September 13, 2008

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Back home from a really good conference in Bergen, Norway, I wanted to get cought up with what is going on in Bolivia and write an update. However, instead of doubling the work, I will give a short update and suggest a couple of links, where updates are plenty and interesting.

The Bolivian government has confirmed 16 people dead (among them one military officer) days (since September 11) of confrontation between the MAS and autonomist opposition forces and the military and autonomist forces in Pando. These days have been the most violent under the Morales presidency and it doesn't seem to be an end in view.

The government, in response to the violence, has issued decree DS29705 which orders a state of emergency (martial law), where no one can be outside. This has been done to restore security and stability. But, there were already reports that the martial law did not have total effect because some protesters occupied other government offices in Pando.

Meanwhile, the military has responded to Hugo Chavez's intentions to intervene in Bolivia if anything was to happen to Morales or his government. The General in command, Luis Trigo Antelo (who is from Santa Cruz, btw.) has said the Bolivian military will not permit any foreign intervention.

On the international arena, I am sure you already know, the Bolivian-US relations are demoted to a 'relationship' instead of a partnership. The two respective ambassadors are heading home and the two countries are at the lowest point of their relationship. The American side will revise the relationship to see if it still makes sense to continue the current cooperation.

There has also been some interesting discussion, mostly in the comments section of Pronto*, about the role of the military. There are many people who are asking themselves, where is the army?

Pay a visit to Miguel at Pronto*. He has been following the events. St Jaques, has a post here discussing recent events.

More links to come....

Dramatic photo stream.