December 17, 2008

More Critique Starts to Surface

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Yesterday, I posted that critique against the Morales government, from its own support base, is starting to surface. Today, I read again new critique against the new constitution. La Razon reports that the Tupac Katari Peasant Organization from the province of Omasuyos (in the Altiplano, north from La Paz and Felipe Quispe's home turf) made public a resolution calling the government "traitors to their cause" and saying they will not support the new constitution in the coming approval referendum (January 25). In short, they call for the re-consideration of the constitution approved in Oruro in December 2007. Consequently, they dismiss the new constitution which came out of the negotiations in Congress (October 2008). They further say, they distrust all the "ngo people" working in the government. This refers to the people surrounding the President. Many of them, worked in ngos. The report also mentions critical voices coming from The Public University of El Alto and the Movement Without Land (MST).

From another front, the former Press Secretary, Alex Contreras, qualified Morales' reactions against the press as wrong. Contreras said the President should have concentrated on the persons who named him and not the press. This is a reference to the confrontation Morales is having with the members of the press. Apparently, he was fed up with the press publishing compromising reports about him and a huge smuggling case in Pando. Therefore, Morales decided he would not speak to the Bolivian press anymore and instead would prefer the international press. This has been going on for a couple of weeks, with last week having been one nationally coordinated demonstration from the part of the journalist unions.

Morales' agreements in Congress in October this year to approve "his" constitution is coming back to bite him. He made so many concessions just to approve the constitution that the Oruro document and this new document are very different. This is slowly being realized by the different organizations and movements within the MAS, and the result is that many don't like it. In addition, this last smuggling case incriminating Minister Quintana is turning to be a damaging case for the government. Morales' reaction against the journalists has been seen in many circles as too harsh and simply wrong.

The fissures within MAS are starting to show. The interesting question for me is, from a political scientist view, if the MAS as a new form of political party, is able to effectively replace a "traditional" political party.