August 23, 2008

Civil War in Bolivia?

MABB © ®

For the first time in this long crisis, I see, with fear, how the Beniano civic leader, Alberto Melgar seriously warns Bolivia and the government of civil war.

Melgar said:

“La situación en el departamento del Beni es insostenible, esto se nos está yendo cada vez más de las manos; nosotros estamos abogando para que no existan focos de violencia porque inclusive hay gente que quiere empuñar las armas, yo quiero decirle eso con mucha precisión: hay gente que quiere empuñar las armas para armar una revolución” (The situation in Beni is unsustainable, this is progressively going out of our hands, I want to say that with precision: there are people who want to raise arms to start a revolution).

This serious and public warning has to be taken as is by the government.

If the government keeps on trying on forcing its constitution, the situation can easily turn violent.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

So you're blaming this on the government and not the people who want to raise arms? To what extent do you think the people who voted for Evo are to blame?

--John

Locojhon said...

MAB,,,
I have to agree with John 2:41.
Your conclusion is akin to blaming the victim for the crime.
Aren't there laws against sedition, a coup, violent overthrowing of the democratically-elected government or the incitement of violence in Bolivia?

Isn’t there some kind of an oath sworn in Bolivia by elected officials, police and the military to protect and defend the nation, not the prefecture?

Here is a news flash for you, Miguel--over two years ago, the people of Bolivia voted for change by electing Evo Morales as President. Weeks ago, they ratified their decision for Evo and the reforms he intends to implement—by an increase of 125% of his original election results, and a resounding approval rating of 68%—he now has a mandate.

I think it is time for Pres. Morales to use his political capital to actively protect and defend the constitution, and to quell the seditious rhetoric and violence with first, a confirmation that natural resources are the property of Bolivia and for the benefit of her people.

Secondly, an investigation concerning how the properties to be redistributed were legally acquired, and if legitimate, the offer of a negotiated settlement issued, followed by the implementation and enforcement of judicial or ministerial decree. Those found to be living in Bolivia illegally (heads-up to Branko, Larsens et al???) should be permanently deported.

Operations should be undertaken unannounced one at a time, with the largest/most hostile resisters taken on first. Starting non-violently, any and all violence perpetrated by the property owners on the enforcers should be met with undeniably over-whelming deadly force in return, and all surviving provocateurs charged with appropriate crimes. Criminals should be punished and/or extradited for their crimes, the costs of which would be subtracted from any settlement monies, if any.

The value of all police/military/civilian casualties caused by the violence should be very highly valued, and also subtracted from offered settlements. The futility and costs of resistance will make future resistance less likely, while increasing the acceptance of settlement decrees. Those who comply, should be left with adequate resources (I've read both 2000 and 4000 hectares?) to be able to pursue their lives/livelihoods and remain productive. The formations of cooperatives as is being done in Venezuela should be encouraged. The goal of Bolivian sustainability should be actively supported.

I challenge you to look at the real roots of the violence, and you will see the twin roots of the privileged/corporate Bolivian elite, and the divisive funding/support of the USA—now both united so the continued pillaging of Bolivians and their resources can continue for another 500 years.

Ultimately, Bolivia is now being targeted as a proxy-war battleground, between the differing economic policies of neo-liberal Capitalism (socially subsidized benefiting the wealthy) versus Socialism (socially subsidized benefiting the people.)

Time after time, with the exception of Cuba, the EEUU has successfully quashed every other similar socialization effort, since at least the time Arbenz was deposed in Guatemala. Evo vowed to better the lives of all Bolivians, so now it is Bolivia’s turn once again.

After Morales was elected, in spite of EEUU efforts to defeat him, the US knew there would be resistance from the long empowered status-quo elite, and they have since devoted supportive resources toward creating maximum divisiveness within Bolivia.

A defeat of Socialism is the goal of US policy—let there be no mistake made about it--to let the rape of Bolivia's resources continue in the service of the local elite, in addition to the masters of corporatism they serve.

Do others see it differently, and if so, how?
Regards,,,Jhon

StJacques said...

locojhon,

The Bolivian Constitution that now governs the country provides that no amendment -- or rewriting of its contents in any form -- can become legal without a 2/3 vote of an established constituent assembly.  The Oruro constitution was written by the MAS while largely secluded at an army base and, much more importantly, it was approved by the assembly in late February due to the violent intervention of MAS protestors who denied entry into the building to opposition delegates who would have voted the text down had they been permitted to exercise their legal right and constitutional duty to vote within the assembly.

The Oruro constitution is only under consideration because of a serious act of revolutionary violence. Every Bolivian, even those in the minority, deserves to have the protection of constitutional law. If the Oruro constitution is put up for a referendum vote every Bolivian whose representative was forbidden from voting will be subjected to nothing less than pure tyranny when a majority passes it.

Now; on to the IDH revenues. Show me and everyone else where Morales got the legal authority to unilaterally redistribute the funds outside of congressional authorization. I understand there are arguments to be made under Bolivian law that as the executive he can act to temporarily withhold the transfer of funds authorized by law, but he cannot act to spend them elsewhere as Morales is intent upon doing with the renta Dignidad. And it does not matter whether you, I, or anyone else considers the renta a more humane, sound, or intelligent use of the money. What matters is the legal authority to spend it.

It is another instance in which Bolivian constitutional law is rendered meaningless.

Now I know you can make good arguments that the autonomy movements are unconstitutional as well. Yes they are, because it was only the 2006 framework that could establish their legality. But if Evo Morales assumes unto himself the right to ignore Bolivian constitutional law then the entire legal and political system it supports is undermined in turn. And no majority vote, or whatever percentage returned, in a revocatory referendum reestablishes that system. Only the enforcement of the laws that are on the books now can accomplish that objective.

If the Oruro constitution is put before the people for a vote when it was illegally approved by the constituent assembly due to a successful campaign of revolutionary violence -- the constitutional tribunal said it was illegal by the way -- then the right of revolution is legitimately extended to those who sought to preserve the non-violent functioning of constitutional law to use against those who chose violence.

Democracy and law go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. The MAS can claim popular democratic support because of the referendum vote but they cannot claim to have respected democracy within the constituent assembly because they used violence to overcome their lack of a 2/3 majority. Nor can they claim constitutional legality either, for the same reason.

If you want an idea on how to reestablish that legality, rollback the constituent assembly to mid-February and hold a second vote on the Oruro constitution in which all delegates are permitted to vote. That would be both democratic and legal. But Evo Morales and the MAS are actually neither, so it will not happen.

StJacques
   

Locojhon said...

StJacques,,,
I forgot. Or one of us did.
According to you, the history of the Oruro document started in Oruro, not in Sucre where the UJC and other equally seditious groups prevented the constitutional authority from meeting through mob rule and violence. (You must remember that, don't you?)
As a result, the process was moved to Oruro, where little if any violence was either threatened or occurred. (And really, after what had happened in Sucre, if there was violence in return, who could really blame them in a tit for tat world?)

