September 06, 2007

Yet Another Ultimatum, September 10

MABB © ®

In a state of emergency, the Constituent Assembly decided yesterday to "suspend" its activities for a month. Let's remember that the assembly is already working on borrowed time and has until December 14th. The president (Silvia Lazarte) argued that there was no security to continue with the sessions due to the possibility of confrontation between citizens.

Now, the organization pushing for the moving of the seat of government, is currently evaluating its hunger strike and has expressed the tendency to stop. At the same time, the other six civic committees which were supposed to join Sucre in its efforts are also re-evaluating. They have also showed a preference to stop striking and start talking.

The government, on its part, is going ahead with the show of muscles by continuing with the 'social movements summit' in Sucre's streets.

So, while the strikes are stopping and the tempers are relaxing in Sucre, there still exists the possibility of some kind of trouble with the show of force from the part of the government.

What is most disturbing though, are Alvaro Garcia Linera's words. At a conference he said: "the process of change will continue, even without the Constituent Assembly"; "we were very flexible"; "...whatever it takes, we will continue with the process of transformation of Bolivian society"; "this process [...] will deepen in terms of decision making..."

I don't want to read too much into Garcia's words but they sound more like threats to me than a call to understanding.

Read here the source article.

Once again Bolivia is hanging on the verge of social brake down. On September 10th, the two sides will meet again, but this time in the streets of Sucre. The Junta Democratica (Democratic Junta) will continue its actions to force the government to include the issue of moving the seat of government to Sucre in the debate. Also, they demand the Constituent Assembly to respect the 2/3 voting rule to make decisions. The Junta wants to broaden its hunger strike to the departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, Tarija and Cochabamba on this date.

Btw, the Junta Democratica is a new group formed by the civic committees of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, Tarija, Sucre and Cochabamba.

The government, on the other hand, is, at the very least, supporting a congregation of a round 50,000 Altiplano indigenous in Sucre to march in support of MAS' constitution project and the assembly. This is to happen also on the 10th of September.

Looking at the situation, the intransigent positions of the government and the opposition is leading to an inevitable state of confrontation. We had, in February, the first indication of how these confrontation could end up. September 10th can be another Cochabamba.

Also, if history is any indication, the last time the capital moved from Sucre to La Paz, it was during the so called "Federal Revolution of 1898-1899". If that is what it takes for the seat of government to move back to Sucre, we have still the worst to come.