglass, a MABBlog reader, I came across with the above article published in Yahoo! News. This question has made noise in recent days with the publication of this article, however, the question has been for a long time in the minds of many people who follow Bolivia.

Is Morales following Hugo Chavez' path towards consolidation of his power? I, for one, am getting more and more convinced that Morales is following Hugo's path. I have been worried by what I called a 'disturbing trend'. Below you'll find links to my earlier posts which deal with this intriguing question, along with interesting commentaries.

Note: I would recommend, however, to focus on the content and to please forgive the misspellings, attribute them to lack of time for posting. :-)


Anonymous said...

Doesn't this AP article, "Morales: Following Chavez or own path?," conclude that Morales and Bolivia are following their own path, not Chavez'?

Keane seems to have some sense of what's going on in Bolivia. Of course he might turn out to be wrong and you (MABB) right, but wouldn't anyone who continues to have strong public support, in spite of misteps, look ominous to the opposition?


galloglass said...

John: Did you read Miguel's previous posts? I'd be more inclined to trust a Bolivian than a reporter who drops in for a couple days. How long have you been following the Bolivian situation?

Tambopaxi said...

Quick, short reaction: I think Morales and Correa (I live in Quito), if allowed to, would like very much to be like Chavez and do to their countries as Chavez has done to his.

The good thing is, Bolivia and Ecuador are not like Venezuela, and the events of the last few years in Venezuela have not been lost on Bolivians and Ecuadorians in general.

My sense is that the Constituent Assembly mechanism, which Chavez used as entre for taking over Venezuelan institutions, has bogged down in Bolivia and most likely will not produce any changes of the magnitude that Chavez has achieved in Venezuela.

Lots of Ecuadorians want change here and for that reason, the vote on a Constituent Assembly scheduled next weekend here will be very much in favor of the Assembly. At the same time, people are wary of Correa's overbearing, messianic personality, and are not/not inclined to let this guy take us down the Chavista path. As one comentarista put it, "This country wants change, but we did not vote for a socialist country."

In closing, again, I think Morales, left to his own devices, would dearly love to be another Chavez for his own country; thing is, there's lots of Bolivians who won't have it, so I think it'll happen - at least, I hope not.

Anonymous said...
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Tambopaxi said...

Ooops, on last line, I meant to say I DON'T think it will happen (Morales pulling a "Chavez"). I need to preview my stuff before I post it! Sorry, T

Miguel said...

John: First, sorry for the late answer, I was a little under the weather. But, now I feel better.

I agree with you when you say that Keane "seems to have SOME sense of what's going on in Bolivia." That is what we all would expect after his (I don't know) week long visit to Bolivia. After all he spoke with some people who are intimately involved with what is going on, and others who are valiant observers.

For example, he has some basic mistakes in the interpretation he makes of recent events, such as saying, "The revolution Morales leads was sparked by violent protests in 2000 against U.S.-based Bechtel Corp. for raising rates after taking over the public water utility in Cochabamba, unleashing a deep frustration with Bolivia's failed privatization experiments of the 1990s." But, I would also expect such mistakes.

But, let me concentrate on what you say. I think what Keane says (with all the factual mistakes) is pretty much on the lines I say. That is, Morales is following Chavez's path. That is the gist of the article.

On your last point, yes, I think he does look ominous to the opposition. How could they not see him that way. He controls the lower chamber, the government and the Constituent Assembly. He was elected with 54% of the vote, although I don't think he would get that much today, and he is following the same strategy Chavez used to cement his power. We just have to take a look at how Chavez arrived at controlling the country and the pattern is eerily similar.

Miguel said...

I've read Miguel's paper too. They are interesting propositions. Particularly the one about the transition from presidential-parlamentarism to pure presidentialism. I basically agree with his argument. I don't have much to add, other than the issue or question remains: Is Evo following Hugo's path? My answer would still be, at the very least Evo is using Hugo's self developed strategy to gain control of power.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
miguel said...


I deleted them, I am not sure you meant that though.

Anonymous said...

No, I didn't mean that earlier one, but that's OK. I think we were done with it.



Tambopaxi said...

I've got different question for both Miguels (Buitrago and Centellas): Jim Schulz's email talks about events of seven years ago that triggered the "water wars", but despite two requests for info over there, I still can't clear picture (actually, no picture at all!) about where La Paz and El Alto stand regarding quality of water service they've got now/now, how much it cost, and whether it was worth it (the violence, etc.) Is there any source of info on these questions to which you all might refer me? thanks, T

miguel (mabb) said...

Which email?

The so called water war happened around April 2000. It was in Cochabamba. It was the result of many things coming together at the time. Two important things to know. On the one side, there were the medium and small size agricultural workers around Cochabamba city. On the other side, there were the civic organizations, workers unions and organizations. On a third front, there was the governemnt. And on a fourth and last front, there was the 'private' Aguas del Tunari water services company.

These four colided together due to legislation privatizing further the resource water, incredibly high prices for water services, government pressures on the water services company, and badly thought-out policies from the part of the company.

As for La Paz and El Alto, the problem was also with the private water services company Aguas del Illimani, but much later (2005 if I remember correctly). The company in Cochabamba is long gone, but the one in El Alto is still there awaiting final transfer of competencies.

I think the water services have not improved much in both cases. There are still many people without drinking water (for many different reasons) and as for the water quality I am not sure. But, check this link, it seems to have good info.

Water in Bolivia

I hope that helped.

Tambopaxi said...

Thanks for the quick resumen, Miguel, plus the Wikipedia reference, informative, and therefore, useful.

Re: Schultz, sorry, I meant posting, not email, at his blog. The posting is a look back, seven years at the water wars. Unfortunately, neither his posting, nor the related comments give any clue as to what's actually going on now. thanks again, T