September 14, 2008

Bolivia Update!

MABB © ®

This image I found in El Deber shows that the situation in Bolivia is scarily resembling more and more a civil war. For more of these images visit El Deber and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

On the back of these images, we can see a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. The Conalde (Consejo Nacional Democratico) and the government have started a dialogue and they are set to come to some sort of agreement today Sunday, September 14. The issues talked were the suspension of the martial law, the return of the infrastructure taken from occupied government offices, the IDH (natural gas taxes), constitutional reform and autonomy. Let's just hope they make sure that light is not an oncoming train!

On the part of the opposition, the particular topics to be negotiated are: The autonomy process, the devolution of the IDH to the Prefectures, to avoid the discount of all the costs the recent disturbances caused on government offices. Mario Cossio, chief negotiator and Prefect of Tarija, said that the repeal of the martial law and other measures the government might want to use, such as the encarceration of the Pando Prefect, Leopoldo Fernandez, will have to be included.

On the part of the government the agenda should look like this: The discussion over the Oruro constitution, the IDH and the financing of the Dignity Rent (Renta Dignidad), the autonomic processes and the suspension of all the pressure measures.

There seems to be a consensus of using international mediators.

Meanwhile, the lower chamber in Congress keeps on going ahead with the consideration of the bill submitted by Morales and has done the necessary modifications to the electoral law in order for this bill to be sent to the Senate. This work is still going on, even though this is the very problem that started the latest disturbances. This shows the government is serious on its course of change.

In addition, Morales launched in Cochabamba his campaign to approve his constitution amidst the violence still developing in Pando.

There is no clear path to be observed that tells us how the government is moving. I think these, at times very contradictory, signals from the part of the government are contributing greatly to the escalation of the conflict in Bolivia.