December 28, 2012

15 Literary Works of Bolivia

MABB © ®

The Bolivian government, namely the Ministry of Culture, produced a list with 15 of the most significant literary works (in the last 100 years?) of Bolivia.

  1. Historia de la Villa Imperial de Potosí, from Bartolomé Arzáns de Orsúa y Vela;
  2. Juan de la Rosa, from Nataniel Aguirre; 
  3. Íntimas, from Adela Zamudio; 
  4. Raza de bronce, from Alcides Arguedas; 
  5. Aluvión de fuego, from Óscar Cerruto; 
  6. La Virgen de las Siete Calles, from Alfredo Flores; 
  7. La Chaskañawi, from Carlos Medinaceli; 
  8. Los deshabitados, from Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz; 
  9. El Loco, from Arturo Borda; 
  10. Tirinea, from Jesús Urzagasti; 
  11. Matías, el apóstol suplente, from Julio de la Vega; 
  12. Felipe Delgado, from Jaime Saenz; 
  13. El otro gallo, from Jorge Suárez; 
  14. El run run de la calavera, from Ramón Rocha Monroy; 
  15. Jonás y la ballena rosada, from Wolfango Montes Vannuci.

From those, I only read two, Raza de Bronce and Chaskanawi, which were obligatory in my primary education.

November 09, 2012

Latin America and the US

MABB © ®

Below you'll find two very interesting articles about the near future relationship between the Obama administration and the Latin American region.

The first one is about the source of American foreign policy towards Latin America. It lays out the changes to the various foreign policy committees that deal with the region. For those interested on detailed information about american politics and its implications on Latin America.
By leaving the political landscape in Washington largely unaltered, the 2012 U.S. election will not imply significant changes for U.S. policy towards Latin America. Yet even as the Republicans retain the House of Representatives and the Democrats keep a narrow majority in the Senate, the results of several individual races will impact the “who’s who” of voices on Latin America in the U.S. Congress.
The next article talks about what the Obama administratin should concentrate on in the next four years.
Assuming that the world does not end, according to the Mayan calendar in December, 2013 will be an important year south of the U.S. border. There are a number of issues to watch in determining the hemisphere's direction, although most depend less on the Nov. 6 election results and more on factors that are out of White House control. Savvy observers of the region will watch the 10 "C's" as the real policy drivers.
I personally find the first article more interesting, however, the second is also useful in raising some ovbious yet neglected issues.

I would say, Bolivia must not expect too much in the next four years from the US. Presumably, the Obama administration will keep its course, but more astonishingly will keep pretty much ignoring the importance of Latin America and thus of Bolivia for its own gains.

October 11, 2012

Video About the Festivities Celebrating 30 Years of Democracy in Bolivia

MABB © ®

This video shows in 8 minutes 30 years of democracy in Bolivia (October 10, 1982 - 2012). Thanks to the people of the magazine La Mala Palabra.

October 03, 2012

Bolivia's Economic Development in Regional Context

MABB © ®

The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) has released its 2012 economic report on the region. In it, ECLAC argues that Latin America has been able to navigate the current and former crises since 2008 and that despite (or perhaps in spite of) it all, the region has been able to grow economically at decent rates.

So, I ask myself, how has Bolivia been developing in comparison to its neighbors?

First of all, the global context has not been very promising, that is, following the conventional wisdom that if the world is doing well economically, by extension, Latin America must do well too. The reverse applies in the same manner. But, reality contradicts this assumption.

For instance, at the global level, the major market in the world, the European Union, is not doing that well. You all know the Euro Zone is going through a serious debt crisis, which in the end is also affecting the growth of the US, China and India. However, as I just wrote above, the Latin America region is doing surprisingly well.

What does that say? Perhaps that Latin America is not that dependent on the European Union.

September 20, 2012

The Morales Government is Falling Victim of its Own Doctrine

MABB © ®

The latest conflict between independent miners (known as Cooperativistas in Bolivia), mine workers and the government is a good example of how the Morales' government doctrine, governing obeying the people (gobernar obedeciendo al pueblo), is not working.

All throughout his government, Morales has been repeating himself expressing his, first desire, and later his actions, as governing obeying the people. With that he has meant meant that his government's policies are being constantly consulted with different interest groups such as, for example, the coca growers union, the campesino federation (CSUTCB), mining workers of the state company COMIBOL or the indigenous women federation Bartolina Sisa. Moreover, his government has periodically (usually once a year) been submitted to evaluation and criticism by the same organizations, which make up the MAS, his government party.