Instead, you blame MAS actions in Oruro for the BOYCOTT of the process by the rightist factions, who thought that their legislative control could not be counted upon, and that the constitution would pass. They were not dissuaded from participating because of threats of violence, but rather they boycotted the proceedings because their efforts were relatively new and not well coordinated, and they feared some legislators might defect, and their obstructionist efforts would lose. And it might have.

You then expand the lies about how the constitution was passed in Oruro, to a fairly original ‘conduct of government’ concept, with the notion that somehow, if the first actually did occur as you suggest, that two wrongs somehow make a 'right', and therefore provide some kind of legitimacy for sedition and violence in return.
Nice try, but it won't fly. All but the most regressive understand that two wrongs never make a right, no matter how hard you might wish it.

What I found most interesting about your comment is that you didn't address any of the points I made. Instead, you throw out seasoned propagandist straw-man arguments to change the subject.
Again, nice try.
Care to try again?
Viva a free and united Bolivia,,,for all Bolivians!!!
Regards,,,John

Anonymous said...

I have not seen the prefects arguing against Evo's redistribution of the IDH on legal grounds. It was hard bargaining by Evo of course.

Tina Hodges has written: "Law 3058, Article 57. The law states that at a minimum, 4 percent of the tax must go to each producing department (Tarija, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and Chuquisaca) and 2 percent to each non producing department. It then provides that the executive branch will determine the distribution of the remainder." See http://ain-bolivia.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=109&Itemid=29

The November/December 2007 events leading to the passage of a draft constitution was marked by intimidation and violence by both sides. The description above by stjacques is biased, although clearly the legitimacy of that constitution was flawed. It could serve with the autonomy statutes as the basis for the good faith negotiations that never happened at the constitutional assembly.

And I'm still shocked, shocked that you, MABB, would quote Melgar threatening systematic violence, then move on to blame Evo for provoking it.

--John

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StJacques said...

locojhon,

Lies about how the constitution was passed in Oruro?

Here's an article:

http://www.elmundo.com.bo/Secundarianew.asp?edicion=29/02/2008&Tipo=Nacional&Cod=7386

Here's a photo:

http://www.eldeber.com.bo/2008/2008-02-29/images/0100.jpg

Here's a video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwZicbj1t9M

I suppose I made all those up didn't I?

Now as to the "points" you made ...

". . . the privileged/corporate Bolivian elite, and the divisive funding/support of the USA— . . ."

Get real!

And regardless of what you make of the decision to move the proceedings to Oruro -- and I do take issue with your explanation, but frankly the point is minor -- neither you nor anyone else can justify the prevention of the entry into the assembly hall of accredited and elected representatives to cast their vote. It did happen and the Oruro draft only passed as a result.

You have put up pure propaganda locojhon.

Now to John, posting Anonymously.

John, you have shown a willingness to engage in more pointed and detailed argument. I must address your counterpoint with more evidence.

First; while I have loaded the page at the link you provided, I am unable to read everything on that page due to some error in its development. The text runs off the "white center" at the right and some of the tables are either incomplete or entirely missing. That is not on you by any means, but I need to point that out because I instead want to go directly to the document you refer to in your comment.

I do have the link for the IDH law of 2005, which is:

http://www.hidrocarburos.gov.bo/Hidrocarburos/Documentos/Ley%20203058.pdf

Let me put up a translated quote and then return to your comment John.

From page 21 (as you referenced John)

ARTICLE 57 (Distribution of the Direct Hydrocarbons Tax). The Direct Hydrocarbons Tax (IDH) will be co-participated in the following manner:

a) Four percent (4%) for each one of the hydrocarbon producing departments of their corresponding audited departmental production.

b) Two percent (2%) for each non-producing department.

c) In the case of a hydrocarbons producing department existing with revenue less than that of some non-producing department, the Treasury General of the Nation (TGN) will level out its revenue up to the total received by the non-producing Department that receives the higher revenue by concept of coparticipation in the Direct Hydrocarbons Tax (IDH).

d)The Executive Authority will assign the balance of the Direct Hydrocarbons Tax in favor of the TGN, Indigenous and Peoples and Originarios, Rural Communities, Municipalities, Universities, Armed Forces, National Police and others.


The quoted excerpt of Article 57 I posted above does not just allocate 4% to the producing departments, and 2% to the non-producing departments, rather it requires that the 4% and 2% figures are disbursed immediately and then other disbursements may be appropriated under law -- this means the Bolivian congress and president agreeing upon such appropriations -- in which case they are limited by "c," which states that no producing department can receive a share smaller than a non-producing department and, if such is the case, the Bolivian treasury must balance it out. Only then can Morales distribute the remainder according to the guidelines listed in "d."

Now if you look at the second of those tables under "Distribution of Royalties and IDH ..." on the Andean Information Network page you can see the IDH revenue distribution separated by department. All of Bolivia's departments are receiving distributed royalties, not just the Media Luna and Chuquisaca. According to Article 57:c, if any producing department is receiving less than a non-producing one -- as the Media Luna and Chuquisaca clearly are at this moment -- the Treasury is supposed to level out the disbursement, and according to that text it must reach that of the highest disbursement of a non-producing department, because "some non-producing department" means "at least one non-producing department."

Morales has violated the Hydrocarbons Law of 2005 in seizing the IDH disbursements and the legislation passed by the MAS last November when the opposition was not present does not override a law certified by national referendum.

So the seizure of the IDH revenues by Evo Morales is illegal and the protest of the Media Luna and Chuquisaca is valid.

There is also a participatory law as well. It's late and I am uncertain as to whether this was passed by national referendum. If it was not then it can be overriden by legislation. But just to put it into the discussion, its effect is presented at:

http://www.bolpress.com/art.php?Cod=2005003158&PHPSESSID=c0a89974b229e134f40fb456f444cae7

I quote from the 2nd-to-last paragraph in translation:

"Of 100 percent of the IDH [revenues], 50% is for the General Treasury of the Nation (TGN) and the remaining 50% is for the producing and non-producing gas and oil regions."

StJacques
   

mabb said...

Oh, I am sorry I am not taking part of this discussion. I am at a conference right now and do not have access to internet, other than to quickly check what´s going on in Bolivia.

I will answer as soon as I get back home.

but, please continue...

Anonymous said...

Tipico de un hombre llamado igual que el ex-Presidente de Honduras, soldado y en su termino no tuvo progreso alguno.

StJacques said...

I must make one correction to my last post.

I wrote:

". . . how the constitution was passed in Oruro . . ."

The document was only finalized in Oruro. The Cerco occurred at the national congress in session as constituent assembly.

