December 04, 2007

Update on the Constitutional Assembly Struggle

MABB © ®

As you surely know by now, the Morales government approved its own version of a Constitution last November 24, with the help of its allies and the absence of the opposition. This happened in the security of a military academy, outside the city of Sucre, and in the thick of wide protests and violent clashes between citizens of Sucre and security forces. In the aftermath, the government declared victory for having approved a Constitution, while the opposition declared state of alert, civil disobedience and national hunger strikes.

Relative peace has returned to the cities. However, four departments have started hunger strikes. Around 70 people have set up strike posts in Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija, led by Conalde (Comite Nacional de Defensa de la Democracia) . The leaders expect this number to increase significantly by the end of this week. In Santa Cruz alone, the strikers are expected to reach 250.

Meanwhile, the Prefects (Governors) of Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, Beni and Tarija, have started a tour to the US and some European nations to denounce what they call the authoritarian tendencies of the Morales government. In a press conference in Miami, the four Prefects expressed their concerns over the alleged illegal actions of the government and the MAS faction in the Constitutional Assembly, through which democracy is in danger. They are asking the government, in a very public manner, to include the Catholic Church or an international organization, to mediate. Their next stop is the OAS and the United Nations.

As far as the assembly is concerned, the opposition has said they will not accept the moving of it to another city. Eight of the 16 political forces, PB, MIR, AAI, Camino al Cambio, Podemos, MNR-A3, MNR and CN, have decided to stay in Sucre and some will even continue working on their own Constitution.

The government has decided to push its Constitution to the last consequences. At the moment, they are trying to convince opposition assembly members to cross over the isle. MAS needs 23 more votes to obtain a 2/3 super majority in the assembly. Were MAS to obtain these votes, things would be much easier. Alternatively, the MAS or the government plans to go ahead with the change of seat to Oruro or Cochabamba and the approval of the entire text in a marathon session expected to be the last day (December 14). However, since three are some issues that cannot be resolved, the MAS is expected to take those issues, such as the indefinite reelection of the president, to a referendum. This would delay the approval of the Constitution for about four more months.


Anonymous said...

“Own version” Please. Do not lie.Where were the another TEN PARTIES that aproved the NEW CPE? Please Mr.Buitrago read carefully the news.And dont lie.

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Kevin said...

How can any honest and intelligent person not realize that this CPE is the Magna Carta del MAS.... come on, be honest. What happened is not up for debate it is un hecho.

Anonymous said...

Someone's sensitive. From the "Achacachi Post":
Cabildo de Achacachi en defensa de la AC y contra el racismo de la oligarquia sucrense y cruceña. And who were those oligarchs killed in Sucre?

miguel (mabb) said...

Forgive me for reading oligarch news. But, it is no lie, read it for yourself.
And here:

But, to be fair, I found another article that says 10 political forces will vote on the new Constitution.

But, I get your point.

mcentellas said...

A number of those "ten political forces" (some of which have only one seat) have been close to MAS for some time. In the CA election, the electoral rules made it clear that no single party could win 100% of the seats. Very publicly (and legally) MAS decided to run two lists in many districts in order to secure higher shares of seats. So many of those minor parties are actually parts of the MAS coalition. Calling anything this bloc votes for "multipartisan" would be like trumpeting US Senate bills "bipartisan" if they include the lone independent from Vermont.


So what if ALL, and not only 10 political forces vote for the MAS constitution, there are several MAS constituents that didn’t vote for it because they didn’t agree with it. The illegality of the draft approved by the maSSist is not out of the question, the achacachi ano is kicking dirt to have a point where there is none. What counts here are the amounts of votes, 2/3 off the presents? The only reason the draft was legally illegal is that it was held outside the city of Sucre.

That is why the regime conspired to write an addendum in the constituent’s law in congress permitting the move of it to other place. This legislation was passed according to congress regulations but using dictatorial methods in the street not allowing the legislator from the opposition to enter and represent us, the people; citizens of Bolivia that elected them. The same method they just used hours earlier in Sucre, with the assassinated included.

This was the last drop needed for many; I included myself, most off us have decided not to even intent to find solutions in civilized manner, until both, the law and the draft are officially declared null. I just don’t know were else should I draw the line, if I believe in participative democracy and respect to every Bolivian rights as equal among each other, I cannot accept what has happened.

