May 02, 2008

Potential for Violence on the 4th

MABB © ®

The potential for violence for the 4th in Santa Cruz is becoming clearer and clearer.

According to reports, the Union Juvenil Cruceñista (UJC) of Santa Cruz is mobilizing around 5000 members, as civil guards, to help "bring security, assure people vote and thus help the campaign to win. In addition, 1200 members of the Trinidad (the capital city of Beni) UJC will be going to Santa Cruz to support the efforts of their cruceño counterparts. Also, around 500 students from the Local University Federation (FUL) intend to support the same efforts. In consequence, there will be groups of up to 20 people guarding the ballot boxes.

In addition, since the national police and the military will not provide security for the referendum, the municipal guard of Santa Cruz will take their place.

On the other hand, MAS militants have indicated their intention of installing what they call, "resistance barraks" in three contentious towns and one neighborhood in Santa Cruz. The inhabitants of San Julian, Yapacani, and Cuatro Cañadas have announced they will prevent (at any const) the opening of voting places. In the Plan Tres Mil, similarly, people will try to prevent the opening of voting places and that people vote at all.

It is expected that out of these actions, violence and confrontations among opposing forces will take place.


Norman said...

I don't know Miguel. I'm not seeing it. I don't see any preparation for blockades (though I expect there will be some), there are no runs on the stores, and the general attitude is calm. Usually you can feel the tension, but it just doesn't see mto be there today. There will probably be some individual incidents as always but, at least in the city of Santa Cruz, I'm not expecting anything large scale. Frankly my wife's biggest concern is whether we'll be able to get to Church 2 km away without walking.

Miguel said...

I guess it depends where you live. Like I mention, the brouhaha will be concentrated in those areas where MAS has lots of support. Places such as the Plan Tres Mil.

The colonizadores have said we will resist and make sure the ballot boxes don't get to where they have to get. Other organizations, such as the COD Paralela have also said they don't want violence, but....

I am thinking, the organizers will try to overlook those incidents and will, in the end, claim there was a peaceful and festive referendum. However, I am expecting it to be not that peaceful.

galloglass said...

Norman: Why I had no idea you were a silverback! And an intelligent one at that!

Daniel said...

Miguel, just to let you know that plenty of folks are monitoring every minute of this week end. I did write a little blurb that might amuse you, inasmuch as anyone can find anything amusing in the current situation. Best of luck for a peaceful day.

Miguel said...

Thanks Daniel, amusing indeed.

Yes, I think the eyes of the world will be on Santa Cruz this week end.

Frank_IBC said...

Has the Cuban's stabbing of the Bolivian national, in a bar in La Paz on Wednesday, gotten much of a reaction locally, Miguel?

Frank_IBC said...

Bolivian colonel, I meant.

The Neither Party said...

When you state that as many as 6700 'civil guards' will 'protect the ballot boxes' in the upcoming referendum, why is it that the vision I see is one of voter manipulation, or perhaps vote 'irregularities/fraud' especially with 20 such 'guards' per voting place and no one to provide any checks or balances?

Is it any wonder why virtually all of the world (except the USA/allies ) has condemned this flagrant US-supported attempt to 'Balkanize' (read-divide/subjugate) Bolivia?

Is it any wonder why the current US ambassador to Bolivia is the same one who supervised the destruction of Yugoslavia?

Is it any wonder why most, if not all of Bolivia's neighbors want Bolivia to remain united and not warring internally?

Could it be that they know that they could be the next nation in the sights of US imperialism?

I'd appreciate your thoughts regarding the questions I have posed.

The Neither Party said...

@Daniel et al,,,
At least you are correct about one thing--when you wrote "people like me are reduced to write pathetic notes to congratulate you on your resolve", in support of the illegal referendum--Pathetic, indeed!

In supporting those wanting to divide Bolivia, you tacitly support people such as pictured here: Where I come from (USA) they are called fascists or nazis--is that what you support, and if so, why not have the courage to come right out and say so, and if not, to denounce those who do?

Yours in pathos--me for the Bolivian people trying to become free from imperialism, and you for your seemingly pathetic blindness to their fate.

Frank_IBC said...

Why do you want to deny Bolivia the opportunity to have a federal rather than unitary system of government, John? Or do you believe that only Americans such as yourself deserve such a system of government?

Is it any wonder why the current US ambassador to Bolivia is the same one who supervised the destruction of Yugoslavia?

Wrong. It was Slobodan Milosevic who supervised the destruction of Yugoslavia.

Frank_IBC said...

...just as Evo Morales is supervising the destruction of Bolivia.