StJacques
  

Locojhon said...

StJacques,,,
Thank you. You laid out quite well a small part of why a new constitution is needed in Bolivia.
Regarding the distribution of the IDH, this article complete with the necessary real numbers tells the story. http://incakolanews.blogspot.com/2008/07/
(add w/o spaces) mo-money-evo-or-morales-hands-out-gas.html
More funding has been granted now under Morales than has ever been granted to the departments before. And still they whine for more, and are willing to forsake the elderly of Bolivia to do so. And you align yourself with those miscreants? It figures.
And then you have the chutzpah to try to label me a propagandist? From you, a dubious compliment, for sure.
Perhaps that is why you provide links to such biased, non-informative blatherings--the video showed no real violence, and the photo--that was a joke, right? And the paper the article came from—have they EVER had a kind word for Morales? I'm not suggesting you made anything up. What I'm saying is that you believe the propagandist lies being fed you by the elite-owned media. That's all--nothing sinister--just naive.
What about the origin of why the assembly was moved from Sucre and held in Oruro? Not addressed--merely brushed off by you as being inconsequential.
Do you deny that the EEUU has systematically destroyed (or at least tried to) virtually every nation whose citizens opted for socialist reform? How do you think it is done today? Have you not read John Perkins' "Economic Hit Man"? Or William Blum's books (including “Killing Hope”) regarding USA war making around the world, under Clinton the destruction of Yugoslavia, and now under Bush the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan? Or is all that just fiction, too? I’ll bet you think that the stationing of the same people who supervised Yugoslavia’s dismantling and are now in Bolivia is just a coincidence.
Uh huh,,,sure it is…..
To counter such entrenched oligarchy—who knows-- perhaps Morales took a page out of Bush's book and is using the concept of unitary executive to promote his agenda.
You ridicule the notion that this is all about the elite retaining control of the masses, and that US funds have helped fuel the anger. To do that, you have to deny the history that the USA has done it elsewhere; that it has in fact become a bi-partisan game for US Empire. What it all boils down to is it seems that you want continued socialism for the elite, while I want socialism for the masses. Your fear of reform has nothing to do with the rule of law, but is only to continue the status quo. I'd say that is strike two--care for the trifecta?
Viva a free and united Bolivia,,,for all Bolivians!!!
John

StJacques said...

locojhon,

I am more than aware of the history of U.S. policy toward leftist movements across the world and I have my own critique to offer as well, which will definitely separate me from many who consider themselves defenders of U.S. policies.

But "propagandist lies" from the "elite owned media"?  That is just an easy way to dismiss evidence that undermines an argument.  And I will not dismiss anything.

You mention the reasons why the constituent assembly was moved from Sucre.  I do not ignore that either and I can in no way condone the behavior of the Chuquisaqeños who went into the streets and lost control.  But the reaction to that violence was also one in which MAS activists were given cover by the National Police to wreak violence upon the Chuquisaqeños in return.  And I equally condemn their behavior.

You suggest that I want "socialism for the elites."  No; what I want is "democracy for all."  That means a political system based upon constitutional law.  I leave it to Bolivians to write their constitutional guidelines in a manner which answers to their own history, values, and cultural traditions.  But I recognize that the laws they did write, which are actually on the books now, are neither being obeyed nor enforced.  Evo Morales and the MAS did not have the 2/3 majority in the constituent assembly they needed in order to write the constitution according to their own wishes.  So to get around that they used a combination of their control of the regime coupled with revolutionary violence to artifically -- read illegally -- maneuver a document through a constituent assembly that will permit them to restructure the Bolivian state along the lines they wish to see it developed.  That is a violation of the rights of every Bolivian, but especially those who oppose the MAS agenda, to see their political system function according to law.

And what is happening now?  Have you seen the latest news locojhon?  Morales will summon a national referendum by decree to get approval of his constitution.  Bolivian constitutional law requires that such referenda be authorized by the national congress.  But Morales and the MAS do not control the Senate and will not get their authorization under Bolivian law, unless of course they call for another Cerco, which some of their adherents have urged, and once again resort to violence to present the artificial form of obeisance to law without being loyal to its substance.

Bolivia is heading for a terrible meltdown I do not wish to see come to pass.  I recognize that Evo Morales and the MAS have gained control of the regime by legitimate constitutional means -- free elections -- and while I may disapprove of their goals and policies, I cannot do anything but urge their opposition within Bolivia to accept what is accomplished under the rule of law, as well as urging those outside of the country to accept it for the same reason.  But the rule of law is not operational in this instance, because Morales and MAS are becoming a law unto themselves and the consequences for Bolivia will be tragic if they do not reverse course.

You will obviously want to point to the illegal constitutional course taken by the autonomists as a counterpoint to what I post about Morales and the MAS.  I have already qualified my opinion of their autonomic statutes as illegal under Bolivian constitutional law.  But those statutes came after the Cerco which demonstrated that Morales and the MAS were using their legal control of the regime to overthrow the Bolivian state that is embodied in the country's constitution.  That process of the overthrow of the Bolivian state has not run its course yet and there is still time in my opinion to stop it and return to constitutional legality.  But if the Oruro Constitution is imposed by means of the violence of the Cerco in February and a national referendum that is summoned by an illegal presidential decree, rather than through congressional authorization, then the process of overthrowing the Bolivian state in an illegal manner will be complete and at that point the autonomists will have both legal and moral justification to pursue revolution.  They do not have that justification now.  But if something is not done to turn the present process around that may change.

Laws are an antidote to anarchy and mass violence.  They are not an artifice by which the "US Empire" and the "elite media" exercise some hidden control over events.  The failure of the rule of law in Bolivia will be horrifying if something is not done to stop the downward spiral to conflict that is now underway.

StJacques
  

Locojhon said...

StJacques,,,
A much more reasonable response from you--thank you. It seems we agree on much more now than in earlier exchanges. I think we might even agree that Morales is up against a stacked system created by the oligarchs to prevent the reform that the majority of Bolivians are now calling for. The law of the oligarchy is what you want adhered to, not the will of the people. Perhaps you have confused rule-by-oligarchy with real democracy?
What we seemingly disagree about is what to do about the current conflict, with you opting for a clearly unpopular legislative solution (which now, with Morales ever-increasing popularity, would take place immediately after new representatives are voted and sworn in if new elections were held) while Morales wants to take the matter directly to the people for them to choose. Your suggestion that Morales' taking of extra-presidential powers by decree to give the people a vote to determine their own future as being undemocratic is at least minimally ironic when contrasted with your claimed desire for democracy. I don't know what dictionary you use, but mine (American Heritage) says nothing about 'constitutional law' in defining democracy; rather it describes a government by the people, either directly or through representatives.
We both seem to want no violence, nor for Bolivia to self-destruct (with unrecognized-by-you US help, of course). We both want no meltdown, but rather for Bolivia to succeed as a democracy, and for Bolivians to determine their own governance.
Lastly, you see US involvement as benign and I see it as destructive, deadly and on behalf of empire.
History is on my side, my friend—whether you choose to admit it or not.
John

Anonymous said...

