December 09, 2009

The First Actions of the New Plurinational Legislative Assembly

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The government and the new Plurinational Legislative Assembly, henceforth, assembly, will need to pass a number of laws in the next weeks. The first five, which by constitutional mandate have to be approved within 180 days from the first day of the assembly, are as follows:

1. The law of the Plurinational Electoral Organ (OEP, in Spanish)
2. The electoral law (probably the current transitory law will do)
3. The law of the Judicial Organ
4. The law of the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal
5. The framework law for autonomies and decentralization

These laws have priority because they will be needed for the next steps, namely the upcoming April municipal and prefectural elections and the constitutional check of the autonomic statutes.

Other laws voted in the assembly will be: the universal health coverage insurance law, the education law (Abelino Sinani), and the anticorruption law (Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz).

Source: La Razon

December 07, 2009

The Day After the Election: Bolivia

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According to most press reports based on exit polls, Evo Morales has achieved his objective to sweep the general elections by winning with a large margin (62.5%) and gain control of the Legislative branch with 24 Senators (could be 26 due to a very close race for one seat in Chuquisaca and another in Beni) and 84 seats in the lower chamber (two seats shor of the 2/3 majority, 86). In total, the Plurinational Legislative Assembly is made of 166 seats (36 + 130) and super majority will be reached with 111 members, of which MAS has 108 total. Of course, results are not official, and so we must be patient and wait for the official confirmation of the results by the electoral agency. However, the official results are not expected to vary much from the preliminary results (see graph in La Razon).

At the same time, the five departments that rejected autonomy in July 2, 2006 have decided to hop on the autonomic train. The departments of La Paz, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca, Oruro and Potosi have overwhelmingly voted to become autonomic departments. In addition, one region, the Gran Chaco province (Southern Bolivia, bordering Argentina and Paraguay) as well as 11 municipalities that decided to become indigenous autonomic regions have also voted for autonomy. These are: Huacaya,Tarabuco and Villa Mojocoya in Chuquisaca; Charazani in La Paz; Chipaya, San Pedro de Totora, Pampa Aullagas, Salinas de Garci Mendoza and Curahuara de Carangas in Oruro; Chayanta in Potosí and Charagua in Santa Cruz.

In order to keep on track, the government has to rush in the coming years through the approval of around 100 pieces of legislation in total. The first order of business for the new government and assembly is to approve the Ley Marco de Autonomias (which frames the implementation of autonomies) and issue another call for the April 4, 2010 prefectural and municipal elections.

The full extent of Morales' power will become clear with these elections. The MAS' primary objective is to capture as many departments and municipalities as possible. Higher objectives are the prefectures of Beni, Pando and Santa Cruz and their respective municipalities.

Other laws that will be worked on are:
Laws to reform the structure of the Judicial branch and to assure the compatibility of ordinary and communal justice. Another law will bring changes on the National Electoral Court.

December 06, 2009

Preliminary Results: Exit Polls Give Morales Another Historic Win

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Update:

Numbers from UNITEL after 66 per cent counted.

Morales 62, Manfred 26 and Samuel 7.

---------------------
According to reports from Erbol (exit polls), Evo Morales and MAS have won the general elections 2009 with 63 per cent of the vote. The closer runner up is Plan Progreso para Bolivia (PPB) from Manfred Reyes got 24 per cent and in third place is Samuel Doria from Unidad Nacional (UN) with a 7.7 per cent of the vote.

Results at the departmental level, which are important for the distribution of legislative seats, are: in La Paz MAS got 81.1%, in Chuquisaca 43.3%, in Cochabamba 65.9%, in Santa Cruz 43.5%, Potosí 69.4%, in Oruro 74.3%, Beni 36% and Pando 47%.

More detailed results: Erbol

MAS is tending to gain 25 seats in the Senate. That means that MAS would have 2/3 majority and with that TOTAL control of the legislative. Including the power to change the new constitution. Changes like making it possible for Morales to run for president for additional terms!

Some analysts counter that not all is said, only when the municipal and departmental elections are carried out, the political future of Bolivia will be finished. In my opinion, Morales does not need to wait (and I would argue he will not do) until these elections are over. My counter argument would be that the constitution can be changed as we have seen recently.

Live and Streaming Coverage of the Bolivian Elections

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It's as if the last ten years have brought a revolution in the coverage of Bolivia online. When I started blogging, back in 2003, there was only a hand full of people covering Bolivian developments. In fact, that is one reason why I started blogging. Today, I am impressed on the kind of coverage there is of the Bolivian elections. The protagonists are Facebook, Twitter, the web 2.0 and tv feeds.

For example, if you go to Twitter, you can make a couple of searches to find yourself in the lines, at the doors of precincts, and so on. A brief and broad search for Bolivia will take pretty far, but if you want only election coverage then you have to use hash tags such as #elecciones, #bolivianelections, and #6dbol. The last being the most informative, though they are connected. At present time, there are two websites (the so called web 2.0) covering the elections. The first is part of the effort many active citizens, and might I add, young, have created: http://elecciones2.0bolivia.com/. This site, also has a feed of twitts and commentary on Facebook. The other one is www.bolivianosglobales.com. This las site covers what is going on outside Bolivia, in those cities where expat Bolivians are voting (cities such as Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC., etc.).

If you choose Facebook as your source, you will find many of the already mentioned initiatives as well as other interested Bolivian citizens following the developments. In addition, you can find many of the media outlets such as La Razon, El Deber, Bolivia Hoy, and other interested groups.

On the main stream media side, as I said before, you find many of them in Facebook and Twitter, as well as some places such as Justin.tv. The PAT tv network is streaming live its national and international coverage of the process. Also, you can find, of course, the many newspaper websites, which are updated several times a day. But this updates are slower, of course than the Internet. Another source of information, which has been a source for quite some time are the live feeds of radios. You can visit radios such as Fides, Erbol, Illimani, El Deber has a radio as well, etc.

So as you can see, there is plenty of coverage on Bolivia, in Spanish. The coverage in the international arena is pretty much limited to the main stream media, such as BBC, AP reports, CNN International (very little), AFN, etc., and some blogs such as the one you are reading. There is one blog I recommend visiting, and that is Pronto*, which is written by a friend of mine. I recommend it because it is very informative.

PS. For most of the links, please see the side bar in this blog. Thank you.

November 29, 2009

Election Day in Bolivia

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Tomorrow, December 6, 2009, Bolivia will, once again, go to the ballot boxes to vote for a new government. They will have to vote for a new President, Vicepresident, and members of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies (upper and lower legislative chambers).

It's pretty much no secret that Evo Morales will win the election. He has been leading opinion polls all along. I have collected polls from recent months to show the trends. The graphs below present the intention vote conducted by two companies, Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinion y Mercado and Equipos Mori. These polls have been published in Angus Reid's website.


The above graphs clearly present two things. First, the upward trend of Morales' support. He has never really been in any significant trouble, rather in a comfortable lead (about 20 percentage points, at least). Second, and most important, the graphs show the gap between Morales and the closest candidate. This last point is important because, according to the law, the elections will not go into a second round if either of the following conditions is true: The winner (Morales) wins with more than 50% of the vote; or if the winner does not reach relative majority (Bolivians call this absolute majority), he will have to win with at least 40% of the vote and have 10 percentage points lead to the second runner up. As you can see, Morales will achieve both, if the numbers above are any indication.


The last graph shows Morales' approval trend. He was in a bit of trouble in the beginning of 2009. He even reached the 40s, but recovered on time.

What really is at play tomorrow is the control of the new Plurinational Legislative Assembly. MAS has had control of the lower chamber and is pretty much sure it will gain control of it again. The most important task of the campaign was to assure, as much as possible, the control of the Senate. This was the highest priority for MAS and Morales. Without the control of the Senate, it will be politics as usual for the government. If MAS gets to control the Senate, it will be a significant step to consolidate its power. The Senate will have 36 members, 4 for each department. They will be elected following proportional representation, taking the results in each department. The key is for MAS to gain as many seats in the Senate to get a majority, that is, at least 19 Senators.

