Archive for the ‘Bolivia’ Category
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
The Brazilian government decided to grant political asylum to Bolivian Senator Roger Pinto Molina, leader of the opposition in Congress. The congressman was already a refugee at the Brazilian embassy in La Paz since May 28th.
In a statement, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry affirmed it has granted asylum to Molina “in light of the rules and practices of Latin American international law and based on Article 4, Section 10 of the Federal Constitution.”
Molina made the request for political asylum last week. He claims to be persecuted by the government of Evo Morales, on the account of his role in defending human rights. However, Morales denies the charge. The senator said his wife, one of the couple’s three daughters and two granddaughters are in the Brazilian state of Acre and the other daughters and grandchildren, are still in Bolivia.
Former governor of Pando, in the Bolivian amazon border with Brazil, the senator is accused by authorities of irregularities. An article in the newspaper La Razon, from La Paz, reports that the senator faces at least 20 lawsuits in courts of La Paz, Santa Cruz, Sucre and Cobija, which refer mainly to charges of contempt, ilegal sale of public assets and corruption.
Last week, Bolivia’s government officials reacted to the Senator’s request for refuge. Brazil is awaiting for a response from the Bolivian government on the provision of a safe-conduct to Roger Pinto Molina so that he may be transported to Brazil.
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
Bolivia asked Chile for the first time, for the renegotiation of a 1904 bilateral treaty as a way to resolve its long-standing demand to recover a sovereign exit to the Pacific Ocean. The request was renewed during the annual meeting of the foreign ministers of the OAS.
The proposal, presented on the last day of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the department of Cochabamba, Bolivia, was rejected by the Chile’s delegation, which signalized that the current borders will “never” be modified.
The treaty established, early last century, after a war, the current borders between the two countries, leaving Bolivia without access to the sea it had before the so-called Pacific War of 1879. During the same conflict, Peru also lost to Chile part of its territory.
Bolivia bases its claim on an OAS resolution approved 33 years ago, which considered Bolivia’s claim of “continental interest,” and which was approached by innumerous bilateral and multilateral declarations.
Bolivian President, Evo Morales, said he considered the possibility of an international litigation on the matter. