Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bolivia's Evo


The first year of the Morales administration.

3 comments:

OscarTate said...

Chris,

More!!! I want more commentary from you, Chris. Where does the picture come from? What's your take on the last year in Boliviaa? Nothing against the folks at Counterpunch, but what do you say? This guy Morales, the other folks -- Chavez, Lula, Bachelet?? and that German in Argentina -- what do you think? Is there real hope here? How about central america? What do you say?

Paul

anton said...

Bolivia

The picture comes from the current President's past, he's shown in the picture, when he was a leader of the idigenous oriented coca growers movement and the Movement towards Socialism. Both movements argued that radical change was needed in Bolivia because the government had sided both with the neo-liberal regime that argued markets would lift all boats, it hasn't, and that all coca should be eradicated, this would ruin the lives of millions given the dependency of the mostly Indian people of the Andes on the plant that has been part of their culture for thousands of years. Both movements argued radical change and tactics were needed to implement such change.

In office EM's regime has been important both in symbolic and in real terms. Symbolically he has slashed his salary, wears more casual clothes, lives humbly, has his sister act as First Lady, has commemorated the death of Che Guevara and has toured the world to show solidarity with other leaders with an anti-imperialist outlook.

The most important event though in his first year in office has been the nationalization of Bolivian natural gas. This is the one policy that can gain the most revenue for the state if they really want to make a difference in re-distributing wealth.

Interestingly one of the loudest voices against the move came from the government of Brazil where Lula's supposedly social democratic government holds court.

I don't know enough about how the institutions of Bolivia are being altered to comment but this is the test for all of the current left oriented governments of the region, will they try to institutionalize radical democracy or will they like many lefty governments of the past organize the state around a caudillo or cacique in Evo's case which then evaporates when the great leader leaves.

More later....

OscarTate said...

Thanks,
Paul