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.


galloglass said...

Miguel: I may be wrong, but I think the media luna is moving inexorably towards some sort of secession...and Evo/MAS aren't helping the situation...also, Percy Fernandez is a loose cannon, but I think he expressed what many Cambas secretly hope for, even though they all disavowed his comments.

miguel said...

I am trying to hold my position and remain sceptic on the idea of secession. It is getting harder and harder, but if I take history into account, Bolivia has always come around at the last minute.

I hope so!

ma said...

I like this blog, it is very current, informative and reflects what is happening in Bolivia (where I come from) and the comments are good, however, why not write in Spanish? I wonder what is the English audience for a blog that reflects political issues and news dealing with Bolivia?

Miguel A. Buitrago said...

That is exactly the problem, viewed from the other side of the coin. There is not much info (maybe now more than before) on Bolivia in English period.

This blog is an effort to bring information about Bolivia in the English language. It's an effort to diversify the kind of information as well. Up until recently, all the information on Bolivia came from the mainstream media. At times this info was not even accurate.

If this blog can contribute to place Bolivia in the map around the world, it will be achieving its purpose.

Besides, why not? The English language, as I am sure you are well aware of, provides access to many other regions around the world, not just Europe.

ma said...

Ok, I got the point. Sure, we need more info about Bolivia, (not only political news but about the country in general) here in the US so at least the vast majority of the American people can understand that besides coca, the left-winged president and the permanent coup d'etats of the past, Bolivia is a vibrant society with lots of interesting places, things and stuff. And the politicos of both sides but mostly republicans can pint point with accuracy where we are located and start thinking that we are in the heart of South America and we do not border with Yugoslavia or Montenegro.

Miguel A. Buitrago said...


ma said...

How can I post if possible on this blog?

miguel (mabb) said...

Dear ma:

Theoretically it is possible to post on this blog, but, of course, whatever gets posted has to go through the deep and harsh scrutiny of the editor (that's me :-)).

FYI, MABBlog is a private effort on my part to bring info on Bolivia. I only post my ramblings. ;-) I haven't really thought about letting someone else post anything. It is not a collaborative effort.

However, if you let me know more about what are you thinking of, perhaps we can make an experiment.

galloglass said...

Well Miguel, you do know that "the people" voted for a revolution...and Alvaro doesn't care if the Assembly does the job or's a historical inevitability, the triumph of he just wants to speed up the process...with his Mausers if necessary. He may be refined and well-spoken, but he's a true believer.

galloglass said...

BTW, did you ever see this article?

Gringo said...

@ MA
we do not border with Yugoslavia or Montenegro

I guess that those Chapacos I had worked with in Salta many years ago had been trying to pull the wool over my eyes. They kept telling me that Tarija was 50 Km from Montenegro!