July 30, 2008

August Will Be a Hot Month in Bolivia

MABB © ®

One can already see the wave of protests and political bickering approaching to Bolivia in August.

First and foremost will be the August 10 recall referendum. It will bring an intense campaign, as well as potential for violence with both sides trying to force the vote for either side.

At the same time there is a wave of demonstrations, strikes, marches and other actions coming. One of them is the August 8 strike by the transport sector. Mainly in Cochabamba, this group wants to increase fares, to which the government is opposed arguing the benefits from gas subsidies are enough to offset any loses. The government also announced punishment to those bus drivers who increase fares. The strike will be for 24 hours and perhaps will go beyond that.

In addition, Central Workers Union (COB) has been staging protests and marches to force the government to stop its plans for a redesign of the pensions system and instead take into account the union's own proposal. The COB was already repressed in Cochabamba where police broke the road blocks. However, the COB has announced the intensification of the protests and has indicated that these protests will take place mainly in La Paz.

In Santa Cruz, there is a hunger strike planned for these days. The civic organizations in cooperation with some groups aligned with the departmental government want to fast to force the government give back the proceeds emerging from the sell of natural gas (IDH). This includes Tarija, Beni, Pando, Sucre and Sta. Cruz.

In addition, around the country there are a number of protests and road blocks pressuring the government for this and that. In Sucre, the teacher's union has been blocking access roads because they demand better pay.

Finally, the MAS aligned cocaleros in Cochabamba have expressed their intention to stage marches and even intervene the offices of some departmental electoral courts if they do not continue with the organization of the recall referendum.

August will be a busy month for people who cover Bolivia.


galloglass said...

Miguel: Did you hear this nugget from Evo yesterday?

“Yo he aprendido que, por encima de lo legal, está lo politico. Por eso, cuando mis asesores me dicen ‘Evo, lo que estás haciendo es ilegal’, yo les digo: ’si es ilegal, háganlo legal. Para eso han estudiado…”

mabb said...

Yes, he has been complaining about it since he came into office, he could not do anything he wanted. At one point he even said his hands were tied up. That is one major reason he has forced his Constitution. He badly needs this new set of laws for him to implement his 'revolution'.

Gringo said...

Here is an article by Eduardo Paz : ¿Que Pasa en Bolivia? at the Gustavo Coronel website. As many of you know, Gustavo is a Venezuelan Petroleum Geologist residing in the US who is not one of the Friends of Hugo.

I would agree with the author’s opinion of the excellent diction of the Spanish spoken in Bolivia, compared with that spoken in the Caribbean, which to a gringo sounds like the Noo Yawk equivalent of Spanish.

Galloglass’s quote from Evo reminds me very much of Hugo- or Louis XIV. ( I am the state.)

mabb said...

Funny you mention that, I was just talking with a friend yesterday about how annoying I found the paceno accent. And I am paceno.

After more than twenty years of continuous absence from La Paz, once I came back I found the paceno accent pretty annoying. More than the accent I found the intonation annoying. This slow up and down syllables and the even longer ending. And of course, the vocabulary. I had to get up to speed, because my vocab was over 20 years older.

But, yes I agree, compared with some countries in Central America, Bolivians speak a wonderful Spanish. However, Bolivian Spanish is not the best. So far as I know, the best Spanish in Latin America is spoken in Colombia. That is even better than in Spain, grammatically correct!

But, one thing is true, Bolivians speak slow and therefore easy to understand. At least that is what my gringo friends have told me.

Kevin said...

Nice discussion - I was always told (by my Bolivian wife) that the Bolivians spoke the best spanish. But I think it is more of what MABB has said - it is slower and therefore, us gringos can understand easier. I am no linguist, but after travelling to Bolivia 4-5 times a year for the past 10 years - I will say that recently I have noticed an increased "Paceno accent". More 'clicking' and 'sishing' and I sense this is the result of more indigenous people in government positions since Evo and the MAS took control of the patronage lever. It would all be quaint if these rookies were not totally destroying the country.

Anonymous said...

No way...the best Spanish is spoken in Bolivia - as a foreigner, I find the paceno accent much easier to understand than any other I've encountered. Colombians, like Chileans, speak too quickly.