But, and this is a very weak but, if voters decide to make use of what Bolivians are calling the "crossed vote", things might get a little tricky for Evo. The crossed vote is one of the possibilities voters have at the time of voting. The ballot is divided in two areas, an upper and a lower area. The upper area lists the Presidential and Vicepresidential candidates and includes the candidate lists of the corresponding party. The lower area will present the single district candidate (uninominal, in Bolivian jargon) of each of the 70 districts in the territory. Now, each voter has two votes, one in the upper area where he or she will vote for the President and Vicepresident and for the party. The second vote is in the lower area and is for the particular representative in each district. So, people, have basically several options: either make two crosses (one up and one down) for the President, his Vice and the party as well as for the individual district representative. Alternatively, and this is what I meant with crossed vote, the voter could vote for President Morales and his party MAS on the upper area and for the lower area he or she could say, ok, I want to balance power and I don't want Morales to be almighty, so therefore I will vote for a district representative that is not from MAS. That would be the worst nighmare for Morales, because for certain it will prevent him from gaining control of the legislative.

Tomorrow will be a very busy day for people covering the election. Below I want to post some links where those who are interested on Bolivian politics can follow the events. One thing, some links are in Spanish, no way around that.

Press:

La Razon, El Diario, La Prensa, Los Tiempos, El Deber

Web 2.0:

Letras Alteñas, El Alto Blogs Bolivia, EABOLIVIA, Bolivia al Minuto

And of course in Twitter and Facebook:

El Deber, Pronto, HoyBolivia, La Razon

Please let us know of other links if you know of any, thanks...

November 17, 2009

Polls!

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Update:

Another poll from Angus Reid.

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?

Nov. 8

Sept. 28

Evo Morales

52%

47%

Manfred Reyes Villa

18%

16%

Samuel Doria Medina

9%

8%

Other candidates

4%

4%

Undecided / Blank vote

17%

25%

Source: Equipos MORI
Methodology: Interviews with 1,007 Bolivian adults, conducted Oct. 31 to Nov. 8, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.



Data in Angus Reid.

Polling Data

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?


Oct. 2009

Sept. 2009

Evo Morales

52%

54%

Manfred Reyes Villa

21%

20%

Samuel Doria Medina

13%

11%

René Joaquino

3%

3%

Alejo Véliz

--

1%

Other / Blank ballot

11%

11%

Source: Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinión y Mercado / La Razón
Methodology: Interviews with 2,205 Bolivian adults, conducted Oct. 10 to Oct. 20, 2009. Margin of error is 2.45 per cent.

Data in Angus Reid.

Polling Data

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?

Evo Morales

52%

Manfred Reyes Villa

22%

Samuel Doria Medina

10%

René Joaquino

3%

Other / Blank ballot

13%

Source: Track / Unitel
Methodology: Interviews with 1,598 Bolivian adults, conducted Oct. 29 to Nov. 6, 2009. Margin of error is 2.4 per cent.

October 20, 2009

Oil and Gas Report 4Q

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The research analysis website research and markets has published a report on Bolivia's Oil and Gas situation to the fourth quarter 2009. Of course, the entire report costs over €400, but one can take a glimpse on this website.

The report concludes: "Bolivia now shares seventh place with Ecuador in BMI’s Upstream Business Environment rating, four points behind Argentina but well ahead of Mexico. Its proven gas resources and gas reserves-toproduction ratio (RPR) work in the country’s favour, but are undermined by the state’s renewed control of assets, deteriorating licensing regime and generally unappealing risk environment. The country is at the foot of the league table in BMI’s updated Downstream Business Environment rating, reflecting its statecontrolled refining and marketing segment, modest capacity and less competitive environment, offset by a relatively low level of retail site intensity and the country’s gas self-sufficiency. Ecuador is immediately ahead of Bolivia in the regional rankings, but a wide gap exists between the two that is unlikely to be bridged by Bolivia at any point in the near future. "

New Poll Forecasting Morales' Win

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Angus Reid published a new poll forecasting Morales' win in the next elections. He leads with extreme comfort. One caveat only, the undecided reach 25%.

Polling Data

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?

Evo Morales

47%

Manfred Reyes Villa

16%

Samuel Doria Medina

8%

Other candidates

4%

Undecided

25%

Source: Equipos MORI
Methodology: Interviews with 811 Bolivian adults, conducted Sept. 28 to Sept. 28, 2009. Margin of error is 3.3 per cent.

October 17, 2009

Elections 2009

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The electoral process is advancing in Bolivia. It seems that Bolivians have gotten the hand of it and can carry out, in amazing speed, all kinds of elections. As you may know, on December 6 this year, Bolivians will, once again, go to the ballot boxes to cast votes on general elections to elect a new President, Vicepresident, Senators, and Deputies (Uninomial, Plurinominal and Indigenous Special Districts) for the now denominated: Plurinational Assembly.

The electoral court has just finished registering voters using a biometric system. There are, for this year, 4,997,172 registered voters. The distribution per department and country of immigration is the following:

REGISTRO POR DEPARTAMENTO

La Paz 1.468.569
Santa Cruz 1.159.343
Cochabamba 874.833
Potosí 343.016
Oruro 256.576
Tarija 255.300
Chuquisaca 254.727
Beni 180.481
Pando 33.824

REGISTRO POR PAÍS

Argentina 90.431
España 50.523
Brasil 18.618
Estados Unidos 10.931

For more see source: HoyBolivia.

As you may imagine, the electoral agency is very happy about this result. However, the process is not over yet. There are two dates to take into account. The first one is October 17, which is the deadline for candidates have to present a series of documentation to be accredited as official candidates. These people, those who do not meet the requirements, will not be included in the official lists and will not be able to be replaced either. However, they may be replaced by other people who do have their documents in order and are able to present them, at least 72 hours before the elections. The second date to take into account is November 2. Until that day, the electoral court will review the voter registry and will exclude or purge any irregular voter. That is know as depuracion in Bolivia.

The second date will present problems after the elections. That is tradition in Bolivia. The first date is already presenting trouble. According to El Diario (image source), 250 candidates across the board resigned to their candidacies.


This is supposedly making trouble even for MAS. But, the smaller parties are the ones suffering the most. MUSPA finds itself in a deep crisis. GENTE, for its part is struggling to stay on the race. Roman Loayza, former MAS leader and founder, wants to run for president with this party.

This, however, should soon come to an end. Better said, today at 0 hours the deadline will fall and all candidates should be official.

October 13, 2009

The Democratic Development Index: Bolivia

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The Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Polilat.com have developed an index measuring the development of democracy in Latin America. The index, Democratic Development Index (DDI), measures that process in light of four dimensions: Basic conditions of democracy, respect for political rights and civil liberties, institutional quality and politic efficiency, exercise of the effective power to be able to govern (this last dimension is divided into two sub dimensions: capacity to generate well being policies and capacity to generate economic efficiency policies). The authors have published the results in the form of reports, which have been published since 2002.

The 2009 report finds Bolivia in last place, out of 18 Latin America countries. The explanation points to the relative better performance of other countries and the, again, relative worst performance in the institutional quality and political efficiency as well as in the capacity to generate social well being.

This report is a blow to the Bolivian government which has been wanting to portray that Bolivia is doing generally better than before (pre Morales), in democratic terms as well.

In comparison to other countries, the fact that Bolivia is doing worst than countries such as Venezuela, Honduras, and Guatemala, gives me something to think about. Taken with a bit of criticism, it might be in the way these authors measure the distinct dimensions. For one, it cannot be, the more I ponder, that Honduras scores better than Bolivia in the institutional quality and political efficiency dimension.