Stjacques,

You might want to avoid starting with El Mundo and El Deber if you want to convince me. Youtube is OK, but remember the videos from Sucre Nov2007 which claimed that there were Venzuelan snipers on the roofs of buildings? You do not get much context from most video clips.

I'm not convinced by your argument on IDH either. You say "and then other disbursements may be appropriated under law -- this means the Bolivian congress and president agreeing upon such appropriations," but I don't see this in your translation of the law. One area where you might be right, is that La Paz is receiving more IDH revenue than Chuquisaca. That seems to violate (c), but of course northern La Paz does have gas fields and could reasonably be defined as a producing department. In any case, I don't see the prefects arguing the law and I don't think they'd be starting a war, or letting a war happen, based on the fine points of law.

I still think the driving force in all this has been the "Media Luna" attempting to not lose the 2005 election.

--John

StJacques said...

A quick response to Anonymous John -- I will want to post a response to locojhon later, when I have a little more time to write with care, since I will be addressing the interrelationships between Democracy and Law.

I mention that 57:c governs other appropriations in light of the second reference I posted to the "Participatory Law" that defines shares.  I perhaps could have been more clear to put the Participatory Law link up first and to say that 57:c "anticipates further legislative and/or referendum action" to finalize departmental shares.  I pointed to that table on the Andean Information Network to show that other departments are receiving larger shares of IDH revenues than the Media Luna and Chuquisaca after the withholding of those disbursements by Morales, which is in violation of the law as defined in 57:c.

The Media Luna has not been an altogether constructive force in the development of the current conflict.  I don't think anyone can make that claim and I certainly do not.  And I will agree that they would not be amenable to MAS rule under any circumstances.  But they did attempt to use the legal means at their disposal through the Podemos legislators in the Bolivian congress as well as through their failed attempt to secure national recognition through the 2006 autonomy referendums.  It was Evo Morales and the MAS who refused to abide by those same means in the Dos Tercios controversy in the constituent assembly deliberations.

The solution I would urge is to either rollback the constituent assembly process to the point just before El Cerco in late February and rehold the vote with all delegates permitted to cast their votes or even restart the constituent assembly from scratch with a renewed commitment by all to observe procedures established under Bolivian constitutional law.  Either of these options would render both the Oruro Constitution and the Autonomy Referenda votes conducted in the Media Luna invalid.  I do not think that any attempt to simply negotiate a compromise between the Oruro Constitution and the Autonomy Statutes can work because both are illegal and neither side will ever be willing to accept the other's violation of the law.  That is just my opinion, but there you have it.

And I know there has been some fiddling with the truth in the reporting on what took place in Sucre.  But the MAS activists did act with the protection of the police after the Chuquisaqueño protestors got out of hand.  The video clip I posted of what took place in the Cerco was from Bolivian television and was reported live in La Paz as it happened.

And as for El Mundo and El Deber, I find their selection of topics to be supportive of Podemos and the Media Luna political programs, but not their reporting, which has been accurate.  The various newspapers in Bolivia do keep an eye on each other, which is a degree of accountability.

StJacques
   

GS said...

CrazyJohn hit the nail on the head, it all depends on how "democracy" is defined. I used to think like Stjaques, that democracy (particularly my definition of democracy which is liberal democracy) was the greatest thing in the world. But of late I have had some very bad experiences in one country undergoing such a transition. The violence and suffering I saw and felt in a very intimate way significantly cooled my ardor for democratic transitions. I now think that democracy, while nice to have, comes at a very, very large human cost if the transition is not managed properly. For me, this cost in human suffering is too high to accept if such a democratic system is imposed, either by outside powers or internally through "revolution" or "counter-revolution." A slow but stable transition is, IMO, the way to go. So what if it takes 90 years? Democracy is a marathon, not a sprint. And this is where I think Evo's approach is going too far in not accommodating the opposition (and why I agree with Mabb's formulation, though I too found it slanted). Evo doesn't want to build the foundations for a more equitable and democratic Bolivia, however defined. He wants, instead, to build the whole shebang while still in power. The trade off is stability.

StJacques said...

Now; a response to locojhon ...

You wrote:

". . . Morales is up against a stacked system created by the oligarchs to prevent the reform that the majority of Bolivians are now calling for. The law of the oligarchy is what you want adhered to, not the will of the people. Perhaps you have confused rule-by-oligarchy with real democracy? . . ."

There is no such thing as "the oligarchy," at least as it is used to justify a leftist political agenda.  It implications border on conspiracy theory and it is no different that saying everyone is up against "the Empire" or "the Imperialists."

That having been said, in real world political terms there are definable interests opposed to the MAS program who have exercised an historically-unbeneficial influence within Bolivian political, economic, and social life.  I do not think anyone can deny, and certainly I do not, that the largely indigenous Andean population in Bolivia has been neglected and discriminated against over the course of decades, even centuries, by the various regimes that have ruled the country.  And there have been numerous groups one could identify as responsible for this neglect, but the most significant distinctions have been the racial and ethnic ones that separate the Europeans and Mestizos from the indigenous and Originarios.  The indigenous population was neglected because they were a racial and ethnic underclass and the historical consequences of that are profound, which is a central problem Bolivians must confront today.

With all of the above having been said, the question then arises "how can the problem be fixed?"  And the answer must be that the interests of that underclass are recognized and their lives and futures are made hopeful through development, that key term that is always at the center of discussion of third world social, economic, and political discourse.

Now there are differences of opinion as to how development can best be approached and as one who has lived in South America and Mexico I have been quite critical of both the insensitivity and, what I consider to be, "wrong headedness" many Americans have shown towards the problems of third world development.  For most of the post-second world war era, development policies were politically-mandated based upon American perceptions of Cold War threats or the lack thereof.  Since then a more fruitful debate and climate for policy formulation has ensued, but the cumulative weight of social and economic wrongs too-long-unaddressed has resulted in a new climate of political instability which I believe Americans must confront with the realization that our own failures to provide workable solutions are much to blame.

Obviously everyone must confront the reality that Evo Morales and the MAS represent the political will of the indigenous population in Bolivia.  I would not dream of attempting to exclude them from any political process working to develop the country.  But I do not believe we are witnessing a political movement take form and then act to reshape their country in a way that offers them a future within a more developed society because they are currently destabilizing Bolivia in their blatant disregard for both the law and the protections afforded to the political rights of others that are embodied in that law.  And if anyone wishes to argue that destabilization, just look at the title of the blog that started this thread.