While this approach to government has paid large dividends for Morales and his government in the first years of his government, lately it has become a real obstacle to governance. For example, at the time of passing the first laws with which Morales sought to carry out the "change" (towards his new Bolivia), consensus was pre-programmed. The laws concerning the electoral system, the judicial system and the Constitutional Court as well as the law on Autonomy and Decentralization passed without much controversy. This was because these laws had to do with the awaited state reform and as such did not directly touch the lives of MAS supporters. Moreover, the decisions that nationalized the energy industries were another example of this joint effort.

In this second term, the Morales government has repeatedly found itself in a difficult situation. The latest conflict within the mining sector has the quality of highlighting these difficulties. At the core of the problem is a mine in the town of Colquiri. In his attempt to obey the people, Morales responded to the demands of the Cooperativistas to gain control of the mine by giving them the control of it and thus permission to exploit it. However, the mine workers of COMIBOL have been demanding the mine be nationalized in accordance to the government's economic policies. This has resulted in a full blown conflict, in which both camps have began a campaign to force the government to take their sides. The conflict has escalated so much that in a latest confrontation between the two groups, one miner was killed and others wounded.

What does this show? It shows that, while it might be most desirable for a government to govern obeying the people, this strategy might not be the best one. The Bolivian government is experiencing this first hand. On the one hand, at the discourse level, the idea to consult the people and obey their demands has won for the government significant support. However, this support has been on large and, many times, beyond pure politics issues such as identity, ethnic conscience, power balance and inclusion. These, are issues that not very many people would disagree with, especially in a country such as Bolivia. For example, not only the indigenous Aymaras have gained ethnic conscience. The crucenos, tarijenos and sucrenses have also become more aware of their identity and ethnicity. At the same time, these groups have also sought to establish a better balance between regional and local governments vis-a-vis the central government.

On the other hand, it is at the time of considering issues that directly affect the lives of people that the "nice" idea of governing obeying the people confronts its problematic sides. If a government is going to do what the people wants, then the problem rises when the people want something different and that these something is contradictory to each other. As in the example cited above, if the Morales government has listened to the Cooperativistas and obeyed them by giving them the control of the mine, it is clear (from the example) that the decision has directly affected the mine workers. It might be that the latter also want to exploit the mine because it has significant resources and thus this will secure their livelihoods. It is at the time these conflicts appear that the government gets confronted with the realities of governing, i.e. that every decision the government makes is bound to affect, positively as well as negatively, at least one group of people.

For this reason, it is very unlikely that the Morales government will continue having success with his governing obeying the people strategy.

September 11, 2012

Why Does the US Denies Bolivia's Request to Extradite Goni

MABB © ®

The government of Evo Morales has been, since 2007, requesting the US administration to hand former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada to Bolivia because he is being accused of Genocide by that government. The Morales government wants to bring Sanchez de Lozada to a court of law to make him responsible of the 67 deaths in a violent confrontation between police forces and demonstrators back in October 2003.

Formally, the US administration has not been willing to give any particular reason for the denial. However, the article below cites an anonymous source who is very familiar with the case who does speak about the reasons.
Trying to shed some light on what’s going on behind the Obama administration denial of the request, ABC News granted anonymity to a source familiar with the matter to give some perspective. The source said there were serious technical problems with the Bolivian extradition request.
 The source essentially says that the Bolivian application is faulty and contains little to none evidence. The implication is that the Bolivian lawyers have not been doing a good job at formulating the application in accordance to the guidelines. A more explicit implication, expressed by the source, was that the Morales government did not want to really extradite Sanchez de Lozada but it just wanted to further demonize the US administration to keep the support solid at home.

These are, I think, two legitimate questions. First of all, why are Bolivian lawyers not able to put together a fact-solid, well argumented application? Personally, I don't think it has to do with them not being able to do that. I would argue further that, to the contrary, Bolivian lawyers must be more than capable to formulate such an application. Some of them might have even studied in the US and thus be familiar with US law.

Secondly, is the Bolivian government rather trying to maintain its popularity high at home by fueling the anti-American feeling they have been propagating? I find the Morales government is certainly capable of that. In fact, there is no denying that the discourse against capitalism and imperialism and Americanism has paid large dividends for Morales. Anti-American feelings run very high in Bolivia in current times.

