December 16, 2008

Critique From the Bases

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Today I read again an article about the critics that have been brewing within the MAS for a long time. These critics, as quiet as they have been, are getting louder. At least, that is my perception.

Today's La Razon, published the opinions of Felipe Quispe, leader of Movimiento Indigena Pachakuti and Alejo Veliz, a long time leader in the coca growers movement. These two people belong to the increasingly critical indigenist wing within MAS. Just FYI, you can get a good english description of the internal squabbles of MAS in Donna Lee Van Cott's book From Movements to Parties in Latin America.

Quispe told La Razon that it wasn't just Quinatana's presence in government, but most of the people around Morales, who, according to his opinion, could not interpret correctly the preferences of the people. Veliz, in turn, criticized that Morales surrounded himself with people from NGOs and not with indigenists. These people, according to Veliz, have their own interests in mind and not those of the people.

I May, I saw an interview in Bolivian television to Felix Patzi (link to a post in MABB), an indigenist intellectual who criticized Morales sharply for surrounding himself with what Patzi called the traditional left. He said Morales' government was "hijacked" by this "obsolete and radical" left and that this left was not in tune with MAS' original objectives and purposes. In that sense, Morales had veered away from the origins of MAS.

This criticism is louder within MAS, but it just doesn't make for many headlines. Now that the government started to use security forces to repress some protests (today there were reports that a clash in Patacamaya had left at least one dead), it might set the stage for a different relationship between the, so called, social movements and the government.