Just to put some more perspective, the Economist Intelligence Unit's Index of Democracy, finds Bolivia, worldwide, in 75th place as a flawed democracy for 2008. That is ahead of Nicaragua (78), Guatemala (79), Ecuador (88) and Venezuela (95). Honduras was placed 74 at the time. While Freedom House places Bolivia in the company of Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, as partly free countries. Another index, the Bartelsmann Transformation Index, ranks Bolivia below Nicaragua and Honduras, but above Guatemala, Ecuador and Venezuela.

So, what is the conclusion from all this? The conclusion is that it is very difficult to measure democracy. Who knows where Bolivia is on the average. The questions remain: is it a more democratic country? is democracy taking hold?

For what its worth, it is nice to see another index join the ranks, so to speak!

October 10, 2009

Popularity Polls

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Angus Reid's latest polls...

Polling Data

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?

Evo Morales

54%

Manfred Reyes Villa

20%

Samuel Doria Medina

11%

René Joaquino

3%

Alejo Véliz

1%

Other / Blank ballot

11%

Source: Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinión y Mercado / La Razón
Methodology: Interviews with 1,608 Bolivian adults, conducted Sept. 2 to Sept. 20, 2009. Margin of error is 2.45 per cent.

October 05, 2009

Angus Reid Reports on Evo's Popularity

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Angus Reid published new numbers on Evo's popularity.

It looks like Evo is doing something right, or the opposition is doing everything wrong!

Polling Data

Do you approve or disapprove of Evo Morales’s performance as president?

Sept. 2009

Jul. 2009

Apr. 2009

Approve

60%

57%

53%

Disapprove

36%

39%

43%

Source: Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinión y Mercado / La Razón
Methodology: Interviews with 1,024 Bolivian adults in La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, conducted from Sept. 10 to Sept. 18, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

September 08, 2009

The Candidates Are Official

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This is the list of candidates who will run for the Bolivian Presidency and Vicepresidency. Now, all can happen is that one of duos is disqualified for any reason.

The source article is to be found here.

Here is the whole list of candidates, as of September 8, 2009. This list could change if one of the candidates does not meet the requirements of the electoral court. For example, if he or she did not register to vote, or if he or she figures in another list, etc.

Here is a list for La Paz candidates.

September 06, 2009

Pre-Electoral Landscape

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As we get closer to the December 6 general elections, the Bolivian pre-electoral landscape is sorting itself out and candidacies seem to be emerging. The main reason is the upcoming deadline (September 7) to register political alliances. In addition, the candidate lists for president, vicepresident and members of congress (plurinationals) have to be presented as well.

As many readers surely have already seen in the Bolivian press, the negotiations among opposition leaders have been, the past weeks, nothing short of frantic. The Frente Amplio (Ample Front) could not be realized in spite of all the meetings and negotiations among opposition leaders. According to many reports, regional politics have played a major roll in these negotiations. Not only among the various regions such as La Paz, Cochabamba, Tarija and Santa Cruz (to mention some) but also within the regions themselves. Different groups have been trying to gain political relevance in light of the lack in leadership in the opposition.

In particular, dissent and lack of compromise have proven damaging to articulate an opposition front able to dispute the country's leadership in the next elections. From the many meetings and negotiations covered by the press, it has become clear that the opposition is plagued by too many leaders who don't seem to want to give up political aspirations. In the last two weeks Samuel Doria Medina (UN), Victor Hugo Cardenas (Gente), German Antelo (MNR), Manfred Reyes Villa (NFR), Rene Joaquino (AS), Alejo Veliz and Roman Loayza (the last two former MAS leaders) have declared themselves candidates. In La Paz, the discrepancies have been the strongest. To the dispute about who will make a good candidate, Cardenas has been confronted with political analyst and journalist Jimena Costa. The latter was suggested by one of the major paceno political forces, Plan Progeso's Jose Luis Paredes. It became later clear that the disagreement was concentrated on the making of the members of congress plurinational lists. The opposition's opium has been access to power.

However, within the las three days, Manfred Reyes Villa has been able to capitalize on one politically advantageous move, i.e. the nomination of former Pando Prefect Leopoldo Fernandez as his running mate. Fernandez has been in jail accused, by the government, for masterminding the Porvenir killings. The move is politically shrewd because many Bolivians think that Fernandez has been unjustly jailed, not because there is prof of his innocence, but because of the way the government has acted in his case. He was basically kidnapped and jailed before he was judged guilty. The Reyes Villa-Fernandez duo has attracted much support. Some of the groups already in camp are: Jose Luis Paredes, German Antelo, Mario Cossio, Sabina Cuellar, maybe even Rene Joaquino. The alliance name will be Plan Progreso para Bolivia - Convergencia Nacional (PPB-CN).

Other two candidacies are in the game as opposition. First, with the UN, Samuel Doria Medina and Gabriel Halbing Arauz (former union leader in Santa Cruz), with support of Oscar Ortiz, the Senate President. The other is AS with Rene Joaquino and Carlos Suarez (former evangelical priest). The government is currently in a comfortable position due to its poll showings in the upper 40s. Morales is in the middle of his campaign and the implementation of his electoral strategy to get the super majority in both chambers of congress.

Lastly, nothing is set on stone yet. The pieces could be reordered still as two more important dates are coming. The first one (October 17) is the deadline for the parties to present all the requirements confirming the candidates fulfill, again, all the requirements. The second date is November 21, which is the last day anyone can file an appeal to invalidate the accreditation of a candidate. After this last date, there won't be going back.

September 04, 2009

Bolivian Urbanites Will Vote for Morales?

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Another poll attempting to measure the level of support for Morales (Angus Reid). Strong support for Morales!

Polling Data

Which candidate would you vote for in the presidential election?

Evo Morales

57.7%

Samuel Doria Medina

9.7%

Manfred Reyes Villa

8.6%

Jorge Quiroga

7.2%

Víctor Hugo Cárdenas

4.5%

René Joaquino

3.5%

Germán Antelo

1.5%

Jimena Costa

1.2%

Source: Encuestas & Estudios Gallup International
Methodology: Interviews with 3,860 Bolivian adults, conducted from Aug. 5 to Aug. 22, 2009. Margin of error is 2.27 per cent.

August 31, 2009

Morales: The Best President Since 1982

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Angus Reid published again a poll citing the popularity of Evo Morales. According to the poll, Morales is the best Bolivian president since democracy returned to the country. The poll asks Bolivians who they think has been the best president since 1982. Not surprisingly, the result is 41% of the people think Evo Morales is the best president. Is not surprising because around 60% of the population identify themselves as indigenous (2001 census), and if Morales' strongest appeal is being of indigenous descent, the poll is right on. Well, very close, at least.

In addition, this poll represents mostly an urban opinion. If the pollsters would think of going to the country side, I think the percentage would rise a bit more.

Who do you think has been the best president since the return of democracy on October 10, 1982?

Evo Morales

41%

Víctor Paz

24%

Carlos Mesa

5%

Hugo Banzer

5%

Jaime Paz

5%

Jorge Quiroga

3%

Eduardo Rodríguez

2%

Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada

0%

Source: Equipos MORI / Poder y Placer
Methodology: Interviews with 2,100 Bolivian adults in Cochabamba, El Alto, La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Tarija, conducted in July 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

August 29, 2009

UNASUR Summit 2009

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The UNASUR met in Bariloche, Argentina, on August 28, 2009. The first picture presents the heads of state. The following pictures show the proceedings. The result of the meeting was a declaration of the South American region as a "region of peace". They also expressed their rejection of military forces that may threat any nation in the region.

The images are from the ABI.

Here you can find some graphics that show the various integration projects in South America. Here is the first graph and here is the second graph. Here is the source.

August 27, 2009

MAS Strategy to Win the Next General Elections

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Until now, MAS and the Morales government have only reached part of their political goals. The historic win in 2005 has marked only the beginning. These last four years have made it clear, for Morales and his supporters in government, that it is not enough to win the Executive power. In order to make the planned changes MAS needs to control Congress and the courts.