But, at the same time, we should not forget the other side of the coin. For one, the US government does not have any incentive as of now to cooperate with the Bolivian government. So, why should the US administration give course to the Bolivian petition? Especially, considering that Sanchez de Lozada has been a close ally of the US and, by any means, should be discarded that Sanchez de Lozada will make an attempt to come back to power in Bolivia. This, even if it is just to re-write how history will remember Sanchez de Lozada.

September 06, 2012

Freedom House's Assessment of Latin American Democracies: Wavering, but not in Deep Decline

MABB © ®

Here is an article worth reading from Freedom House that argues some Latin American democracies are wavering, but not deeply declining...

Freedom in Latin America is wavering, not in deep decline. But the wavering should concern us all, and especially those who recall a time when the region was synonymous with state violence, political extremism, and injustice.
I personally think it is a sobering verdict and overall pretty much right. Nonetheless, one has to have in mind all the criticism that has been raised against FH.

September 05, 2012

Is Bolivia a Failed State?

MABB © ®

I was just taking a look at the Failed States Index 2012 site and found something that struck me funny. If you  see the graph below, and if you follow Bolivia's political and social development somewhat, you will notice something that doesn't feel right ...

Yes, that is right, Bolivia is red and the color denotes critical. Now I knew Bolivia was in trouble but to be in critical as a failed state is something new to me.

According to the site, the criteria used to come to this conclusion includes: Demographic pressures, refugees/IDPs, group grievance, human flight, uneven development, economic decline, delegitimization of the state, public services, human rights, security apparatus, factionalized elites, external intervention.

Now, I look at the categories and I am thinking to myself, well, Bolivia might meet some of those criteria but wouldn't a country have to meet 90 percent of the criteria in order to be a failed state?

I mean, yes, there is a significant group grievance (if you consider the Santa Cruz opposition as a group and their desire to have more saying on their own affairs as a grievance). The country has been plagued with inequality, but right now the government has managed actually to reduce it with all those transfers it has implemented. There is no human flight whatsoever, unless the index means emigration with it. In economic terms, Bolivia is passing through one of its best moments ever. The current state has a level of legitimacy rarely seen since re-democratization, granted it is losing legitimacy in the process. Political rights are suffering and not human rights. Finally, and the one thing I do agree with, is that Bolivia's relationship with Venezuela has been problematic, to say the least.

The thing that confuses me is that Bolivia is red as you arrive to the web site. This leads me to conclude, as a Bolivian expert, that either something is wrong with the data or the site has a bug that makes Bolivia show red as in critical.

Personally, I disagree with the results of the index. I don't think Bolivia is a critical case in the universe of failed states. Further, Bolivia might fail in some things but is not a failed state. At the most, I would place it in the "borderline" category.

August 30, 2012

Trade Balance: Some Consideration about Bolivia's Trade Surplus

MABB © ®

 The Bolivian government is enjoying a period of favorable economic conditions. Granted the conditions for positive macroeconomic stability were laid out in the reforms of the 1980s, the current government has a lot to do with Bolivia's current positive development. One of the most important decisions the Morales government has made while in office was to nationalize the hydrocarbons sector, i.e. the extraction and export of natural gas, Bolivia's most valuable natural resource today.

Aside from positive growth, Bolivia's economic data has been showing record levels of international reserves, the (if I am not mistaken) only budget surpluses in history and more currently, its trade surplus. But, what is trade surplus and what does it mean for Bolivia?

As you very well may know, trade surplus means, in simple terms, that Bolivia sells more to the world than it buys. It also means that Bolivia receives foreign currency, in essence more money, and is of course better than it was before.

The below graph, taken from a recent publication by the National Statistics Institute (INE), shows the development of trade in Bolivia comparing two periods (January to July) in two different years, 2011 and 2012. Ergo the data is recent, and of course preliminary.

August 26, 2012

Silencing the Media

MABB © ®

Much like his Ecuadorian colleague, President Correa, President Morales has adopted a troublesome strategy to counter criticism from the press on his government. Within the last five days, the Bolivian Government (BG), through its Interior Ministry (Ministerio de Gobierno), has presented a formal accusation against three newspapers (ANF, Pagina Siete and El Diario) for "spreading or inciting racism or discrimination", which in Bolivia is a penal crime.

This is an old quarrel, one which Morales has been complaining about since he took office. He alleges that several private media outlets (among them TV stations, radios and newspapers) have been waging war against his "proceso de cambio" (change process) in a way in which only the media can do, tarnishing his image and putting him constantly in a bad light.