The historical underpinnings of the current destabilization of Bolivia may originate in the underdevelopment of the indigenous Bolivian population, but the refusal of Morales and the MAS to abide by Bolivian constitutional law has propelled their opposition into strident actions of a nature that will create even more serious confrontation if the rule of law is not restored.  And the historical injustice done to the indigenous Bolivian population does not justify the overthrow of the law, because that represents a negation of the rights of everyone else, which is a certain recipe for calamity.

So no, I do not favor the "oligarchs," and I reject that there is a choice between "the oligarchs or the people," because the real choice is between an inclusive path for development that ends the historical discrimination and neglect of the indigenous Bolivian population or a destructive course that mandates conflict to a level that will only result in violence as each side comes to see its future as determined by the "us or them" scenario in a "zero sum game."

And just as a short side comment, my recommendations for a path for development are to transfer and/or give capital assets to the underdeveloped while simultaneously creating an economic environment in which capital is productive rather than emphasizing the distribution of consumable assets which create no interest or other assets in their use.  Morales and the MAS are emphasizing the redistribution of consumable assets and are promoting political destabilization that will create an economic environment in which capital will be most unproductive.  Even if they succeed politically, they will fail economically and socially.  We can pick that up in another discussion.

Now; Democracy, Law, Legislative Solutions, etc....

I am not so naive as to believe that the democratic process alone guarantees success in a developing society.  No; democracy in developing societies can frequently create its own problems.  I specifically mention the tendency to implement policies that create economic dependencies upon the state which create political dependencies in their turn, trapping developing societies in a vicious circle in which, on the one hand, they cannot undo the status quo and reallocate capital resources for growth and development because it will create political destabilization and, on the other, they cannot ignore the status quo because its drain on national resources prevents growth and development.  But in one way or another the only process that can produce the product of effective policy is one in which political disputes and popular tensions are resolved within an orderly climate regulating change.  That is the relevance of the observance of law as a necessary underpinning to the success of democracy.  A functioning system of law that is enforced and administered equitably is the best guarantee -- I did not say "perfect guarantee" -- that the eventual formulation of effective policy can develop to remedy problems.  I emphasize a stable process rather than an effective product because the development of the latter is dependent upon the former.

Finally; locojhon you wrote:

"History is on my side, my friend—whether you choose to admit it or not."

If you mean the "inevitability of socialist economy," I am absolutely certain that the lessons of history say exactly the opposite.  The failure of the Soviet Union looms large, Cuba is still an underdeveloped society after 50 years of Castroite rule, Chavez is a disaster -- the murder rate in Caracas is higher than Baghdad, supermarket shelves are unstocked, and economic statistics are unknown.  Even the Communist Chinese recognized as early as the late 1970's that the economic inefficiencies of socialist economy required a return to protection of private property so as to develop a pricing system in which economic actors could communicate wit each other effectively.  If that is what you meant by "history" being on your side, then I disagree pointedly.

But there is one historical lesson I believe does apply here with which I think you may agree.  There is no greater threat to democracy than the impoverishment of a people.  That definitely has taken place in Bolivia and we should not be surprised that its current effect threatens democratic institutions.  I retain the hope that an orderly functioning of Bolivian political life will return so that a terrible calamity that I believe is very close right now can be avoided.  And for the reasons I have stated above I am convinced that is the only path in which a workable solution to the problem of poverty in Bolivia can be developed.

StJacques
   

Kevin said...

Jhon,

While reading your post - I first thought you were Sacha Llorenti. Get with it man - Evo's majority vote was at least 15% fabricated, probably 20-25%.

Registered land is the property of the registered owner. No one can take that away - even Evo - under the current Codigo Civil. Even if the Masistas cheat (again) to change the Consitution - they will have to deal with the Civil Code.

If after saneamiento and inscription the Evo govt takes land - well, then as always in history. There will be blood.

Careful

kevin

Locojhon said...

StJacques,,,
You stated: "There is no such thing as "the oligarchy," at least as it is used to justify a leftist political agenda. It implications border on conspiracy theory and it is no different that saying everyone is up against "the Empire" or "the Imperialists.""

Oh, really? Is that why less than 1% own more than half the tillable land in Bolivia? Is that why Bolivia has one of the most unequal distributions of wealth in the world? Come on! Certainly you don't really believe that crap you write, do you?

Then we mostly agree until this: "I would not dream of attempting to exclude them from any political process working to develop the country."
To which I have to ask--what??? ‘They’ just convincingly won, and if you were running things, you wouldn't dream of excluding them? What unmitigated hubris!! (You let on you were a gringo (also) so that attitude kind of figures, I'm ashamed to say.)

You continue "But I do not believe we are witnessing a political movement take form and then act to reshape their country in a way that offers them a future within a more developed society because they are currently destabilizing Bolivia in their blatant disregard for both the law and the protections afforded to the political rights of others that are embodied in that law." (In your view, it is all about Morales/MAS doing the destabilizing, right? How totally propagandist of you to say so!)

Then: "And if anyone wishes to argue that destabilization, just look at the title of the blog that started this thread." You cite as an authority the title of a friggen blog??? Is that ALL you've got?

Later, you: "And just as a short side comment, my recommendations for a path for development are to transfer and/or give capital assets to the underdeveloped while simultaneously creating an economic environment in which capital is productive rather than emphasizing the distribution of consumable assets which create no interest or other assets in their use. Morales and the MAS are emphasizing the redistribution of consumable assets and are promoting political destabilization that will create an economic environment in which capital will be most unproductive. Even if they succeed politically, they will fail economically and socially. We can pick that up in another discussion."

Lots of words, lots of broad generalities—and with no--zero-- particulars. Please indulge me, oh sainted one. Given that Morales has lowered the national debt dramatically, increased the minimum wage, added an old-age benefit, invested lots of money in infrastructure, has gained control over the exploitation of Bolivia's natural resources for the benefit of ALL Bolivians--please describe in more detail how YOUR economic plans for Bolivia would be of greater benefit for ALL Bolivians. Take your time,,, I'll wait.

Then--all is not lost--we agree here: “ But in one way or another the only process that can produce the product of effective policy is one in which political disputes and popular tensions are resolved within an orderly climate regulating change."

Good--at least we both do not want Bolivia to become another Yugoslavia, Iraq or Afghanistan (or at least I don’t want that for Bolivia--you I'm not so sure.)

Then another classic straw-man argument by you here: If you mean the "inevitability of socialist economy," I am absolutely certain that the lessons of history say exactly the opposite."

And I certainly understand why you not only manufacture that thought, but why. The examples you mention of the Soviet Union and Cuba--without mentioning the intentional impediments imposed upon them--for example the trade and commerce sanctions imposed by the USA on Cuba for over 40 years--Nope--You are right,,,those failed-state Cubans-- just fell by their own weight, and the weight of the world's largest military/economic power imposed upon them had nothing to do with it. As my British friends might say--Rubbish!