One important step forward has been taken by passing the new constitution in early 2008. The text incorporates some, not all, of the changes desired. But, how to implement such changes when the government only controls the Executive? As stated, the last four years have shown that it would be near to impossible to do that without majority support in Congress.

Therefore, the most important task for MAS and Morales for the December elections is to win a majority in Congress. But how to do that?

As far as I can see, MAS has been preparing for this for a long time. One first step was the ID issuing program, where the government went to the people to give them IDs. A second step was to use the old voter registration list for the coming elections. However, this was not possible. Now, the government is preparing its candidate lists and is also moving voters to regions where it needs to gain votes.

The latter move is rather obvious. Good, the government wants to provide a better life for poor people by moving them to border regions and give them land. But, why now? Why can't it wait until the conditions are given? By conditions I mean housing with the necessary conditions to live. This move is very suspect, is it not?

As for the preparation of candidate lists, MAS is betting that it already has a significant number of uninominal (district) candidates in its camp. It just needs to place its people in the plurinominal lists. That way, MAS makes sure that the people who land in Congress do as the party leadership says.

This is a list of the people who will fill the MAS candidate lists:

From the government: Walker San Miguel (Ministry of Defense), Héctor Arce (Minister of Defense for the Legal Nationalization), Luis Arce Catacora (Minister of Economy and Finances), Sacha Llorenti (Viceminister of Coordination with the Social Moviement), Wilfredo Chávez (Viceminister of Governmental Coordination, Óscar Coca (Minister of Hidrocarbons), Juan Ramón Quintana (Minister of the Presidency), Ramiro Tapia (Minister of Health), Rebeca Delgado (former Viceminister of Governmental Coordination).

Social Movements Leaders: Isaac Ávalos (CSUTCB), Fidel Surco (Conalcam), Édgar Patana (COR).

Former members of the Constituent Assembly: Raúl Prada, David Herrada, Feliciano Vegamonte, Jorge Alvarado y Silvia Lazarte.

Members of Congress: René Martínez, José Pimentel, Félix Rojas, Jorge Silva y César Navarro.

These are people who have already proven themselves in the Morales government. These are the people who will fill the new Plurinational Congress and will give the government green light.

Sources: Here, here.

August 24, 2009

Morales With a Large Advantage

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The latest poll (again, only conducted in large urban areas), published by Angus Reid, shows Morales has a large advantage against his opponents.

As you can see in the below table, 43% of the people would vote for Morales. This shows that the opposition has a lot of work in front of them and that the work, done until now, has not been efficient.

Personally, I don't think there is a candidate in the opposition that could stand up against Morales in the next elections. Even Jimena Costa, who has been said to be the most promising, will not be able to drive people away from Morales' side.

I think the opposition needs someone from the rural areas, preferable a woman with a strong character who is able to answer to Morales' comments and does not represent in any way the "traditional", "neoliberal", "corrupt", "elitist", "I am better than you", "servant of the empire", "urbanite", kind of candidate image. Someone who can look at Morales straight in his face and tell him, this is what you are doing wrong, and this is what we need to do instead. He needs to be attacked on his weak sides, such as his authoritarian tendencies, and he needs to be reminded of what he said and what he is doing now.

Polling Data

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?

Evo Morales

43%

Víctor Hugo Cárdenas

11%

Manfred Reyes Villa

10%

Samuel Doria Medina

9%

René Joaquino

4%

Source: Equipos MORI / Poder y Placer
Methodology: Interviews with 2,100 Bolivian adults in Cochabamba, El Alto, La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Tarija, conducted in July 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

August 14, 2009

Links to Recent Laws Concerning Elections and Autonomies

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The following are links to the laws providing the framework for the December national elections and the autonomic referenda scheduled to happen on the same day.

This link points to the provisional electoral code (Law No. 4021) which regulates the coming elections in December. This is the point of reference for future actions concerning the electoral process and the autonomic referenda for La Paz, Potosi, Oruro, Sucre y Cochabamba (those departments that do not have autonomic statutes yet.

This link points to the Decree (Presidential Decree No. 0231) that regulates the process by which indigenous, originary and campesino municipalities become autonomic.

The last link points to the future and, as of now, suggested bill or law regulating the autonomy and decentralization process. If passed in Congress, this bill will become the reference for these two processes.

August 13, 2009

Pando Vote History

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Pando's voting history. It's voted against MAS persistently. The civic leaders want now to take the government to court to stop, what they call, the government's efforts to change the voting pattern in Pando. The government has been transporting (by now around 700 men) immigrants to Pando so settle the border region to make Bolivia's borders more secure, so they say. The Pando civic leaders want to call on Article 202 of the Electoral Code to stop the government. The article says that it is illegal to massively transport citizens for electoral purposes. We'll se if Pando will come through with this new development.



Source: La Razon.

The Bolivian Opposition: There Are 12 Candidates Plus Morales

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The opposition to Evo Morales has been unable to come up with one candidate to confront him in the next national elections coming December 6. After many meetings, conversations, dinners, and negotiations, the many political leaders could not agree on one candidate to unite the opposition. Many options were handled, there was the talk of a woman, such as the journalist Jimena Costa, or the possibility of another indigenous leader. Actually, these were seen, also by political commentators, as the only possible candidates that could run against Morales and have a chance to win. The other candidates are too identified with most of the traditional political parties which took part in government in the last periods before Morales. They were one of the reasons why Morales won.

Now, the opposition could not unite and most of the "traditional" leaders have chosen to declare themselves official candidates. Perhaps, they want to gain some more power to negotiate more gains, before they really pick a candidate. So now, there are so far, 13 candidates. The list follows:
  1. Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia
  2. Victor Hugo Cardenas (made it official on August 12)
  3. Samuel Doria Medina (UN) (made it official on August 12)
  4. Jorge Quiroga (Podemos) (made it official on August 13)
  5. Manfred Reyes Villa (...) (will make it official on August 25)
  6. German Antelo (MNR) (announced he is looking for a vice president on August 12)
  7. Rene Joaquino (AS) (already in the race)
  8. Alejo Veliz (Pueblos Unidos por la Libertad y Soberanía - Pulso) (will announce August 15)
  9. Hugo San Martin (Alianza por el Verdadero Cambio Democrático - AVCD)
  10. Roman Loayza
  11. Peter Maldonado (dissident Deputy of the UN)
  12. Ana Maria Flores (NFR Senator) (August 22 will present her list)
  13. Juan Choque (Causa por Bolivia)
September 7 is the deadline for candidates to present their lists and formalize their candidacy. So there is still time for the opposition to pull together and pick a candidate. So far, we have to still wait for what is coming.

Source: La Razon article.

August 10, 2009

Poll Numbers

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Here are the poll results from Angus Reid. According to AR this time, Morales is gaining support as Bolivians march ahead towards a very important elections date.

Polling Data

Do you approve or disapprove of Evo Morales’s performance as president?

Jul. 2009

Apr. 2009

Mar. 2009

Approve

57%

53%

49%

Disapprove

39%

43%

48%

Source: Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinión y Mercado / La Razón
Methodology: Interviews with 1,044 Bolivian adults in La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, conducted from Jul. 8 to Jul. 20, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

August 05, 2009

Elections Poll

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I came accross this site where a group of Bolivian university students (from UMSA, La Paz, San Simon, Cochabamba, and Gabriel Rene Moreno, Santa Cruz) is posting a survey on political popularity and the chances Morales and company have in the coming December elections.

The students are doing a remarcable job at not just surveying but also analyzing the results.

Below you can see some slides as results, but I suggest to pay them a visit to see the whole presentation.



According to the survey, Morales a 44% approval rate and a 35% disapproval rate. There is not a bit of change in approval compared to the survey published by Angus Reid GM. What is interesting to me in these results are the percentage of people not decided yet (55%) versus the already decided (38%). If I remember correctly, for the last elections, there were many more people decided who to vote for at this stage of the game.



These other two images I see as a preliminary list of candidates. Of course some names have already changed. For example, the name of the new possible opposition candidate (Jimena Costa) is not included and it doesn't take into account that Roman Loayza has just lost its party and therefore its support (Muspa).