Morales has been looking for a way to quiet the press and criticism against himself and his government. He has tried, in some form, nationalizing some news outlets, creating a new state newspaper and taking advantage of the Internet presence, publicly ridiculing reporters, and avoiding altogether the private press. This is the latest attempt and might be the most efficient. If successful, the government can count with an investigation by the office of the Attorney General and a subsequent penal process against the newspapers. In the worst case for these news outlets, some editors or owners or directors would go to jail for up to three years, the newspapers themselves would be either closed or would have to pay penalties.

The situation is not only being closely followed by the immediately affected such as journalists and the media outlets but also by international press associations such as the Reporters without Borders or the International Association of Press as well as other organizations such as the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights in Bolivia.

Bolivia is the second country, after Ecuador, that goes after the critical press through the legal system. In the next days the Justice Department will take a look at the accusation and will either recommend to go ahead or will set it aside. The expectation is that, given the fact that the government has asked of any person working in any government office or function to have an unconditional "compromise" with the change process and that the government has had a lot of free hand to design the lists from which these judges were elected into office, the result will be the beginning of the process against the three newspapers.

I am very expectant of the outcome. This will be a pivotal proof of the Justice System's independence, especially considering that the rights to freedom of the press and that of free speech are guaranteed in the constitution.

July 25, 2012

Bolivia's Relations with Brazil

MABB © ®

There is a crisis brewing in the, up to now, normal diplomatic relations between the Bolivian government and the Brazilian administration. Culprit, for the moment, would be the former Senator Roger Pinto (CN), who in his efforts to investigate corruption cases in the Morales government has found evidence that strongly points to the participation of high officials in dealings with organized drug trafficking organizations. 

Pinto came accross police protocols and reports that described how Juan Ramon Quintana (current Minister of the Presidency and at the time of the event Director of the Bolivian Agency for Regional Development)  together with a public official (also former Miss Bolivia), Jessica Jordan, arrived, entered and after some time left with two hand bags, the house of a known Brazilian drug trafficker, Maximiliano Dorado Munhoz.

As a result of Pinto's investigations the Bolivian government accused Pinto of corruption and other charges and tried to bring him to jail. Pinto, on his part, went to the Brazilian embassy in La Paz where he stayed and asked for asylum because of political persecusion. The Brazilian government, after hesitating a bit, accepted Pinto's application for asylum. In addition, the Brazilian news magazine, Veja, published a report entitled "Bolivia, the Cocain Republic" (Portuguese), which was based on the leaked documents of Pinto's investigation. This was the beginning of the rocky road the Bolivian-Brazilian relations are going through now.

Meanwhile, Pinto has been in the Brazilian embassy for over 50 days (since May 28) now waiting for his permission to leave the country. The Bolivian government, instead, has denied Pinto's request and is forcing him to stay in the embassy withou the possibility of leaving the premises. Roger Pinto wrote an open letter to Morales accusing the president with abuse of power (here is text of the letter). Other people have concurred with Pinto and wrote opinion pieces denouncing Morales' arrogance (the arrogance of Evo). To top it all off, the Bolivian government has made not so diplomatic statements. Officials have called the Brazilian embassy a small jail that holds small-time criminals, also other officials have called the decision "wrong" and "bewildered".

As you may imagine, the relationship between the two countries has suffered severely as a result of this impasse. On the one side, the Bolivian government has shown its deep dissappointment that the Rousseff administration has granted Pinto asylum. This was received as an afront by the Morales government because it basically accepts that Pinto is being persecuted and that he would not have a chance to have a fair trial if he were to dispute the accusations.

On the other side, the Brazilian administration has had a tradition of granting asylum to politically persecuted people and has not been able to brake with that tradition. Additionally, while the relationship between Lula and Morales was very positive, the relationship with Dilma has been very reserved. Lastly, the Brazilian administration stil remembers the nationalization of a Petrobras subsidiary by Morales.

The relationship between Bolivia and Brazil is, in my opinion, one of mutual dependence. Brazil and Bolivia are dependent on the sell and buy of natural gas. If the one stops buying/selling the two parties will suffer consequences. It is a delicate situation indeed, one that will take time to mend.

I am very interested in seeing how will this dispute between the two governments will come out.

June 22, 2012

Bolivian Police Force Insurrects

MABB © ®

Since yesterday, thursday June 21, lower ranked officers of the National Bolivian Police have been rebelling against the Morales government. The central offices in each of the nine departments has been occupied; in some cases vandalized as in La Paz and in other cases they have just been occupied. Police officers have removed themselves from the streets (in some cases from prison buildings such as in La Paz) and gone to their respective offices to remain attentive to the latest developments.

