Thursday, November 29, 2007
Bolivia: Founding Fatalism, MAS' Bloody Constitution
This article in El Deber is a first-hand, rather gripping, blow-by-blow account of how the the officialist group, in Constituent Assembly managed to steamroll through the initial text of the Constitution while opponents fought police. Evo's allies did this by convening in a military school custodied by the police, the army - and crucially - by pro-MAS mobs brought into the city. As I had posted earlier, these officialist groups explicitly threatened the opposition in the assembly, claimed they were going to block the entire city, and to hammer the points home home, allied groups killed two dogs symbolizing the "opposition".
What happened was effectively a lock-out of the opposition, those entering would have to face the angry mob, something that happened later in the Congress in La Paz.
But in Sucre, upon hearing the news of the convening of the "assembly" the students - rose up against the police and set off to confront the assembly. They were joined by a good number of Sucre's citizens in what in effect turned into a battle of two mobs. Even the hardened veterans of Bolivia's street violence - the MAS cocaleros and El Alto activists & the cops who used to beat them up - could not contain the students and residents.
And when the word came down that a protestor was killed, the MAS assembly leader - herself a veteran of many a disturbance, suddenly threw it into overdrive, calling for a quick vote to formalize approval of all the articles. On the outside, even local MAS supporters had joined in, and were close to breaching the gates of the military school. But, it was too late, the assembly had voted, and its members fled.
And that is just another tragic and bizarre chapter in Bolivia's crazed political life. A constitution, which in theory should be the starting point of the Nation's legitimacy, passed by an officialist convention, while opposing mobs and the cops fought it out just outside.
EDIT Here is a first hand account from a Bolivian blogger in Sucre. Here is a good compilation of videos from the events from another person. The writings of a Sucre Blogger.