Tag Archives: Morales

Bolivian President In Hunger Strike

Bolivian President Evo Morales has undertaken a hunger strike in order to force opposition leaders to support his planned changes in the nation’s electoral law. “Christ gave his life for the poor, and we’re here to give our lives for the poor” was the message sent by by the president to the nation. The opposition fears the changes will strengthen the party of Morales and allow them to get an overwhelming majority in the legislature. Opposition members believe if the changes go through, Morales will be able to obtain a two-thirds majority and do whatever he desires in the legislature.

President Morales has come up with an interesting idea that might well be applied to other world leaders. Imagine if Don Rumsfeld has threatened to stick his head in a barrel of water until terrorists agreed to speak the truth? Or,George Bush could threaten to go on television and speak nonstop for twelve hours, surely, the country would give him whatever he desires to avoid such an event. Sarah Palin could threaten to give her speech about the virtues of small town America for twenty four hours nonstop.

This is definitely an innovative way to get your message across.

Bolivia Hails New Constitution

The people of Bolivia adopted a new Constitution by a vote of 59% to 41% under which the indigenous population of the country secured new rights. President Evo Morales strongly supported the new document despite encountering strong opposition in five of the nine states where the more numerous mestizo and European descended inhabitants rejected his call for equality. “Here begins the new Bolivia,” he said. “Here we begin to achieve true equality.” Even as he spoke leaders of the five states which rejected the Constitution are prepared to oppose the proposed changes which include limits on land ownership and creation of 36 indigenous “nations.” People of indigenous backgrounds will also secure a fixed number of seats in the legislature.

The creation of a nation which contains divergent views can either lead to a new sense of citizenship or a divided land in which violence may well result. Morales is echoing the rhetoric of his friend, Hugo Chavez, which is nice when running for office, but could prove disastrous in governing a nation.

It is time for Morales to achieve his dream of equality, but it must proceed in stages that incorporate divergent views. The United States just elected an African American president as a result of laws, education, and recognition a nation can be diverse, but also united. Can Morales reach out to the opposition and avoid bloodshed?

Bolivia Confronts New Violence And Unrest

Bolivian President Evo Morales defied right wing opponents by vowing to introduce reforms that are opposed by many in the nation even though there were signs of a possible compromise emerging in the wake of violence that resulted in the death of 26 people. Morales accused his opponents of being against the rights and needs of the Indian majority in the nation. “They are conspiring against us with a fascist, racist coup…Their plan is to topple the Indian. They may topple the Indian but they will never topple the Bolivian people.”

The incident which led to the death of innocent people arose when the opposition regional governor of Pando, Leopoldo Fernandez, had his troops clash with pro-government peasants and the result was the death of many people. Many Indian groups are engaged in protests as part of their demands for a better life and to show support for the Morales government. There was hope earlier in the day, Morales might be willing to compromise and offering to review and discuss the proposed constitutional changes with his opponents, but his fiery speech most probably made that possibility and impossibility. The proposed dialogue for peace has been transformed into a dialogue over death.

Evo Morales might benefit by inviting former South African president, Nelson Mandela, to serve as a consultant on how native people confront a hierarchy in order to avoid violence and destruction. Unfortunately, he leans toward the flamboyant Hugo Chavez rather than the calm analytical thinking Mandela. It is a poor choice for Bolivia.

Evo Morales Wins Bolivian Vote

Bolivian President Evo Morales easily won a recall referendum and promised to press ahead with his plans to nationalize business and to create a socialist centralized state such as exists in Venezuela under his good friend, Hugo Chavez. Morales said he would work to redistribute land and take over large business corporations. “We’re heere to move forward with the recovery of our natural resources, the consolidation of nationalization and the state takeover of companies.” Morales is the first leader of Bolivia who comes from the indigenous majority of the population. However, the voting also witnessed the re-election of regional governors who oppose his reforms and want autonomy for their resource-rich provinces. Each side now believes it has won the support of the people of Bolivia.

If Morales follows through on his program of change and centralization, he is bound to create conditions for civil war. Eastern sections of the country will not stand by idly and allow Morales to take over business and farm operations. There is bound to be fight which might result in open civil war.

There is no question reform is vitally needed in Bolivia but a civil war would tear apart the nation and if Morales won, there would be a mass exodus of skilled people and their money. Hugo Chavez has money to throw around, but that money is not infinite and any sharp decline in oil prices will leave Chavez with promises made that can not be kept. Morales should seek a middle way in which poor people finally attain greater access to wealth, education and power, but not at the expense of tearing apart the nation.

Morales should not ignore what happened to Cuba.

