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.