Frank_IBC said...

Ah... this one is a Troofer. That's all I need to know.

The Neither Party said...

What I'd like to do is to help save Bolivia from a government like that now controlling the USA.

It is not a democratic republic--it is government on behalf of and under the control of big business--most would call it fascism.

If you'd like to learn more about it, check out this website:
and then read Bill Blum's "Killing Hope" for a world perspective.

Regarding who was our Ambassador supervising the destruction of Yugoslavia--nice try,,,and nice way of not addressing inconvenient facts--try to change the subject or statement into something else entirely.

Read the above book and link, and if you have anything to refute that I claim,,,please respond.

Lastly, you suggest I am a "Troofer" (whatever that means). Let me respond by suggesting you are the opposite.


Frank_IBC said...

It sounds like John is perfectly OK with the genocidal activities of Slobodan Milosevic, and that they had nothing to do with the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. The Croats, Bosniaks, Slovenes and Kosovars had nothing to fear from the Serbs - it was all just the big bad USA, right?

He lives in a fantasy world with regard to the former Yugoslavia as well as 9-11, so it's not too suprising that he has a similar reality gap with regards to Bolivia.

The Neither Party said...

If you are going to launch a personal attack on me, at least use my words, not those you imagine.

I haven't stated or claimed any of the thoughts you attributed to me--rather I tried to place things in a factual historical perspective.

Again,,,if you have anything to refute that which I claim,,,please specifically respond.

Your personal attacks are rather childish, and demonstrate that you have nothing to refute my allegations with.

Frank_IBC said...

-On your blog, you claim that the collapse of the World Trade Center was a "demolition" by the US government.

-This was your non-response to my question of whether Bolivians have the right to choose a federal form of government: "[the USA] is not a democratic republic--it is government on behalf of and under the control of big business--most would call it fascism."

-You alleged that Ambassador Goldberg was "the architect of the destruction of Yugoslavia." What exactly does this mean? To most readers, it would appear that you are blaming him for the situation, rather than the genocidal Serb government. And since you are giving the latter a free pass, it would seem that you are OK with their genocide.

Miguel said...

Yes it has. The Cuban is in jail right now.

It is certainly possible to think of it the way you put it. The fact that these "guards" are there is not exactly a warranty of fairness. The potential for trouble is certainly there. I can imagine there will be some incidents where some people are forced (in some way) to vote. There will certainly be social (and other kinds) pressure.

The government has, since last week, arguing that exactly. The have tried to dismiss the referendum, not only as illegal, but as fraudulent. Exactly pointing out to those groups of citizens who are calling themselves civil guards.

On the contrary, the groups themselves are arguing, the government has instructed the police and military not to intervene in any incident. While some Masist groups have said they'll try to stop the vote by any means. So, I guess in the eyes of the people who support the vote, they are there to provide security and peace.

The lack of independent observers, such as OAS, EU or any other entity, is making things worst. There are observers, but they are not considered totally impartial.

I tell you, I have not seen flagrant condemnation. I was just discussing this with a friend of mine this afternoon. The OAS, for example, has only expressed its support for the stability of the current government and the territorial unity of the country. By the way, the EU has said similar words. This does not go far enough as far as the Morales government is concerned.

I sincerely think (so far) that every one involved in this problem wants Bolivia to remain one country. The problem is that there are two camps which have different ideas of what Bolivia is. Each camp thinks their Bolivia is the "right" Bolivia. This idea totally dismisses the idea of the other camp.

Lastly, I don't know. I find it difficult to believe the US has the power and resources to mount something like this. I mean, this would be a pretty powerful country in order to be able to manipulate, not just countries, but minds like that.

The US is pretty powerful, but that much power I don't think they have.

The Neither Party said...

Thank you for your considerate and thoughtful response.
Regarding my concerns about the legitimacy of the referendum in Santa Cruz, I offer this link for your perusal:
It shows only one way of many possibilities as to how the vote could have been (and I believe was) manipulated. The way I see it, and I ask to be corrected if wrong, was each person gets one ballot, many of them claimed to be pre-marked "Si". If that was the intent of the 'voter' then all they had to do was hand it in and presumably it would be counted. If it was not the intent, and "no" was selected, then the vote would not count due to both boxes having been checked. No wonder that ballot boxes were taken and burned by people who could see its illegality!

Regarding your suggestion that the (local) observers might not be impartial, I saw a photo yesterday of the Santa Cruz election commission (I think it was from Reuters) which was seemingly comprised of guess who?--no apparent or visible indigenous persons--imagine that! (My son-in-law who is a Bolivian mestizo, could not find any obvious mestizo or indigenous people among them either.) (I’ll try to find it and include it in a following post.)

