September 28, 2008

"Por la Buenas o por las Malas": Bolivia's Morales Shows His True Face

MABB © ®

Bolivia's President, Evo Morales, says his government will push for his Oruro Constitution to be approved "por las buenas o por las malas" (literal translation: by good or by bad). That cannot be litterally translated, but it roughly means that either the ongoing negotiations find a solution (which should be on Morales' terms) or Morales will force the decision by, once again, staging a siege to Congress to force the passing of the law calling for the approval referendum needed now to activate the new constitution.

In a speech given to his bases in Cochabamba, Morales launched a series of attacks, not only towards the opposition, but against the US government as well. In a clear attempt to pressure the opposition to sign an accord, Morales told his base to act in order for the constitution to entern into force. In the same event, the various organizations gathered there decided to start a march to La Paz on October 13. This march will end at the doors of the parliament building and will siege the same and thus force Congress issue a law calling for a referendum to reject or approve the Morales constitution.

In the same speech, Morales continued his accusations agains the US government saying that there was a plan to assasinate him, much the same way Chavez is to be assasinated.

Meanwhile, these attacks have certainly not gone unnoticed by the Bush administration. In sign of a political response, the Bush administration has moved to punish Bolivia by cancelling this country's access to the US market through the ATPDEA.

U.S. moves to suspend trade benefits for Bolivia
Reuters via Yahoo! News Fri, 26 Sep 2008 3:49 PM PDT
U.S. President George W. Bush is moving to suspend longtime U.S. trade benefits for Bolivia because of that country's failure to cooperate in drug-fighting efforts in the past year, the top U.S. trade official said on Friday.

Bush seeks to suspend Bolivia trade benefits
AFP via Yahoo! News Fri, 26 Sep 2008 11:57 AM PDT
US President George W. Bush wants to suspend Bolivia's trade preferences under a US-Andean trade pact rewarding countries that help battle illegal drugs, the White House said Friday.

As a result of this decision, several groups of exporters in Bolivia have expressed their dismay. It is clear, for them, who will be the losing side in this, Bolivian exports.

Meanwhile, the Morales government, by way of its Minister of International Relations, D. Choqueuanca, has asked the US government to reconsider its decision, while it managed to attack it by calling the decision unjust and having the intention to destabilize the Bolivian political situation.

In my opinion it is to be expected that the situation will deteriorate more before it gets better. I think the light we all have seen at the en of the tunnel is, really, that of the oncoming train.

In the mean time, the investigation on what happened in Pando continues. There are new reports saying that six of the 15 people who were killed in Porvenir, Pando, last week were Venezuelan military personnel (see here) (link seems to have been erased, sorry!). The opposition wants to push this issue because it sees in it a valuable tool to counter the government's version of what happened in Porvenir.


GS said...

Mabb, your link to the Venezuelan deaths doesn't work. If this is true, it provides some interesting insight into recent Venezuelan military doctrinal reforms.

dv said...

here is a google cache of the article.

GS said...

Thanks for the link, DV. In all likelihood, this is what Chavez meant when he said that bit about a green light to support armed movements in Bolivia. Not an "invasion," as I like to call it for dramatic effect, but a type of clandestine military support--tailored deployments of special forces type units--to provide training, leadership, logistics, and command and control support.

Kevin said...

At this point - and based on his rhetoric, I am not sure why Morales does not simply dissolve the Senate and come out and declare the CPE of Oruro a done deal. That's want he will eventually do - so why does he wait and in-turn destroy Bolivian society and economy in the process? If he wants to be a socialist dictator - then have the huevos to declare himself a socialist dictator... and face the eventual consequences. This back and forth nonsense for over 2 years now is ripping bolivia to shreads.

Norman said...

To be honest, 6 out of 15 being Venezuelans is a little to much to believe. Unless 40 to 50% of the marchers were actually Venezuelan military, that seems like awfully bad luck to be the ones that got killed.

As to the ATPDEA, it's unfortunate, but to be expected. It sounds like the US has lost patience (rightfully so) and is declaring the place a lost cause.

GS said...

To be honest, 6 out of 15 being Venezuelans is a little to much to believe.

Not unless they were targetted.

mabb said...

I am not sure Morales wants to become a dictator. I think, in his mind, he really thinks he is working for the people.

To Norman: It is not a ratio I quoted, it is a body count. It might be that the Venezuelans were just there. We don't know!

mcentellas said...

I agree w/ MABB. Evo does seem to think he's a democratic (that his government is "for the people"). But he has a warped sense of what democratic politics is. (I know that's not a social scientific statement, but it's clear Evo doesn't believe in any of the procedural norms that define democracy in the modern world.)

I also suspect that a global economic downturn will destroy any current or future gains of a "socialist" revolution of the kind Evo's supporters have in mind. I hope Evo is smart enough to know that, at least. But his recent diplomatic clash w/ the US suggests otherwise. Countries like Iran or Venezuela can afford to behave like that, Bolivia doesn't. And w/ the price of crude oil falling, Venezuela (today Bolivia's major backer) will stumble. Then where will Bolivia be, economically?

Anonymous said...

Weeks here is talking about Colombia, but maybe this is relevant for the Pando.

"The "fake uniform" or "pretend regular people are enemy combatants" trick is an old one, but never seems to go out of style."