June 19, 2008

Update on Bolivia

MABB © ®

The temperature in Bolivia seems to be rising, even though the thermometer is showing single digits. This rise in temperature is due to the political climate, which seems to come in waves.

At present time, there is a high-tide of new and old problems, which seem to be making life in the government more difficult. To start, the Tarija autonomic referendum is fast approaching. This sunday, the 22nd., Tarija will vote on whether to approve or reject their autonomic statutes. The expectations is that the approval for the statutes will not be as overwhelming as in Santa Cruz, but they'll be clear enough, in and around the 70s percentage points. Perhaps the participation factor will be a bit better than in Santa Cruz.

This situation is very uncomfortable for the government. For that reason, the government has been trying to go to Tarija to show presence. Morales was due to visit the city of Tarija to meet with his supporters, so he can give them ambulances and one of those checks donated, generously, by the Venezuelan government. However, diverse groups have called on the government not to show itself in Tarija, especially right before the 22nd. So, as Morales announced his visit, these groups gathered around the airport and literally prevented the president to land there, forcing him to cancel his trip. This is not the first time nor the first place where Morales is banned from visiting. He has been prevented to visit places like Santa Cruz, Sucre, Villa Montes, Pailon, etc., and he has been declared persona non grata in Pando and Beni, as well. So much is the impact of these events, that the government itself has started to talk about using other "measures" to guarantee the president's free mobility within the country.

Aside from that, there is a problem brewing in Potosi. As you might have already read in my prior post, miners and transport workers in Potosi have been protesting calling on the government to stop an attempt to make these two groups to pay more taxes. As you may know, they were staging road blocks and demonstrating in the main square in Potosi. Now, this problem has spread to Cochabamba, where the heavy wight transport workers have started a road block with the same aims at their counterparts in Potosi. The government, up to now, has been adamant on making these two groups contribute to the budget.

In addition, there is a 24 hour strike declared in Pando to force the government to reconsider the cut on province transfers. Pando argues that many investment projects cannot be continued because the money is just not there.

These are hard times for the government. Hardest of all, will be this coming 22nd of June.


Anonymous said...

Bolivia officials say suspects arrested in possible plot to kill president

This AP report leaves unclear the question of whether or not they were near the airport where Evo was to arrive and whether or not they belonged to UJC, but they did have "a Mauser rifle with a telescopic sight."

Anonymous said...

Notice that Yacuiba (in the Chaco section of Tarija) elected a subprefect last weekend, but the prefect in the city of Tarija, Mario Cossio, refuses to recognize that elected official. Because the election is illegal. So the department is rejecting a measure of autonomy, while advocating departmental-level autonomy.

Obviously there a many ways to game a democratic system, especially when lots of money is at stake. But some kind of negotiated autonomy seems reasonable to me.


galloglass said...

These guys were walking to their car with a 100 year old hunting rifle in its case about two miles from where Evo was. One is a tattoo artist and the other some kid. Not related to the UJC. They just happened to pass by some Delta Force members. The cops let them go, because they hadn´t committed any crime. Rada made a fool of himself again at his press conference yesterday.

Anonymous said...

The scope wasn´t even attached. THe part that it fits into was broken.

Anonymous said...

How do you know the facts?

galloglass said...

Because I'm in Santa Cruz and I watch the news and read the papers. I'm just repeating what the Chief of Police said.