August 04, 2009

Decree for Indigenous Autonomies

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This is the decree that sets up the framework for the indigenous autonomy process. The government issued this decree and presented a bill proposal to be approved by Congress.

DECRETO SUPREMO PARA LAS AUTONOMÍAS INDÍGENAS
El presidente Evo Morales Ayma, en Consejo de Ministros decreta:
Artículo 1. El presente decreto supremo tiene por objeto reglamentar la disposición final tercera de la Ley 4021 (de Régimen Electoral Transitorio) del 14 de abril de 2009, estableciendo los requisitos y procedimientos para la convocatoria y realización del referendo municipal de consulta para adoptar la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina a realizarse el 6 de diciembre de 2009.

Artículo 2. Voluntad autonómica. El referendo municipal citado en el artículo precedente establecerá la voluntad de los pobladores del municipio para adoptar la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina y sólo servirá como tales una vez aprobados sus estatutos autonómicos.

Artículo 3. Derechos propietarios y territoriales. La adopción de la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina de un municipio no modifica de ninguna manera los derechos de propiedad existentes en la jurisdicción.

Artículo 4. Límites de los municipios que adoptarán la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina. Los municipios que hubiesen adoptado la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina resultantes de la aplicación del procedimiento establecido en el presente decreto supremo deberán mantener los límites territoriales reconocidos a los municipios antes de adquirir la condición de autonomía indígena.

Artículo 5. Requisitos. Los requisitos para realizar el referendo municipal de consulta sobre la adopción de condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina a realizarse el 6 de diciembre de 2009 son: 1) certificación del Ministerio de Autonomías sobre los siguientes aspectos: a) jurisdicción actual del municipio y correspondencia histórica a la territorialidad de los pueblos originarios que lo habitan; b) la existencia de estos pueblos que sean una existencia precolonial; y c) que la población indígena del municipio comparta identidad cultural, idioma, tradición histórica, territorialidad, cosmovisión y organización o instituciones jurídicas, políticas, sociales y económicas propias. El referendo (inaudible) del Concejo Municipal por dos tercios de votos.

Artículo 6. Procedimiento ante el Ministerio de Autonomías.
Parágrafo I. El Concejo Municipal, Alcalde o solicitantes del referendo, por iniciativa popular solicitarán de forma escrita al Ministerio de Autonomías la certificación descrita en el artículo precedente desde la fecha de aprobación del presente decreto hasta el día 24 de agosto de 2009 impostergablemente, adjuntando información requerida en el formulario de información especial para adquirir la condición de autonomía indígena que en anexo forma parte del presente decreto.
Parágrafo II. El Ministerio de Autonomías notificará hasta el día 4 de septiembre de 2009 a la Corte Nacional Electoral (CNE) con las resoluciones ministeriales referidas en el artículo cinco del presente decreto supremo.

Artículo 7. Procedimiento ante el Órgano Electoral.
Parágrafo I. La Corte Nacional Electoral y las cortes departamentales electorales serán los órganos competentes para la revisión de libros de apoyo al referendo municipal por iniciativa popular, en el marco de las competencias descritas en el Código Electoral y su reglamentación.
Parágrafo II. El procedimiento de verificación de libros por iniciativa popular se sustanciará y concluirá en el plazo de 15 días calendario, computables a partir de la presentación a la Corte Departamental Electoral competente.
Parágrafo III. El Concejo Municipal emitirá ordenanza municipal que de acuerdo a lo previsto en el numeral dos del artículo cinco del presente decreto.
Parágrafo IV. El gobierno municipal solicitante deberá notificar con la ordenanza municipal de convocatoria al referendo a la Corte Departamental correspondiente y a la Corte Nacional Electoral hasta el día 4 de septiembre de 2009.
Parágrafo V. La Corte Nacional Electoral publicará, de acuerdo a su cronograma, el listado de municipios en los que se llevará a cabo el referendo del 6 de diciembre de 2009.

Artículo 8. Iniciativa Popular. A los efectos de la emisión de la ordenanza municipal de la convocatoria a referendo, previamente se deberá cumplir con lo establecido en el parágrafo dos del artículo seis de la Ley 2769 del 6 de julio de 2004, del referendo.

Artículo 9. Pregunta. El referendo municipal objeto del presente decreto supremo tendrá la siguiente pregunta: ¿está usted de acuerdo con que su municipio adopte la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina de acuerdo a los alcances y preceptos establecidos en la Constitución Política del Estado?

Artículo 10. De la papeleta del referendo. En la parte superior se consignará el nombre del municipio donde se realiza el referendo, en el centro se consignará la pregunta específica y en la parte inferior las dos casillas con las opciones del sí o del no. Las demás características formales y de seguridad serán definidas por la CNE.

Artículo 11. Decisión del referendo. La decisión del referendo se adoptará por mayoría simple de votos válidos de la respectiva circunscripción y tendrá validez si participa al menos el 50% del electorado habilitado.

Artículo 12. Elección de autoridades. La elección de autoridades municipales del 4 de abril de 2010 en aquellos municipios que hayan decidido, mediante referendo, adoptar la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina deberá supeditarse a norma expresa emitida al efecto.

Artículo 13. Financiamiento. Se autoriza al Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas Públicas debitar de las cuentas de los municipios en los que se realizan el referendo municipal los recursos financieros necesarios para llevar a cabo el mismo en el marco de lo establecido en la Ley 2769.

Los ministros de Estado en los despachos de Economía y de Autonomía, y el presidente de la Corte Nacional Electoral quedan encargados de la ejecución y cumplimiento del presente decreto.

(Fuente: transcripción de la lectura del decreto supremo efectuada por el ministro Carlos Romero).

Source: Cambio.com

July 10, 2009

The Race to the December Elections

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The electoral court signed the contract with NEC-Argentina SA., for the implementation of the biometric vote for the coming December 6 general elections. The contract represents 21 million dollars. The CNE (Corte Nacional Electoral) wants to start registering voters by August 1. For that it needs to deliver the equipment to the 9 departmental courts by July 25. It is calculated that around 10,000 people will work to register all voters at the national level. The government liberated the CNE of 44 million dollars of import taxes to bring the equipment to Bolivia.

What a race!

Sources: La Razon, CNE.

Popularity Polls from Angus Reid

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This is the new poll conducted by Bolivian pollster firm, Apoyo, Opinion y Mercado, for many, among them Angus Reid Global Monitor. BTW, ARGM are a good source to track polls in Bolivia, I think, for the last few years.

Polling Data

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?

Jun. 2009

Apr. 2009

Evo Morales

44%

41%

Víctor Hugo Cárdenas

8%

7%

Samuel Doria Medina

7%

n.a.

Rubén Costas

6%

5%

Jorge Quiroga

5%

6%

Manfred Reyes Villa

5%

n.a.

Carlos Mesa

n.a.

7%

Other / Undecided

25%

34%

Source: Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinión y Mercado / ATB
Methodology: Interviews with 2,177 Bolivian adults in La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, conducted from Jun. 5 to Jun. 12, 2009. Margin of error is 2.1 per cent.

Though the numbers above do not say anything, in my opinion, is good to keep them as public record.

July 09, 2009

Interview with a Legar Advisor of the Hondurean Military

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This is an interview with the legal adviser of the Honduran military. He talks about why the military acted as it did. He also touches on the regional patter Chavez used to cope power.

Read here.

July 08, 2009

Elections 2009

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Here is an article from La Razon where one can see how many candidate wanna-bes there are:

René Joaquino • First candidate to announce he is running.

Román Loayza • Former MAS leader.

Víctor Hugo Cárdenas • Former Vicepresident will announce his candidacy end of July.

Alejo Véliz • Already in campaign.

Manfred Reyes Villa • Former Cochabamba Prefect, allied with promising young politician, Adriana Gil and with Marcial Fabricano.