Maybe somebody else that is still whiling to compromise over this maSSist draft could explain me how fare is he/she willing to go until decided to return a blow trough civil disobedience, since, it sounds good, but it means to break the law. Who knows, I am pretty sure that there are many that are willing to have their lives enslaved so long they don’t have to recur to confrontation, which almost always mean violence. But that is just not me.

Kevin said...

Two vice ministros spoke today in Washington at a local Latin American think tank one day after the Prefectos de la Media Luna spoke at the same forum

I won't go into detail as it is long and much of the same - i.e., the MAS under President Morales is mandated to do whatever it takes to pull indigenous groups out of the historic oligarchy discrimination. But the key issue for me is that they are now thinking to trump the 'opposition' by saying - have your version of the CPE ready by 15th of December and then we put the two up to a national referendum. They are obviously reacting to the recent events in Venezuela.

Actually not a bad strategy and this is quite an interesting game that is being played here. Too bad that the poorest people in Latin America are forced to play part of this childish poltical game titled cultural revolution.

It is really about empowerment of the indigenous community and rightfully the MAS have won this - now they need to get to work and govern! Unfortunately they have no experince in this part of the equation and can only function through confrontation.

galloglass said...

And what happens when the Media Luna and perhaps Sucre vote overwhelmingly for the the opposing version? If they achieved 70-80% would they be bound by the MAS constitution if it won? I think the idea of 2 constitutions would just put Bolivia that much closer to civil war.

Gringo said...

A Chapaco co-worker in the US was telling me THREE years ago, a year before Mortales was elected, that there was a good possibility that the Media Luna would split from the rest of Bolivia. Perhaps all Mortales is doing is accelerating the process.

miguel (mabb) said...

Gringo: I think all you heard from your Chapaco friend was wishful thinking. Santa Cruz, and much less Tarija, don't have the means to split. They are too dependent on the central government. Even though the capital gets generated in these provinces, it gets transfered to the central government. Besides, when you look at periodic surveys made by the INE, the WB and other institutions, you can see there is a strong identification with the Bolivia 'imaginary'.

Galloglas: I think the idea to put the two constitutions up for vote is not unrealistic. Thanks kevin. It might be heading that way. How else can Bolivia decide between these two different countries?
If you aske me, I might venture to predict that the Morales constitution would be defeated. For the simple reason that the people who voted for Morales in December 2005 (excluding his loyal bases) will not vote for his project anymore. I think most of those 'middle class' voters think in retrospect they've made a mistake. But, then again, that's just my opinion.

Today in the news I read that Morales himself is putting his presidency up for votes. Courageous move, I say. At the moment I am wondering why. I presume he has been following his slide in his approval ratings.

bolivialibre: I don't think that Morales and his MAS will want to take a step backwards by annulling their constitution and the resolutions they have achieved. Moreover, I think they are willing to go to the last consequences. They have to now. There is no other way, is there?

Kevin said...

miguel (MABB) - I think you are right on, MAS might be thinking this is the 'last stand'. I read today that they (MAS) voted to hold the Asemblea meeting on Dec. 14th in Luaca Eñe... according to my knowledge this is a tiny settlement near Bulo Bulo in the Chapare. This is the stronghold of the cocaleros and more or less down the road from the sinicato power center of the MAS... where the entire revolution was born in labor-union and coca farmers meetings over the past 10 years.
Looks to me like they are going to the 'bunker'.

Gringo said...

Off topic.A Venezuelan Air Force plane got stoned in Riberalta, Beni
As Bob Dylan said in another context:
"I would not feel so all alone, everybody must get stoned."

Gringo said...

Here is the Beni stoning of the Venezuelan Air Force plane in English.

Gringo said...

Here are more sources on the Venezuelan Air Force Plane that got stoned in Beni, from commenters at Venezuela News and Views . ( Daniel-Venezuela)
“ and to make matter worse,
the same airplane that got 'stoned' in Bolivia, flew to Brazil, where they detained the plane, (they, brazilian authorities) p=10258

Looks like he had alot more than $162,000. About 5X $162,000...around $870,000. id=18091

miguel (mabb) said...

Thanks for the links.

It is obviously suspect why so many Venezuelan airplanes are arriving in that area.