Further down, you scorn Venezuela--also without recognizing the entrenched oligarchy against Chavez there, either, nor the efforts of the US to depose him.

In your view, this is "inconsequential"--in the same manner you dismiss anything you can't counter with facts. Here is a film about Venezuela which might give you an update: http://vodpod.com/watch/269466-no-volveran-the-venezuelan
(add w/o spaces to)
-revolution-now?pod=dandelionsalad (and Bolivia’s version might be even better for all Bolivians.)

One final point of agreement here: "There is no greater threat to democracy than the impoverishment of a people." Which is strangely followed immediately by an amazingly juxtaposed contortion: "That (the impoverishment you meant, right?) definitely has taken place in Bolivia and we should not be surprised that its current effect threatens democratic institutions.”

Here, StJacques , you expose yourself as a propagandist by not bothering to mention how and under whose leadership that very impoverishment occurred—that it was not under Evo, whose governance has worked successfully to diminish that situation, but under the previous administrations which worked hard to cause it. Are you so blind as to not see that?

Not believing that anyone could be so unaware, I am left with no choice but to see it as more propaganda from you.

Sorry, StJacques--that's strike three, and you're out--at the very least, out to lunch and seemingly out of touch with reality as well.
Regards,,,John

Locojhon said...

@Kevin,,,
OMG!! Another propagandist climbs out from under a rock! Welcome! How many international observers would it take to convince you that the vote was correct? Is there any number that would satisfy you?
Your assertion that the vote was off by 20-25% is beyond ludicrous, and requires no further comment.

Next, your claim that "Registered land is the property of the registered owner. No one can take that away - even Evo - under the current Codigo Civil. Even if the Masistas cheat (again) to change the Consitution - they will have to deal with the Civil Code." Kevin,,,that essentially means that no matter whether the title was granted illegally through force, corruption or bribes, it still stands? I don't think so--as a matter of fact, I'd bet that Bolivian law does not recognize illegal transactions--any takers?

Next you say "If after saneamiento and inscription the Evo govt takes land - well, then as always in history. There will be blood."

There might be blood shed by many--freedom often requires it--but that blood will be on the hands of those provoking it in opposition to the governance the Bolivian people have chosen. It is without question that the Morales government has so far been very judicial in its use of force, in spite of radical forces being used against it.

Lastly you warn--"Careful"--and I take that as a threat or warning about my expressing my freedom of speech, and my reply to you is G-F-Y, you brain-washed propagandist-trainee.

StJacques said...

locojhon,

I'll give you a response tomorrow since it's late and I have to turn in.  But I suggest you examine your use of language towards Kevin and your overall attitude.  Most of the discussions that have taken place here on the MABBlog have generally been cordial and constructive.

StJacques
   

mabb said...

Hi, back again. Heated discussion here.

Before I go on answering I want to STRONGLY second StJacques and ask you Locojohn, not to get personal and much less use foul language. We all want to hear/read your arguments and those words just get in the way! So please let's keept it civil. After all, it's just politics, nothing else.

@John: sorry I shocked you! :-) But, I do think that, to a greater extent, the responsibility lies on the country's leadership.

In this case, I argue that what the pro-autonomic provinces do is react to the government's actions. If the government pushes for its agenda even in a radical way, chances are the opposition will feel it can too act in a radical way.

Anonymous said...

Mabb,

And vice versa. If the civicos push for their agenda even in a radical way, chances are the national government will feel it can too act in a radical way. So we disagree.

And I don't understand why you two would criticize locojhon's language without recognizing Kevin's provocation. Kevin speaks with dead certainty, gives no evidence, and threatens blood. Locojhon might live in Sucre or Cochabamba or Barrio 3000--who knows? I don't think Kevin's language belongs on an academic blog. But it's your blog. Be as one-sided as you need to be.

mabb said...

@John: Well, read the written words as you need to read them, that is your prerogative. But, all I am saying is to keep foul language out of the conversation and be respectful to everybody.

If you feel provoked, don't, or outright ignore it. I souldn't need to say this!

StJacques said...

locojhon,

I'm going to make a first response to the issue of who is most responsible -- I do see some shared guilt -- for the political destabilization of Bolivia, which I will argue is a fault that lies clearly with Evo Morales and the MAS, who I believe have thrown Bolivian constitutional law right out the window.  I will make a second post later to address my critique of the MAS program and present my view of its prospects for the future development of Bolivia, especially as it relates to the distinctions between state investment in capital vs. consumable assets.  I want to separate these two issues for now.

Since the issue of my grasp of reality has been raised, I would like to provide more documentation of evidence I believe supports my view that the MAS are primarily responsible for the current destabilization of the country from sources I believe should be recognized as credible.  I will first present information exclusively from two articles of February 29 of this year, the day after the Cerco, from La Razón, the La Paz newspaper that opposes the autonomy movements in its editorial policies and which I believe should be viewed as a neutral observer.

This first article directly qualifies the violent nature of the event, I'm going to post the title, subtitle, and first two paragraphs in the original Spanish and then the translation into English for ease of reference.

Original Spanish Text:
-----------------------------------------
Con un cerco de violencia, el MAS convoca a 2 referendos
El oficialismo aprobó tres leyes.  Dos convocan a las consultas constitucionales para el 4 de mayo, fecha del referéndum cruceño, y la tercera quita legalidad a las consultas de Santa Cruz y Beni.

En sólo media hora, el Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) echó ayer por tierra el diálogo político para buscar una salida a la crisis y aprobó dos leyes para la convocatoria a los referendos constitucionales y una tercera que anula la legalidad de las consultas que se llevan adelante en Santa Cruz y Beni para aprobar sus estatutos autonómicos.

Una jornada de tensión marcada por la violencia de un cerco político organizado por las bases sociales del oficialismo concluyó anoche con la sanción en el Congreso de las tres leyes, que hoy serán promulgadas por el presidente Evo Morales.

...
-----------------------------------------

English Translation:
-----------------------------------------
With a seige of violence, the MAS convenes 2 referendums
Officialdom approved three laws.  Two convene the constitutional consultations for the 4th of May, the date of the Cruceño referendum, and the third removes legality from the Santa Cruz and Beni [referenda] consultations.

In only half an hour, the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) yesterday threw to the ground political dialog seeking an exit from the crisis and approved two laws for the convening of constitutional referendums and a third that annuls the legality of the consultations that are being carried out in Santa Cruz and Beni for the approval of their autonomic statutes.

A day of tension marked by the violence of a political siege organized by the social bases of officialdom concluded last night with the sanction of three laws in the Congress, which will be promulgated today by President Evo Morales.