Hugo San Martín • Has support from the middle class, will announce later.

Conalde • Opposition prefects work on a political formula and a candidate.

Óscar Ortiz • Senate President and former Podemos member wants to run.

Podemos • This Citizen Gruoup wants to support Jorge Quiroga for president.

Peter Maldonado • Former UN militant seeks political backing.

MIR - NSD • The remake of MIR is seeking an identity, a candidate and support (possible leader Rodrigo Paz, son of former party leader, Jaime Paz).

MNR • Seeking alliances and candidates.

Felipe Quispe • El Mallku wants to run against Evo.

June 12, 2009

About Indigenous Collective Rights and Lat Am - EU Relations

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Derechos colectivos y Derechos individuales, Carlos Malamud
Infolatam, Madrid, 10 de junio de 2009

"La importancia de estos dos testimonios viene dada por el hecho de que no se trata de manifestaciones de dirigentes marginales, o de grupos minoritarios o periféricos, sino de un movimiento, como el MAS, que ostenta el gobierno de su país. A estas cuestiones hay que sumar el tema cada vez más preocupante de los castigos físicos inflingidos al amparo de los “usos y costumbres tradicionales” y que suelen encontrar el amparo de la justificación en criterios multiculturales. Si las leyes de los estados deben ser limitadas por los derechos de los indígenas, cuáles son los límites que éstos, a su vez, deben tener. ¿O acaso, por el mero hecho de ser derechos indígenas, y teóricamente colectivos, son ilimitados y están fuera del alcance y del control de las instituciones y la justicia nacionales? El futuro de la gobernabilidad de algunos países latinoamericanos se juega en torno a estas cuestiones, ya que las resoluciones de Naciones Unidas y otros organismos internacionales que reivindican los derechos colectivos de los pueblos indígenas no entraron a fondo en ellas. Es hora de que se acometa una revisión a fondo de los acuerdos, ya que, de otro modo, la destrucción de algunas sociedades está a la vuelta de la esquina, en un mundo donde las leyes de las mayorías y las minorías no están claras y donde la sola matemática no basta para resolver los conflictos."

Read the article here.

España impulsará un "salto cualitativo" en los lazos UE-América Latina en 2010 Infolatam/Efe
Montevideo, 11 de junio de 2009

"Queremos que sea una presidencia muy latinoamericana, con un fuerte impacto en el fortalecimiento de las relaciones entre Europa y América Latina", explicó De Laiglesia, quien subrayó que en esta gira por el Cono Sur pudo recabar "las opiniones y el consejo" de las Cancillerías de esos tres países al respecto.

Read the article here.

May 23, 2009

General Elections 2009

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There are a number of names circulating around to participate in the coming general elections in December 2009. In April I posted twice (here and here) on the same topic. In those posts I talked about the intention of Victor H. Cardenas and Roman Loayza, two indigenous and well established political leaders, to run for president. This I said, would be a challenge and a problem for Evo Morales.

Now, there are more names to throw around. Savina Cuellar in Chuquisaca is one of those names as well as Mario Cossio in Tarija and Senate President, Oscar Ortiz, in Santa Cruz. To those names we can add those of somewhat known character such as Rene Joaquino from Alianza Social and Alejo Veliz (campesino leader).

All of them are in the process to acquire legal status with the electoral court.

May 21, 2009

New Decree Authorizing Expropriation of Private Property

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Evo Morales issued a decree (No. 0138) authorizing the expropriation of private property from those who are thought to affect the security of the state. Here is the whole text of that decree.

CONSIDERANDO:

Que el Estado de Bolivia, mediante Ley N° 2284, de 5 de diciembre de 2001, aprobó y ratificó la Convención para Prevenir y Sancionar los Actos de Terrorismo Configurados en Delitos contra las Personas y la Extorsión Conexa cuando éstos tengan Trascendencia Internacional; abierta a firma en la ciudad de Washington el 2 de febrero de 1971. Asimismo, ratificó y aprobó mediante Ley N° 2279, de 27 de noviembre de 2001, la Convención Internacional para la Represión de la Financiación del Terrorismo, aprobada por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, el 9 de diciembre de 1999 y suscrita por Bolivia el 10 de noviembre de 2001; norma jurídica que establece en su Artículo 18 la obligación de adoptar medidas preventivas contra el terrorismo.

Que como expresa en la Carta Democrática Interamericana, ningún Estado democrático puede permanecer indiferente frente a la clara amenaza del delito de Terrorismo.

Que en cumplimiento a lo que señala la Resolución N° 1373 del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas y la Convención Interamericana contra el Terrorismo, el Estado debe emitir disposiciones que prevengan y repriman la financiación de los actos de terrorismo, así como abstenerse de proporcionar cualquier tipo de apoyo a las entidades o personas que participen en la comisión de actos terroristas.

Que el Artículo 124 de la Constitución Política del Estado, tipifica el delito de Traición a la Patria, entre otros previsto contra quienes atenten contra la unidad del país. Asimismo los Artículos 121, 123 y 133 del Código Penal, tipifican los delitos de Alzamientos Armados contra la Seguridad y Soberanía del Estado, Sedición y Terrorismo, inscritos en los alcances de los Convenios Internacionales precitados, instrumentos internacionales que requieren de mecanismos legales y administrativos para su aplicación efectiva, con relación a los recursos y medios utilizados para la efectivización de las conductas ilícitas, conforme establece la jerarquía normativa determinada por el Parágrafo 11 del Artículo 410 de la Constitución Política del Estado, con el objeto de brindar efectiva tranquilidad pública y garantizar la seguridad interna del Estado, del conjunto de ciudadanos y ciudadanas.

Que el Artículo 71 del Código Penal, dispone que la comisión de un delito lleva aparejada la pérdida de los instrumentos con que hubieren ejecutado y los efectos que de él provienen los cuales serán decomisados, a menos que pertenecieran a un tercero no responsable, quien podrá recobrarlos, asimismo regula la disposición de los mismos.

Que el Artículo 90 del Código Penal, establece que desde el momento de la comisión de un delito, los bienes inmuebles de los responsables se tendrán por hipotecados especialmente para la responsabilidad civil, teniendo que reglamentarse dicha disposición legal.

EN CONSEJO DE MINISTROS,

DECRETA:

ARTÍCULO 1.- (OBJETO). El presente Decreto Supremo, tiene por objeto establecer el procedimiento para determinar la jurisdicción, la aplicación de medidas cautelares sobre el patrimonio, medios e instrumentos que hubieran sido utilizados o estuviesen comprometidos, en la comisión de los delitos de Terrorismo, Sedición o Alzamientos Armados contra la Seguridad y Soberanía del Estado.

ARTÍCULO 2.- (JURISDICCIÓN). Queda consolidada la ciudad de La Paz, como ámbito de jurisdicción procesal para el juzgamiento de los delitos de Terrorismo, Sedición o Alzamientos Armados contra la Seguridad y Soberanía del Estado, siendo esta ciudad la Sede de Gobierno legalmente constituida donde se encuentran las principales instituciones del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia.

ARTÍCULO 3.- (ÁMBITO DE APLICACIÓN). La presente norma reglamentaria, se aplicará sobre el patrimonio, medios e instrumentos para la comisión o financiamiento que pertenecieren a los imputados, o posibles instigadores y cómplices de las conductas calificadas por el fiscal como Terrorismo, Sedición o Alzamientos Armados contra la Seguridad y la Soberanía del Estado, desde la medianoche del momento del hecho delictivo.

ARTÍCULO 4.- (APLICACIÓN DE MEDIDAS CAUTELARES DE CARÁCTER REAL) l. En conocimiento del hecho por cualesquiera de las formas de inicio de la investigación penal, el fiscal dentro el plazo de las diligencias preliminares dispuesto por el Artículo 300 de la Ley N° 1970, de 25 de marzo de 1999, Código de Procedimiento Penal, por la supuesta comisión del delito o ante la flagrancia prevista en el Artículo 230 de la Ley antes citada, requerirá ante el Juez de Instrucción, la incautación del patrimonio, medios e instrumentos que pertenecieran a los imputados, y posibles instigadores y cómplices de las conductas calificadas como Terrorismo, Sedición o Alzamientos Armados contra la Seguridad y Soberanía del Estado.

