October 05, 2008

The Political Dialog in Bolivia

MABB © ®

In this image above, taken from ABI: Left to right, Ernesto Suárez (Beni), Mario Cossío (Tarija), Mario Virreira (Potosí), Luis Aguilar (Oruro); President, Evo Morales, VP, Álvaro García Linera; Pablo Ramos (La Paz), Rafael Puente (Cochabamba), Rubén Costas (Santa Cruz), and Rafael Bandeira (Pando), as they leave the dialog room.

Archenemies, Morales and Costas play it nice and give each other the hand. I'd like to know what is Costas thinking... :-) Morales later expressed his discomfort for having to meet with "those" people.

This is the guy who will siege Congress, Fidel Surco. He is the President of Conalcam (National Coordinating Organization for Change)

The political dialog in Bolivia continues today after a week recess. However, Morales has warned that today will be the last day he talks with the opposition. The prefects, either sign his proposal or they sign his proposal. It is that simple.

The opposition, meaning the four prefects, are under great pressure to come to an accord. Nationally, they are being portrayed as the ones who do not want to talk because they don't get what they want. They do not sacrifice for the nation.

The opposition, do not want to continue the dialog because, they argue, the government has violated at least one of the points they agreed at the start of the talks. The government was to stop arresting people in the opposing departments. The government has continued making arrests and bringing people to La Paz jails.

The government is in a position of strength and it is utilizing it to the full extent. It has, on the one side, continued arresting political activists from the opposition, it has continued with its accusation campaign, it has continued to push its supporters to prepare for renewed disturbances and it has continued with the suit against Leopoldo Fernandez, the Prefect of Pando.

Yesterday, Evo Morales, in a speech to the members of Conalcam (The coordinating organization for change) said that the government will continue pushing for its agenda. Morales said that the next steps were:

On October 15, the consideration of the 'approval referendum' in Congress.
On October 13, the Conalcam will start a march towards Congress to siege it in case the opposition was not ready to vote for the law.

Morales wants to have his constitution ready so that in June next year (2009) he can be re-elected and the new congress can be elected.

That way, he can take his office on August 6, 2009.

It seems to me the opposition has some difficult months ahead. It will all depend on how strong the opposition doesn't want to accept the Morales constitution and how far are they prepare to go to stop it.

The way Morales is going ahead, I am afraid we are going to have to continue talking about violence, resistance and perhaps some type of armed confrontation. That is, unless, one of the parties is persuaded to give in.