Bolivian Vote Reflects Nation’s Divisions

The presidency of Evo Morales in Bolivia received another shock when voters in the sparsely populated areas of Beni and Pando gave a resounding vote of over 80% who desire greater local autonomy and less control from the central government. Morales was the first president in Bolivian history who came from the indigenous population of poorer people. Fears by many middle and upper class Bolivians have resulted in referendums in which sections of the nation are expressing their disapproval of the leftist policies of Morales. Governor Ernesto Suzrez expressed the view of these factions by saying “to the country and the world we request respect for our desire for autonomy.”

Evo Morales is an important figure in the history of his nation and he reflects the aspirations of poorer people. However, his close alliance with President Huga Chavez may have provided his nation financial support, but it has accentuated fears of many middle class people their nation may be going in the direction of the dictatorial leader of Venezuela. Perhaps, it is time for Morales to gain the support of the middle and upper classes of his nation. There is no doubt, the wealthy do not wish to surrender their wealth, but forming an alliance with Chavez who has damaged democracy in Venezuela is not an advertisement that will gain Bolivian middle class support.

Fragmentation Of Bolivia Accelerates

The region of Santa Cruz in Bolivia represents the more industralized and modern part of the nation. It has a high percent of people who take pride in their European ancestry in contrast to most of Bolivia which contains a high number of those from indgenous heritage. The past weekend, a referendum was held in Santa Cruz which produced an overwhelming majority voting in favor of some form of autonomy from the central government. Reuben Costas, a self proclaimed “governor” of Santa Cruz heralded the vote as representing a blow against the central government of Morales which he believes is attempting to tap the rich resources of the area as part of a plan for redistribution of wealth.

Evo Morles represents an important turning point in the history of Bolivia being the first one of indigenous background to gain the presidency. He most probably made serious tactical mistakes by cozing up to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela who frightens many parts of the Bolivian middle class as well as intellectuals who ware witnessing the growing destruction of democracy in Venezuela. Morales failed to reach out to reasonable elements of the Santa Cruz middle class who were turned off by his rhetoric.

The result is a fragmentation of Bolivia. Morales might well back down from some of his demands and create a new coalition of those supporting some form of redistribution of wealth in Bolivia. It might not be exactly what Morales desires, but it would avoid creating conditions of chaos and disunion. Chavez is not a model who will gather support within the Bolivian middle class.

Bolivia Boils Over In Confusion

Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia, hoped his administration would be abl to make serious economic inroads into poverty that besets so many living in poverty. Tomorrow, May 4th was supposed to be the day for constitutional referendum, but voting has been suspended. Instead, the region of Santa Cruz, home to his conservatve opposition, is poised to vote for autonomy from the central government and end the Morales goal for social and economic revolution. Many had hoped Morals would usher in new era in which all sectors of society worked together to revamp the economy and ensure a better life for the poorer component of society, those of indigenous backgrounds. Instead, the nation is being torn to pieces as the more developed Santa cruz region, seeks to gain greater local control over rich resources.

Morales insists the referendum is illegal and has urged a boycott which will only result in an even wider victory majority for conservatives. After the referendum, the conservative oppostion is expected to lclaim the right to control local government, taxes, police and natural resources, but will probably stop short of secession.

Morales may have attempted to go too quickly and ignored the need to seek allies within the ranks of the middle classes and moderates. His flirtation with Hugo Chavez only served to frighten the middle clas which feared Morales would assume a dictatorial attitude similar to that of the Venezuelan president.

Bolivian President Morales Attacks Bush!

Presdient Evo Morales of Bolivia asked his Brazilian counterpart, President Lula da Silva, to intercede on his behalf with President George Bush in order to halt what he claims is an American sponsored campaign in support of Bolivian opposition groups. “There is brazen participation by the U.S. embassy in the organization of the autonomy movment,” according to Morales. Morales accused the United States of providing funding for groups supporting the May 4 referendum organized by the government of the Santa Cruz region whose goal is estalishing autonomy from the central government.

An issue separating the Bolivian people revolves over concern from some elements of Bolivian society that President Morales seeks to impose his political and economic views on areas that are more focused on a capitalist than a socialist belief. Morales represents the emergence of indeigenous groups to leadership in Bolivian society which is a break from the past. Many members of the Bolivian middle class fear Morales will impose a Venezuelan or Cuban style government.

There is no doubt Bolivia is a divided nation in which the underclass lives in poverty and a middle and an upper class enjoys the life style found in more economically developed nations. Isn’t the question how the needs of lower classes can be met without adopting the authoritarian aspects of Veneuzuela or Cuba?