The protest has been triggered by the passing of a law (Law 101) which would prevent officers to defend themselves in internal affairs, establishes rules for better control of personnel and prohibits officers to speak with the media.

For up to date information follow these links (Spanish):

Erbol, Página Siete and in Twitter #motinpolicial and #motínpolicial.

June 16, 2012

Bolivia's Economic Performance

MABB © ®

How reliable is the IMF in impartially observing the economies of countries in development? Some criticize the IMF controls rather than monitors the economies. However, the real question is whether the data, assessments and judgements are unbiased and therefore worth the ink they are printed on. Personally, I tend to rely on the data generated by the IMF for two reasons: a) the data is more or less current (at least in the case of Bolivia), with the caveat that most of the data is generated by the Bolivian government; and b) the IMF has an interest to generate the best data and judgements possible because it is its money it has to safeguard.

June 15, 2012

Can a Treaty Really Not Be Renegotiated?

MABB © ®

After the diplomatic fiasco of his government during and after the 42nd. OAS General Assembly, Evo Morales seems to be more than ever resolute on renegotiating the 1904 Peace and Friendship Treaty with Chile. The question is (at least for a non expert in International Relations like me) whether a treaty such as the one we are talking about can be modified or renegotiated.

Evo Morales and his government has began to make, what it looks to me, a somewhat decent argument on the necessity to renegotiate the treaty. First, and here are what I consider the weakest part of the argument, Morales, and his Foreign Affairs Minister Choquehuanca, argue that Chile has not met the conditions laid out in the treaty. For one, they argue, that the free transit of Bolivians to and from the sea is not given. Second, they argue that the treaty was signed 25 years after the war ended and that Bolivia signed under the threat of more violence from the part of Chile. In other words, Bolivia was forced to sign the treaty and did not sign it voluntarily. Third, the privatization of the port and its administration has been a major violation to the treaty, argue the Bolivian government.

June 06, 2012

The 42nd. OAS General Assembly in Bolivia

MABB © ®

Agencia Bolivia de Información

The 42nd. General Assembly of the OAS, held in Cochabamba, from the 3rd. to the 5th. of June, 2012, is over. From an observer's perspective, it was a truly Latin American affair, with the US and Canada (and some English speaking Caribbean islands) limiting themselves at more or less observing how the host country and its allies try to change the power structure within the organization. Of, course, publicly, that is, because behind the scenes, the US government (and its allies) was determined to demonstrate continuity in its approach to the region and was not willing to leave spaces without contestation.

June 04, 2012

The OAS in Bolivia

MABB © ®

Bolivia is hosting the 42nd OAS General Assembly in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The image left, is from the first Plenary Session and, along with other images and videos, is available from the OAS' flickr account free of charge.

The organization of such an event is very significant for Bolivia and the government of Evo Morales. Principally, because it attracts the attention of the world on the country, its problems and its achievements. Above all, the government is interested to showcase what it deems its achievements. At the same time, however, the country becomes the attention it wants and the kind of attention it doesn't want. So, it is a thin line to walk on.

So far, viewed from the outside, the government of Morales and therefore the country, has shown itself, on the one side, in good light, because it has proven itself capable to host such an event and, on the other side, self-secure and pugnacious, because it has not hesitated on attacking "the Empire" in its introductory speeches.

June 03, 2012

Evo ratifica a 10 ministros, nombra 7 nuevos y 2 retornan

Evo ratifica a 10 ministros, nombra 7 nuevos y 2 retornan:

El presidente Evo Morales configuró ayer su gabinete de ministros para la gestión 2012, con siete nuevas autoridades, diez ratificadas, una que cambió de cartera y dos sorpresivos regresos de antiguos colaboradores.

En esta nueva conformación predomina la presencia occidental del país puesto que, según datos disponibles, al menos diez ministros serían de La Paz.

A la hora de las tabulaciones, también llama la atención que se haya roto la equidad de género, pues hay 13 varones ministros contra solo siete mujeres.

Las nuevas figuras del entorno presidencial son: Amanda Dávila, en el cargo de ministra de Comunicación, en vez de Iván Canelas; Juan Carlos Calvimontes reemplaza a Nila Heredia en el Ministerio de Salud y Deportes; Mabel Monje dejó del Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Agua, ahora a cargo de Felipe Quispe.

