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.


Kevin said...

Just back from two weeks in Bolivia - things are 'tense'. In Sucre the MAS demanded, the socialist advisors panicked and Evo overreached... they all have now lost credibilty to govern. Media Luna was in DC today with the OAS - pressing their case. The MAS Govt. has their chance to explain their actions tomorrow.
Things are elevated domestically and internationally - December 15th is the key.
Worst part is the country is detiorating socially and economically... inflation is gaining steam - deisel fuel for trucks is in limited supply, long lines exist in Santa Cruz - there is no strategic and consensus plan for development of the country. Chaos is possible - but christmas, new year and carnival probably will avoid it... for now.... but it is coming unless MAS get the light.

Boli-Nica said...

good point about the festivities, MAS saw some protests sputter out for exactly that sae reason at the beginning of the decade.

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