Perhaps I am too old and jaded and cynical, but I seriously doubt that under such circumstances as above (and as I also mentioned in my previous post to you) that it would be possible for fair elections to be held.

Please do not take this criticism as an attack on Bolivia--if anything, mine is an attack on fascist imperialism. (NOTE: It has been at least 8 years, and some might argue 16 years, since fair presidential elections have been held in the USA, with one election decided by a biased court instead of a vote, and others decided by manipulated computers, so I am not claiming that we in the US have elections that are any more-fair.)

Lastly, I can understand your difficulty believing that the USA could wield the power I suggest it does. Not all that long ago, I couldn't believe it either. Unfortunately, to deny that means also having to: deny that a (one-day) coup was inspired by the US and carried out against Hugo Chavez; that a false-flag operation was used to start a war on Vietnam, killing an estimated 5 million SE Asians; that another false-flag operation was carried out on 9-11 which resulted in wars on Afghanistan and Iraq resulting in additional millions of deaths; that the US State Dept. has spent millions of dollars trying to create the conditions of dividing Bolivia so as to insure continuing control of the land and mineral wealth by the ruling oligarchy--all under the guise of spreading what is now called 'democracy', which today is defined as the elimination of all barriers which prevent unlimited exploitation by and for the powerful.

Again Miguel, I thank you for your reasoned and thoughtful response.

Miguel said...

Yes, the vote naturally had the potential to be manipulated. For all I know, it could have well been. I doubt anyone can really say if it was manipulated or not. Not even the government nor the president, who, up to now, has only presented allegations. It was actually funny to hear Morales speech. He starts by saying the vote 'could' have been fraudulent and marked by absenteeism. Two or three sentences after he makes that an assertion. After citing the 50% absenteeism and the 10% null + invalid votes. The results had not been yet announced. My point is, I would like to see evidence, hard evidence.

That is where the story with the already marked ballots comes in. It turns out, a government official (I forget his name) was caught by the security forces with ballot boxes full of ballots with marks in the yes box. He is in trial now. But, the story is that he said he (and a group of people with him) was bringing those boxes to the international journalist center to show how the referendum was being manipulated. Nobody knows, until now, where did that person get those boxes. He did not want to name the place nor the number of the precincts. No information whatsoever. So, in the end, he ended up being charged with trying to rig the elections himself. This was bad for the government. The allegations are troubling nevertheless, but if the guy cannot prove the boxes came from the organizers, nobody believes him.

The observers who were around checking the process were local as well as foreigners. It would be difficult to say how many of them were of indigenous descent. Maybe there should have been, though the organizers of the vote made sure the indigenous peoples of the region were represented. I think this vote transcends the indigenous issue.

That is just the case, the doubt has been planted by the government. That is exactly what I expected. There was no other way. Like I say above, I don't think anyone can say whether the vote was rigged or not. Evidence is what is missing here. If the government cannot present any evidence, the vote is good as far as the other side is concerned. Sorry I cannot tell you anything else. But, I can tell you that the impression and the headlines here in Bolivia have said that the yes vote won by 86%.

I don't think we are attacking anything. We are just exchanging opinions. That is the way I take it. I do appreciate that!

Finally, about the US' power. I think one believes what one wants to believe. There is a Canadian woman here in Bolivia right now. You should hear her speak about the power of imperial US and the international companies.

To the contrary, I choose to remain skeptical. I want to see proof. Granted, in these cases proof comes very hard.

The Neither Party said...

I can't adequately express my appreciation of your discourse with me--all I can say is thank you.

Regarding the actions and intent of the USA regarding our power and reach, please read John Perkins' "Economic Hitman" for his first-person account of how the US really works, and then William Blum's "Killing Hope" for a world-wide perspective.

And then get back to me with your doubts concerning the beneficence of USA policies regarding those with resources we covet.

I'd appreciate your well-reasoned comments.

With high regards and great appreciation,,,John

Miguel said...

Well, one of the reasons I maintain this blog is to provide information on Bolivia to the English world. If I can contribute to a more informed conversation on Bolivia, I would be happy.

Also, thanks for the tips. I am familiar with the economic hit man, who wouldn't be, after the waves it produced. However, I (or for that matter, anyone else) could probably cite other works, articles or sources where arguments are laid out to prove the other side of the coin.

I wish I had time to read those works in detail, but I have to be honest and say, I probably won't.

I much rather stay on my field of expertise (i.e. Bolivia) :-)

Best regards!