March 29, 2008

Update on the Situation and the Autonomic Referenda

MABB © ®

In the coming two months, I will be traveling to Bolivia to undertake field research. For that reason, I will not be updating very often. It all depends on my access to the internet and my time. But, the expectation is not to update often. Of course, I will be reporting what interesting things happen, if need be.

A bit uncompromising, my statement, but the uncertainty plays a role. :-)

Update 2:
In the mean time, things have been getting tense for the government. There is a wave of trouble coming towards it. People in the town of Camiri, located in Santa Cruz department, have been blocking the access road to demand more jobs, more investment, and more control over the oil companies that operate there, namely, Andina. While, the heavy transport industry, together with the exporters association, are protesting the government's decree stopping the export of certain products, such as cooking oil. Also, the public service drivers' association want to strike to demand higher prices. And, in Santa Cruz city, the civic organizations want to march to show their support for the upcoming referendum, to show support for the Camiri cause and the exporter's cause.

On top of all that, the physical security force of the police wants to strike to ask for better benefits.

It seems to me that the closer May 4th is, the more conflicts will appear. It will be a thing to observe, in the coming weeks.


It is about time to make an update on the situation in Bolivia and the referenda for autonomy. As we know, on May 4th, Santa Cruz will carry out its autonomic referendum. This will be against all odds, because the National Electoral Court (CNE) has issued a decision declaring all referenda, including the one the government is organizing, as not having legal grounds. Nonetheless, Santa Cruz is going ahead with the referendum.

The Santa Cruz referendum will be the beginning of a series of referenda in other parts of the country. The Beni department will have its own on June 1st and Tarija will carry out its referendum on June 22nd. Of course, Pando has to still make its date official, and Sucre and La Paz are still thinking about it.

The Santa Cruz referendum seems to be unstoppable. The government has been trying many things to stop it. Now, it is trying to stir its supporters in Santa Cruz to block the roads so the material does not make it to the voting places on election day. However, the organizers seem to be well prepared. They have a 15,000 men militia (the Young Crucenista Union) which will provide order and security. The electoral organisms are willing to execute the law against anyone who does not vote or tries to block the voting.

The key date to have in mind is May 4th. If it will happen, its the 5000 dollar question.