As many people in Bolivia, I disagree with the MAS constitutional draft because it was brought to life ilegally. It will still be a draft as long as a plebiscite does not confirm it. But it was sanctioned out of its legal matrix, Sucre, and in a venue totally unfit for a country that has suffered the atrocities of military dictatorships__  in a military academy. Adding offense to the wound, the government assembly members vanished at down Nov. 24 as though aware of having committed something illegal. They reconvened in Oruro where, assisted by colleagues who acted like orchestra directors, they passed the draft in one single night (over 400 articles). Besides, it happened without calling members within agreed notice and without distributing the text to discuss and approve. Conclusion: False and tortuous the beginning, false and tortuous the end.

This should be known by those who believe the Bolivian process has been pristine.

A constitution is a pact that a whole country subscribes to rule itself. In this game there should not be majorities imposing their will over a minority. Assumingly it was not a war (or was it?).  Besides, the six percentage points of Mr. Morales and his party victory two years ago (53.7% vs. 47.3%) might have well have vanished by now.

MAS CPE included not a single article from opposing forces. It was all plainly ready for MAS yes-members.  At this stage, I would love to know if Sen. Peredo or the government leader at the assembly Santos Ramirez would be able to recite Art. 1 by memory, and explain it to their audience.

I like even less arts.107 and 108 regarding freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The draft I have (it is said the real original has been altered many times__ which makes it even more illegal, if that is possible), seems a minestrone of concepts that I am not sure it does exist displayed in that way in any democratic country.

Both articles are written on a lethally vague way (or was it deliberate?). Thwarting free expression means crippling democracy.  As a journalist I feel outraged by those articles.

I would like to know also in which countries it is stated by constitution that the media must “promote  the ethical, moral and civic values of the diverse cultures in the country with the production and publication of educational pluri-lingual programs…” (Poor multi-ethnic India, Canada or Brazil, I would say.)

If this is the kind of change that will be imposed in Bolivia, it is better to stick to the old 1925 press law.

What other changes? Oil nationalization hasn´t happened, according to technical criteria, although nobody denies that the drastic change in percentages benefitting Bolivia has been positive. But it wasn´t necessary to withstand eighteen months of tribulations without knowing where would Bolivia get investments to meet current export agreements with Brazil and Argentina.

What else? The bonuses for elders and primary school students? Nobody would honestly oppose them, but I wonder about their sustainability over time.

Let´s agree there are good points in the MAS draft, but to propose them it wasn´t necessary irrigating gasoline all over the country.

One also disagrees with the government insistence in placing autonomy and separatism on the same level.  I don´t like a bit the cynical statement by a high government official  saying that Dec.15 rally of Santa Cruz cívicos consisted or “five or ten families”. Maybe all he wanted was to hide the fact that there were by far much more attendants in Santa Cruz (tens of thousands, easily) to approve autonomic statutes than in La Paz to approve the MAS draft. His was a blatant lie.

On the other hand, I don´t like the Autonomous statutes because I don´t think they had been debated enough in forums, university campuses, academy groups, labor unions, etc. It was a matter of setting a difference with MAS. On one side, they are at least clear and articulated. But they should have been born fully legally. There are no specific laws dealing with autonomy. Then it would have had to wait. But over all they should have shown superiority not only in their conceptualization but in their moral consistency throughout open debate across all society segments. That would have shown a difference with MAS´s draft. 

As many other people, I don’t like “ponchos rojos”  brutality reminiscent of the blind violence Shining Path. I don´t like either the clash militia-like groups of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee.

It is a pity that President Morales had accused US Ambassador of conspiring against his government presenting as a proof a color photo of him and a Colombian citizen at a Fair in Santa Cruz. Nobody had enough political clout to tell him: “That picture is no proof at all. Stop showing it. Let´s be serious.”  

A country cannot go on under a who-makes- it- worse dynamics. Let´s hope for a brighter political interaction in 2008.


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