II. Los bienes muebles e inmuebles, quedarán bajo custodia de la Dirección de Registro, Control y Administración de Bienes Incautados -DIRCABI.

III. El fiscal, podrá requerir la retención de fondos de los imputados y posibles instigadores y cómplices por ante el sistema bancario y de entidades financieras a través de la Autoridad de Supervisión del Sistema Financiero. La incautación se aplicará aunque los fondos de recursos financieros no hayan sido usados efectivamente o no se haya llegado a producir los actos de Terrorismo, Sedición o Alzamientos Armados contra la Seguridad y Soberanía del Estado

IV. La incautación de bienes inmuebles del propietario procederá cuando éste haya participado en cualquiera de sus formas en el hecho delictivo.

V. Los bienes incautados incluidos recursos financieros y valores preferentemente se destinarán a programas de seguridad ciudadana y del Estado.

ARTÍCULO 5.- (PROCEDIMIENTO PARA LA APLICACIÓN DE MEDIDAS CAUTELARES DE CARÁCTER REAL)

l. Procedimiento de Incautación. El o la Fiscal a tiempo de iniciar la etapa de investigación o en su desarrollo, hasta antes de dictarse la sentencia, mediante requerimiento fundamentado, solicitará al Juez o la Jueza de la Instrucción la incautación de bienes sujetos a confiscación, especificando los que quedarán a su disposición a efectos de prueba.

II. Resolución de Incautación. El Juez o la Jueza de Instrucción Penal, atendiendo el requerimiento fiscal, si existen suficientes elementos de convicción acerca de la participación del imputado o posibles instigadores y cómplices mediante resolución fundamentada dispondrá:

a) La incautación de los bienes inmuebles, valores y dineros que hayan podido servir a la comisión de los delitos de Terrorismo, Sedición o Alzamientos Armados contra la Seguridad y Soberanía del Estado.

b) La anotación preventiva de la resolución de incautación, tratándose de bienes muebles sujetos a registro.

c) La entrega de los bienes a DIRCABI.

d) Si luego de celebrado el juicio se determina la sentencia condenatoria y aquella adquiere ejecutoria, los bienes incautados pasarán a la categoría de confiscados y pasarán a propiedad del Estado, sin derecho a indemnización alguna.

III. No serán objeto de incautación los bienes muebles u objetos personales que fueran de uso indispensable por el imputado o posibles instigadores y cómplices, y su cónyuge según dispone el Artículo 179 del Código de Procedimiento Civil.

IV. La anotación de la incautación en los registros públicos, estará exenta del pago de valores judiciales y administrativos.

ARTÍCULO 6.- (REMISIÓN A PROCEDIMIENTO COMÚN). El procedimiento desarrollado en el presente Decreto Supremo, se ejecutará en el marco definido por el Reglamento de Bienes Incautados, Decomisados y Confiscados.

DISPOSICIONES

ABROGATORIAS y DEROGATORIAS

Se abrogan y derogan todas las disposiciones contrarias al presente Decreto Supremo.

El señor Ministro de Estado, en el Despacho de Gobierno, queda encargado de la ejecución y cumplimiento del presente Decreto Supremo.

Es dado en Palacio de Gobierno de la ciudad de La Paz, a los veinte días del mes de mayo del año dos mil nueve.


La Razon.

May 13, 2009

Latin America: Oscar Arias' Words to Latin American Elites

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I am reproducing the speech Costa Rican President, Oscar Arias, gave at the Americas Summit in Trinidad and Tobago last April 18, because I think he speaks to the hearts of Latin American elites. I share many of his words.

Apparently, this speech is going around the internet and has become very popular. I would have liked to have an English version, but could not find it. So, here is the Spanish version. I think though it is better to read the original version.

Oscar Arias: "Algo Hicimos Mal" los Latinoamericanos

El discurso del presidente de Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, en la Cumbre de las Américas de Trinidad y Tobago, el pasado 18 de abril, está circulando con gran energía por todo Internet. En el mismo, Arias pide a los líderes latinoamericanos que hagan un "mea culpa" por los errores políticos que han colocado a América Latina en desventaja frente a otras regiones del mundo, en lugar de culpar a terceros de sus problemas. Arias, artífice de la paz en Centroamérica en los años 80 y Premio Nobel de la Paz, ilustra sus puntos de vista con gran cantidad de ejemplos. Estas fueron sus palabras en la Cumbre de las Américas:

"Tengo la impresión de que cada vez que los países caribeños y latinoamericanos se reúnen con el presidente de los Estados Unidos de América, es para pedirle cosas o para reclamarle cosas. Casi siempre, es para culpar a Estados Unidos de nuestros males pasados, presentes y futuros. No creo que eso sea del todo justo.

No podemos olvidar que América Latina tuvo universidades antes de que Estados Unidos creara Harvard y William & Mary, que son las primeras universidades de ese país. No podemos olvidar que en este continente, como en el mundo entero, por lo menos hasta 1750 todos los americanos eran más o menos iguales: todos eran pobres. Cuando aparece la Revolución Industrial en Inglaterra, otros países se montan en ese vagón: Alemania, Francia, Estados Unidos, Canadá, Australia, Nueva Zelanda… y así la Revolución Industrial pasó por América Latina como un cometa, y no nos dimos cuenta. Ciertamente perdimos la oportunidad. También hay una diferencia muy grande. Leyendo la historia de América Latina, comparada con la historia de Estados Unidos, uno comprende que Latinoamérica no tuvo un John Winthrop español, ni portugués, que viniera con la Biblia en su mano dispuesto a construir “una Ciudad sobre una Colina”, una ciudad que brillara, como fue la pretensión de los peregrinos que llegaron a Estados Unidos.

Hace 50 años, México era más rico que Portugal. En 1950, un país como Brasil tenía un ingreso per cápita más elevado que el de Corea del Sur. Hace 60 años, Honduras tenía más riqueza per cápita que Singapur, y hoy Singapur –en cuestión de 35 ó 40 años– es un país con $40.000 de ingreso anual por habitante. Bueno, algo hicimos mal los latinoamericanos. ¿Qué hicimos mal? No puedo enumerar todas las cosas que hemos hecho mal. Para comenzar, tenemos una escolaridad de siete años. Esa es la escolaridad promedio de América Latina y no es el caso de la mayoría de los países asiáticos. Ciertamente no es el caso de países como Estados Unidos y Canadá, con la mejor educación del mundo, similar a la de los europeos. De cada 10 estudiantes que ingresan a la secundaria en América Latina, en algunos países solo uno termina esa secundaria. Hay países que tienen una mortalidad infantil de 50 niños por cada mil, cuando el promedio en los países asiáticos más avanzados es de 8, 9 ó 10.

Nosotros tenemos países donde la carga tributaria es del 12% del producto interno bruto, y no es responsabilidad de nadie, excepto la nuestra, que no le cobremos dinero a la gente más rica de nuestros países. Nadie tiene la culpa de eso, excepto nosotros mismos. En 1950, cada ciudadano norteamericano era cuatro veces más rico que un ciudadano latinoamericano. Hoy en día, un ciudadano norteamericano es 10, 15 ó 20 veces más rico que un latinoamericano. Eso no es culpa de Estados Unidos, es culpa nuestra.

En mi intervención de esta mañana, me referí a un hecho que para mí es grotesco, y que lo único que demuestra es que el sistema de valores del siglo XX, que parece ser el que estamos poniendo en práctica también en el siglo XXI, es un sistema de valores equivocado. Porque no puede ser que el mundo rico dedique 100.000 millones de dólares para aliviar la pobreza del 80% de la población del mundo –en un planeta que tiene 2.500 millones de seres humanos con un ingreso de $2 por día– y que gaste 13 veces más ($1.300.000. 000.000) en armas y soldados.