Arturo Vladimir Sánchez es el nuevo ministro de Obras Públicas, Servicios y Vivienda, en vez de Wálter Delgadillo; Juan José Sosa asumirá como ministro de Hidrocarburos y Energía, antes a cargo de José Luis Gutiérrez; Cecilia Ayllón reemplaza a Nilda Copa como ministra de Justicia; y Mario Virreira juró como ministro de Minería y Metalurgia, en vez de José Pimentel.

Pablo Groux es uno de los dos retornos al gabinete, pues fue repuesto en la cartera de Culturas hasta ayer a cargo de Elizabeth Salguero.

Pero si hay un retorno que llamó la atención, fue el de Juan Ramón Quintana que vuelve a conformar el equipo del gabinete, tras dos años de haberse mantenido dentro el entorno gubernamental, mas en primera línea.

Quintana ocupaba desde 2010 el cargo de director nacional en la Agencia para el Desarrollo de las Macrorregiones y Zonas Fronterizas (Ademaf).

Su posesión como ministro de la Presidencia significó el cambio de Carlos Romero a la cartera de Gobierno; lo que representa un caso particular, ya que si bien Romero se mantiene en el Ejecutivo, no fue ratificado en su instancia y su posesión en el Ministerio de Gobierno significó la salida de Wilfredo Chávez.

Los nombres ratificados fueron Roberto Aguilar, como ministro de Educación; Nemesia Achacollo, en el cargo de Desarrollo Rural y Tierras; Claudia Peña, en la cartera de Autonomías; y Nardi Suxo, confirmada como ministra de Transparencia Institucional y Lucha Contra la Corrupción.

También se mantuvieron en sus cargos Daniel Santalla, como ministro de Trabajo, Empleo y Previsión Social; Teresa Morales, en la cartera de Desarrollo Productivo y Economía Plural; el ministro de Defensa, Rubén Saavedra; y Viviana Caro, que permanece en el cargo de Planificación del Desarrollo.

Finalmente, también permanecieron en el gabinete Luis Arce Catacora, como ministro de Economía y Finanzas Públicas; y David Choquehuanca, en la cartera de Relaciones Exteriores, ambos considerados “hombres fuertes” de Morales pues lo acompañan desde su primer Gobierno.

MABB © ®

February 22, 2012

Morales animó un programa piloto de 3 horas

Morales animó un programa piloto de 3 horas

I was wondering when was this going to happen!

Morales experienced with a pilot radio program that lasted about three hours. This only strengthens my belief that he is following some kind of model or specific advice.

More links:

Radio Kawsachuncoca (new radio)

Radio Patria Nueva (state's official radio)

MABB © ®

February 21, 2012

MABB © ®

Hier is an interesting article that says a lot about our Latin American society. It deals with the color of skin and the level of education. Not surprisingly (for me at least) it finds that there is a revealing negative relationship between the color of skin and the level of education in the region. It is a simple yet illuminating article that puts the finger on the wound!

Here you can access the English version!

For those of you who want to read it in Spanish, here it is!

February 06, 2012

On the lighter side

MABB © ®

This is what I call political negotiation or deliberation! Enjoy. 

January 19, 2012

The Fragility of MAS in Congress

MABB © ®

This is a development that was expected to come, some time, to Bolivian politics. As you may already know, the Bolivian political forces in the Plurinational Assembly are distributed thus. From a total of 166 seats in the assembly (36 in the Senate and 130 in the Deputies Chamber), the MAS controlled, until now, 113 (88 in the Deputies Chamber and 25 in the Senate). So, a fragile 2/3 majority, considering for such a majority 111 seats are needed.

Now, two seats above the needed is anything other than comforting for the government because with such a small margin there is always the danger of losing that majority. This is especially true in the constantly changing political environment in Bolivia.

January 06, 2012

Bloggings by boz: Latin America mentions in new US defense strategy

MABB © ®

Here is a post from boz about the US' defense strategy. If you read the post you'll see that there is not much mentioned about the region. In fact, it is just about one paragraph. In turn, boz does call on to the fact that the document is only about 8 pages long. I say, that is just about right! The length of both, the paper and the mention of Lat Am, is symptomatic of the attention the US gives to his backyard, where the grass is getting longer and the bushes are growing as they please, to the point that the US government will not be able to set foot into it. :-)

Here is the post, enjoy!
Bloggings by boz: Latin America mentions in new US defense strategy: President Obama visited the Pentagon yesterday to unveil a new National Defense Strategy. The big story was the planned reduction of militar...