Despite Overwhelming Electoral Victory for Morales, Bolivia Still at an Impasse
August 26, 2008, 4:14 pm
Filed under: Latin America, Politics | Tags: , , , ,

Despite an overwhelming victory in the August 10 referendum, Bolivian President Evo Morales continues to rule over a country in social, political and economic disarray. The opposition, which is seeking regional autonomy, intends to cripple the economy as a means to get Morales to capitulate to its demands. For instance, the nation’s beef producers, who dominate in the opposition controlled western parts of the country, have declared a boycott.

Jim Shultz, from the Cochabamba based Democracy Center puts it like this:

Bolivia is a divided nation, to be sure. But it is not a nation divided in half. It is a nation divided by 2/3 on one side and 1/3 on the other, each demanding that the country be steered its way. Put more simply, imagine three people in a car on a road trip, arguing over directions at a fork in the road. Two people in the front seat want to go left, and the guy in the back wants to go right. Allowing sufficient time for discussion and argument of all views, at a certain point, do we really think that the guy yelling alone in the backseat ought to dictate the decision? Neither do most Bolivians.

The opposition’s tactic seems to closely mirror that followed by the Venezuelan opposition after the 2002 failed coup against President Hugo Chavez. That boycott severely crippled the Venezuelan economy. However, the campaign backfired on the opposition as the strikes emboldened Chavez. For his part, Morales, thus far, as responded to the opposition very diplomatically and has refused to use force to counter opposition protests.

From The Real News:

As the tensions between the Morales Government of Bolivia and autonomists continue, Forrest Hylton states that “the basic issue comes down to who is going to get the money from the exploitation of hydrocarbon resources, and these autonomists want to make sure that they get the money, and they’re going to carry out their completely illegal agenda, regardless of whether Evo wants to dialog with them or not.”

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