June 17, 2007

Tempers Are Once Again Rising in Bolivia: Short Update

MABB © ®

Tempers are once again flaring in Bolivia, and the temperature is once again rising. The problems seem to come from all fronts. I can only imagine how does Morales' day start.

First, and foremost, the Constituent Assembly is currently deliberating (rather fiercely debating) the new text. There are deep divisions and bitter arguments. One argument that is making national news is the proposal of the security commission. They (former policemen), have put forward a text where they seem to make the police force the guardian of the constitution. This does not sit well with the Army, which has traditionally been the jealous guardian of the constitution. Now, the Army has spoken against this text and have warned they will not let it stand. Considering Bolivia's history, that is a warning to take note.

Over in the vision of country commission, tempers are really flaring. Physical confrontations were the result of a dispute among the two opposing factions. MAS, had approved a portion of a text defining Bolivia as a plurinational nation. The opposition does not agree with this definition and are complaining about the tricks used by MAS to approve this motion with simple majority, rather than absolute majority, as it was accorded before.

On another flank, proposals by the commission on education have sparked violent university students protest. The proposal would give the control of the universities to social organizations. Bolivian universities, up to now, autonomous entities, have reacted strongly. They are reluctant to loose that autonomy, which was not easy to win.

Those are just a few of the problems from recent weeks.