...
-----------------------------------------

Its says Officialdom approved three laws.  Not the people or their duly-elected representatives.  Just the MAS regime and its political base acting as though they can govern as a law unto themselves.  And how did they manage to do that?  By violence, as the title and second paragraph make clear.

This second article from La Razón makes clear that only supporters of the MAS were permitted entry into the legislative chambers and that the local police were replaced by "union police" affiliated with MAS-controlled unions.  I'm going to post the title, subtitle, and paragraphs six and seven in the original Spanish and in translation.

Original Spanish Text:
-----------------------------------------
Las bases masistas tomaron el centro del poder con violencia
Los sectores sociales tomaron la plaza Murillo y las calles adyacentes.  Sólo se permitió el ingreso de los parlamentarios del oficialismo. La policía sindical reemplazó a los efectivos del orden.

...

El estallido de las dinamitas marcó la presencia de los mineros que llegaron a reforzar la movilización.  Luego, la policía sindical reemplazó a los efectivos del orden, que se convirtieron en espectadores de sus acciones.

Los protagonistas del cerco impidieron el ingreso a la plaza Murillo de toda persona que no sea legislador del MAS o afín a su partido, y agredieron a los diputados opositores que intentaban acceder al Congreso.

...
-----------------------------------------

English Translation:
-----------------------------------------
The Masista bases took the center of power with violence
The social sectors took the Plaza Murillo and adjacent streets.  Only the parliamentarians of officialdom were permitted entrance.  The union police replaced the local police forces.

...

The exploding of dynamite marked the presence of miners who arrived to reinforce the mobilization.  Later, the union police replaced the local police forces, who were converted into spectators of their actions.

The protagonists of the siege prevented the entrance to the Plaza Murillo of all persons who were not legislators of the MAS or related to their party, and they attacked opposition deputies who were trying to gain access to the Congress.

...
-----------------------------------------

There you have it, plain as day.  The local police force is moved out of the way by MAS-controlled union "police," miners show up and begin exploding dynamite in downtown La Paz to intimidate anyone who might dare to challenge them, only MAS legislators and their allies were permitted entrance into the plaza and the Congress, where the MAS held a one-party vote on the draft of the Oruro constitution, claiming they had the authority of the national Congress, and which they now maintain makes the submission of the Oruro draft legal.

To take control of a major institution of the national government -- the Bolivian Congress -- by violence, to deny duly-elected representatives their right to vote in the deliberations of the body by violence, to remove and replace local police forces so as to prevent their enforcement of the law; well, what more needs to be said?  That was nothing less than a golpe de estado and it will represent the overthrow of the state by violence if that draft of the constitution is enforced as the legal foundation for the Bolivian state.  And now, Evo Morales is taking authority unto himself to convene a referendum to vote on this constitution by decree, when the Bolivian constitution that is now in force requires the approval of the Congress in full session.  Is there any constitutional requirement for the making of laws the MAS will respect?

I expect the retort to my last question will be some reference to the support Morales received in the recent recall referendum.  But if that is held up as a counterpoint to the violation of the legislative process -- that is a part of democracy too -- which is outlined in the crime against democracy and the Bolivian people in El Cerco on February 28 of this year, then should we not also hold the MAS equally accountable for obeisance to other national referenda that have passed and whose results are on the books?  I have already referred to the Hydrocarbons Law above, which was passed by popular referendum in July, 2004 and complimented later by the distribution of IDH revenues above the 4% (producing departments) and 2% (non-producing departments) shares declared in its Article 57, but in accordance with minimum disbursements for producing departments outlined in sub-section "c" of that article.  What did Morales and the MAS do to change the distribution shares so that they could re-target the revenues for the renta Dignidad pensions?  Under Bolivian constitutional law they must get a referendum bill through both houses of the Bolivian Congress and convene another referendum to overrule the earlier popular consult of July, 2004.

Well let's go back to another La Razón article of November 28, 2007.  I will post title, subtitle, and the first three paragraphs in the original Spanish and in translation.

Original Spanish Text:
-----------------------------------------
La renta es ley y la Asamblea sesionará donde pida el MAS
Sin opositores, el MAS aprobó la renta Dignidad para los mayores de 60 años con recursos del IDH. En medio de un cerco, facultó a Silvia Lazarte convocar a la plenaria de la Asamblea en cualquier punto del país.

Recurriendo a un cerco al Palacio Legislativo con campesinos, el MAS sancionó anoche en una sesión de Congreso, en ausencia de los parlamentarios de la oposición, la ley de la renta Dignidad y aprobó una sorpresiva norma que faculta a la directiva de la Constituyente a convocar sesiones en cualquier punto del país.

La sesión del Congreso fue convocada para las 15.00 con el objetivo de tratar la renta Dignidad. Pasado el mediodía, los campesinos cercaron la plaza Murillo; impidieron el tráfico vehicular y controlaron el ingreso de parlamentarios a la sesión, estrategia similar a la utilizada por la Constituyente en último fin de semana en Sucre. El control fue alternado con algunas danzas originarias, dándole un ambiente de fiesta, luego de que marcharon por ocho días, desde Caracollo, para presionar en la aprobación de esta norma.

Ante esta situación, cerca de las 16.00, el jefe de Podemos y los senadores denunciaron el atropello y pidieron al presidente nato del Congreso, Álvaro García, que se les otorgue garantías para ingresar a sesionar.

...
-----------------------------------------

English translation:
-----------------------------------------
The pension is law the [Constituent] Assembly will meet where the MAS requests
Without opposition, the MAS approved the Dignity pension for those over 60 years old with resources of the IDH.  In the midst of a siege, they empowered Silvia Lazarte to convene the plenary of the [Constituent] Assembly anywhere in the country.

Resorting to a siege at the Legislative Palace with campesinos, the MAS sanctioned at a session of the Congress last night, in the absence of parliamentarians of the opposition, the law of the Dignity pension and adopted a surprising rule that empowers the director of the Constituent Assembly to convene sessions anywhere in the country.

The session of the Congress was convened at 1500 hours [3:00 p.m.] with the objective of dealing with the Dignity pension.  After noon, the campesinos surrounded the Plaza Murillo; they impeded vehicular traffic and controlled the entrance of parliamentarians at the session, a strategy similar to that used at the Constituent Assembly last weekend in Sucre.  The control was alternated with some originario dances, giving it a party atmosphere, after marching for eight days, from Caracollo, to pressure for the adoption of this rule.

Faced with this situation, around 1600 hours [4:00 p.m.], the leader of Podemos and senators denounced the outrage and asked the ex officio chairman of the Congress, Alvaro Garcia, that he give them guarantees to enter and join the session.