Como lo dije esta mañana, no puede ser que América Latina se gaste $50.000 millones en armas y soldados. Yo me pregunto: ¿quién es el enemigo nuestro? El enemigo nuestro, presidente Correa, de esa desigualdad que usted apunta con mucha razón, es la falta de educación; es el analfabetismo; es que no gastamos en la salud de nuestro pueblo; que no creamos la infraestructura necesaria, los caminos, las carreteras, los puertos, los aeropuertos; que no estamos dedicando los recursos necesarios para detener la degradación del medio ambiente; es la desigualdad que tenemos, que realmente nos avergüenza; es producto, entre muchas cosas, por supuesto, de que no estamos educando a nuestros hijos y a nuestras hijas.

Uno va a una universidad latinoamericana y todavía parece que estamos en los sesenta, setenta u ochenta. Parece que se nos olvidó que el 9 de noviembre de 1989 pasó algo muy importante, al caer el Muro de Berlín, y que el mundo cambió. Tenemos que aceptar que este es un mundo distinto, y en eso francamente pienso que todos los académicos, que toda la gente de pensamiento, que todos los economistas, que todos los historiadores, casi que coinciden en que el siglo XXI es el siglo de los asiáticos, no de los latinoamericanos. Y yo, lamentablemente, coincido con ellos. Porque mientras nosotros seguimos discutiendo sobre ideologías, seguimos discutiendo sobre todos los “ismos” (¿cuál es el mejor? capitalismo, socialismo, comunismo, liberalismo, neoliberalismo, socialcristianismo...), los asiáticos encontraron un “ismo” muy realista para el siglo XXI y el final del siglo XX, que es el pragmatismo. Para sólo citar un ejemplo, recordemos que cuando Deng Xiaoping visitó Singapur y Corea del Sur, después de haberse dado cuenta de que sus propios vecinos se estaban enriqueciendo de una manera muy acelerada, regresó a Pekín y dijo a los viejos camaradas maoístas que lo habían acompañado en la Larga Marcha: “Bueno, la verdad, queridos camaradas, es que mí no me importa si el gato es blanco o negro, lo único que me interesa es que cace ratones”. Y si hubiera estado vivo Mao, se hubiera muerto de nuevo cuando dijo que “la verdad es que enriquecerse es glorioso”. Y mientras los chinos hacen esto, y desde el 79 a hoy crecen a un 11%, 12% o 13%, y han sacado a 300 millones de habitantes de la pobreza, nosotros seguimos discutiendo sobre ideologías que tuvimos que haber enterrado hace mucho tiempo atrás.

La buena noticia es que esto lo logró Deng Xioping cuando tenía 74 años. Viendo alrededor, queridos presidentes, no veo a nadie que esté cerca de los 74 años. Por eso solo les pido que no esperemos a cumplirlos para hacer los cambios que tenemos que hacer. Muchas gracias".

May 10, 2009

Elections December 2009: Preliminary Survey of the Vote

MABB © ®

This is the first survey I see on the candidates for the coming December general elections. According to the results, which are good for April, Morales has 41% support, followed by Carlos Mesa with 7% (who said is not running), Victor Hugo Cardenas with 7% (who is not officially in the race yet, but already said will run), Jorge Quiroga with 6% and Ruben Costas with 5%.

Also, 60% of the people surveyed thought Morales will win the elections. Finally, 14% think Mesa and/or Quiroga are the best opposition candidates. Both are followed by Cardenas with 10% and Costas with 7%.

I will be willing to bet if such results keep coming up and the percentage of support for Mesa rise, he will change his mind. After all, the reason he ventured into politics, he said, is because he thought he had accumulated a certain amount of experience and knowledge which made him feel he could be ready for the presidency. So much for one's own view of one self!

Click on the image to see it larger!

La Prensa article

May 03, 2009

The Assasination Plot in Bolivia

MABB © ®

As you very well may know the story about these "terrorists" who were in Bolivia and were planning to assassinate, among others, Evo Morales, goes on and on. The investigations are still underway but the verdicts are already out. Three people are dead and two are in jail. Of the latest, alleged terrorists, one is the Hungarian Elod Toaso.

The Bolivian government brands him as terrorist and his family in Hungary say he is an innocent young man. The sister, I think, sent me the website she (maybe they) built for him.

www.toasoelod.com

In it, they ask the European Union to take care of Toaso because he is innocent and his rights are being violated.

This situation can potentially be a strong blow for the government if it does not clarify the case. Especially, after the alleged terrorists were shot to death and some accounts have, again, alleged they were executed and not shot in fire exchange. The government can potentially come out in a bad light from this case not only internationally, due to the fact that some of those men were European citizens, but nationally because the memory of former military regimes is still fresh in the collective Bolivian memory.

April 30, 2009

The Electoral Season II

MABB © ®

The electoral season has already started in Bolivia. The general elections of December this year will be, yet again, one more important electoral event Bolivia will have to pass on its way to more stability. The clock has started to run and the different political groups are organizing themselves. One thing is certain, Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia from MAS will run for re-election. What is left to be sorted out are the different opponents MAS will have.

In that respect, there are several interesting developments concerning MAS' support. Having into account that the last time MAS was up for vote in 2005, it got 54% of the vote. Even though this was a historic number, this time around, it doesn't seem as though MAS will reach anywhere near that far.

There were always rumors of rifts within the party. I've always heard rumors about differences between the so called "indigenous wing" in MAS and the "intellectual" win. The argument was that the objectives of the two were hardly reconcilable. In recent months those rifts have been brought to light. The most recent significant example of such rifts is Román Loayza's divorcing the party. He was, after all, the leader of the campesinos (CSUTCB) and founder of MAS, and thus a fundamental piece within the power structure of MAS. In the last few weeks, Loayza announced he will register a new political party and will run for election in December. This is the outcome of a long struggle within MAS between Loayza and Morales. Loayza left MAS complaining that Morales was surrounded by people who were taking advantage of the moment and had nothing to do with the indigenous movement MAS was. He especifically pointed at Walker San Miguel, Alfredo Rada and Juan Ramon Quintana. Loayza also said that he was told he was the "moral guardian" of the party and as such he would run for the presidency.

Since 2005, MAS lost valuable people in its ranks. Recently, the operative right hand of Morales, former YPFB director, Santos Ramirez, was thrown out of the party for corruption. He was caught receiving pay-offs from the state oil company's contractors. Also, MAS senators (Guido Guardia and Gerald Ortiz) declared themselves dissident and broke with the government's line. This resulted on MAS having 10 instead of 12 Senators and so losing influence in the Senate. In addition, former ideologue and founder of MAS as well, Filemon Escobar, also left MAS for disagreements with Morales. Lastly, a young cruceno woman, Adriana Gil, who had been credited with delivering significant support for Evo Morales in Santa Cruz, left the party because she felt the leadership did not recognized her efforts.

MAS has lost significant support since 2005. But, the biggest blow is the splitting of Román Loayza, who has a significant number of supporters among one of the largest groups within MAS, the peasants group.

Below, you see a picture of Adriana Gil, who is a very young (24 years old) political figure in Santa Cruz. She has recently said that she will support Romàn Loayza in his efforts to gain the presidency.



I was impressed by this young lady, in her courage to stand up for what she believes. She supported Morales in one of the most difficult regions to support someone like Morales. Yet, she helped him gain acceptance and, most importantly, votes in 2005. However, similarly disenchanted with what Morales is currently doing, she has left the party and is seeking now other ways to channel her energy and "political savvy". Just as an additional note in this post, is this the face of the future first elected woman President of Bolivia?


Links:
La Razón, Adriana Gil, Bottup, El Deber interview, El Deber attacks, El Deber cadidates 2004, Bolpress, Book on R Loayza, Ernesto Justiniano blog, La Prensa