Archive for July, 2007

Endless Reelection

July 24, 2007

Endless Presidential reelection? Yes, that was the proposal by Movement Toward Socialism lawmakers at the constituent assembly gathered in Sucre. The idea is to allow current president Evo Morales to run for reelection as many times as it fits him or his party. The bill was approved by a constituent assembly committee and is to be debated by the whole body over the next coming days. I haven´t seen this innovative system working anywhere these days, save for Libya, or other rulers in the middle east, all of them would hardly fit the notion of western democracy. If Bolivians in the government want this original (?) proposal, why do not make it more universal? Let´s mayors, governors, city councils, etc. run for ever, as many times as they might like. Or make all elective authorities´ terms last, say, 50 years. Two generations. That would spare national coffers the cost of funding elections and will be in line with the idea held by some in the government of Mr. Morales that chewing coca leaves makes one live hundreds of years.

Sucre vs. La Paz

July 23, 2007

The city of Sucre has scheduled for Wednesday, 7/25, its own Cabildo, a public assembly earmarked to reaffirm what its citizens consider the city´s right to get back the state institutions it lost to La Paz in a civil war at the end of the 19th century. That is the executive and legislative branches. La Paz did its own rally last Friday, 7/20. It was the largest public gathering ever in Bolivian history__ more than 1 1/2 million people went to the streets and concentrated mostly on El Alto. The rally reaffirmed the political capital shall remain in La Paz. It also called for national unity, implying that Sucre´s demand and those supporting it were against national integrity. “The (political) venue does not move,” was the battle cry.

The government was impressed. President Evo Morales congratulated organizers and ordered his party, the Movement Toward Socialism, not to support Sucre´s demand at the Constituent Assembly.

Now Sucre is coming up with its own rally. With a population of just 300.000, this central southern city is not expected to match La Paz´s. But the point it brought up has irritated the government as the Constituent Assembly approaches the end of its term August 6 without completing the new Bolivian chart. Sucre´s demand seems to represent the smoking gun proving some flaws in the assembly, including the view that it was “all plenipotentiary and originary,” meaning it was almighty and could deal with anything. It cannot, according to the government. It has put a sort of veto to tackle the capital question. La Paz´s cabildo, with implicit government support, said the assembly ought to remove the debate over the location of Bolivia´s political capital. And it threatened with an indefinite department-wide stoppage if removal is not official by August 6.

Sucre´s move is haunting the government and the assembly itself. The government has lost hold of Sucre, an early regional supporter of Evo. The loss of this support increases opposition against Evo __ at least on his attitude regarding the city where the three estate branches should be located. It means more sympathy toward the so call half-moon, media luna, whose ranks span over four departments (Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando, or 60% of the national territory.)