...
-----------------------------------------

This was not a session of the Constituent Assembly that was boycotted by Podemos and the Media Luna.  This was a session of the regular Congress in which the MAS prevented their opposition from entering so they could control the vote.  The MAS does not have control of the Bolivian Senate and the measure would have failed there, exactly as would be the case later in February of this year when the Oruro draft of the constitution would come up for a vote.  And there was no boycott of the proceedings by the opposition, as was the case with the Constituent Assembly.  The MAS simply decided it would use force to go through the motions of the democratic process without permitting legally-elected opposition representatives to participate so that they could write laws as they wished.  Free elections without legal participation by those elected is not democracy.  And if force is used, as was the case here, it is something much worse than resistance.  Since the MAS controls the police authority in La Paz by virtue of Morales's presidential administration, and they did not intervene to stop the exclusion of the opposition, the result is nothing less than pure tyranny if it becomes law.

And the above-mentioned issue predates the decision of the Departments of Santa Cruz and Beni to schedule their departmental autonomy referendums and can certainly be viewed as a contributing cause, since the intent is to strip those departments of a major source of tax revenue -- by the blatantly illegal means of denying their elected representatives the opportunity to vote in the national Congress -- that was supposedly guaranteed them under law.

So what do we have after all of this?  Here is a brief summary of violations of the democratic process and constitutional law by Evo Morales and the MAS as described in this post above, joined together with my earlier posts in this thread:

1.  The decision to strip the eastern departments of IDH revenues for diversion to the renta Dignidad was illegal since it came by virtue of a congressional session in which opposition representatives, who would have defeated the measure, were forcefully denied entrance to the proceedings by the MAS.

2.  The withholding of the IDH revenues Morales is now implementing is illegal because it violates Article 57, clause c, a law that has not been overturned by a popular referendum vote authorized by a legislative act passing both houses of Congress in legal session.

3.  The Oruro draft of the constitution was only passed by means of the exercise of violence in the Plaza Murillo on the evening of February 28 of this year in a session in which the opposition delegates -- again, who would have defeated the measure -- were prevented from voting by the MAS.

4.  The constitutional referendum vote Morales is now calling for by presidential decree is also illegal because such action requires the authorization of the Bolivian Congress, which he chooses to ignore.

So yes; the argument that Morales and the MAS have done the most to destabilize democracy in Bolivia is quite sound.

I will offer this comment by way of critique of Podemos and the Media Luna.  While I regard the current Paro (stoppage) they are undertaking in the eastern departments as a legitimate and legal tactic of non-violent resistance, I believe it is fair to criticize them for not resorting to this means of protest before passing their individual departmental autonomy referendums.  Those referendums do not meet the test of constitutional legality under Bolivian law either and, even though their defense that they were reacting to more serious constitutional violations of Morales and the MAS is sound, I believe that their legal and moral justification for opposing Morales's actions would be significantly strengthened if they had waited until the Oruro draft referendum was decreed before scheduling their autonomy referenda in the form in which they passed them earlier this summer.  The course of action Podemos and the Media Luna have pursued has made dialog almost impossible, since they cannot ask Morales to take his constitution off the table without also being asked to take their autonomy referenda off as well.

Then there is land reform.  Though I believe you may need to check the specifics of the language you have used to present your statistics on land locojhon, there can be no doubt that there is concentrated land ownership in Bolivia which does require redistribution.  But you present the point with what I take to be the implication that only the MAS favors a limitation of landholdings.  That is not at all true and, if you can read Spanish, you can see the various distinctions among the Bolivian political parties towards land reform at this link.  Podemos has its own proposals and they appear to make sense to me given that the Podemos program does not impose a "one size fits all" solution such as that of the MAS, because the Podemos program recognizes that in eastern Bolivia the land use requirements for cattle raising are much different than those for the cultivation of crops elsewhere.  In the cattle ranching sections of northeastern Bolivia one hectare (2.34 acres) of land is required for each head of cattle, in the drier Grand Chaco of the southeastern portion of the country, 5 hectares per head of cattle is needed.  If the MAS program is imposed, and its particulars are really based upon agricultural conditions affecting crop cultivation in western Bolivia, it will encourage overgrazing of land, with the resultant loss of topsoil, impoverishment of the cattle-raising farming community, and an acceleration of deforestation in those areas as well.  The MAS program for land reform is not the only one proposed, and its implementation could portend for both economic and environmental disaster.

And I must add here that some of the actions undertaken by the INRA to forcefully implement land redistribution in the Media Luna have not been targeted at breaking up large landholdings, but have rather been focused upon forested areas and the land was to be parceled out to Cocaleros seeking to expand the production of coca into a region where it is not widely cultivated and where the local populace wants it kept out.

There is a lot to this story.  Neither side is clean, but it is clearly Evo Morales and the MAS who have engaged in the most blatant disregard for constitutional law and legislative practice.  And they are the only ones who have produced any result that pushes their program forward through violence.  The Media Luna and Chuquisaca have nothing to show that advances their autonomic pursuits that was achieved in any way except through the ballot box, however questionable the legal basis for pursuing that course may be.

I still maintain that both sides must drop everything that has happened since the breakdown of the Constituent Assembly and re-enter that process under the recognized norms of Bolivian constitutional law.  I am convinced that if that does not happen, we will be witnessing a tragedy in Bolivia when the opposition to Morales and the MAS find themselves with no other alternative but to meet the violent and illegal restructuring of the Bolivian state with armed resistance.  I pray that does not happen.  It is the last thing I want.

StJacques
   

Anonymous said...

MABB,

My intent was not to threaten. If the current president of Bolivia tries to take registered land away - then, based on my long-term study of land tenure disputes in latin america, I suspect there will be violence and as a result blood. I was not saying jhon's blood will be split.

And yes, the current government of Bolivia should be "careful" to not cause additional violence. I am not going to read jhon's long responses - only to say, that under the current land reform law and current codigo civil and current constitution - if the Registrar registers your property you are guaranteed ownership. If the adquiscion of the property can be proven as fradulent in a Bolivian court of law, then the judge can change the ownership and instruct the Registrar to change the ownership.

Jhon, on a personal note 1) i dont fight people over internet; 2) there are few rocks where i live - mostly farm fields and grazing land; 3) I dont know what "GFY" is, perhaps an acronym in castellano, quecha, amayra?; 4) as for trainee, you don't know me so I don't don't feel I need to respond.

I am glad you feel passionately about Bolivia - we are just on opposite sides of the debate. Good luck and maybe I'll see you in the Plaza Murrillo or el Chapare.

Kevin

Anonymous said...

Was it not Evo himself that led strikes and blockades ... some of his own tactics being used against him

If he got such a legit majority (2/3)... why is the country in such upheaval... may the central isuue is like in Venezuela... even Simon bolivar said power should not be given to i=one person for so long.

will all the venezuelan loyalty payoffs to military leaders in order to avoid a coup work?

What vever happen to that Lt Navas guy who blew up the tv station

Lastly... will the military leadership comply if given orders by evo to crush their own people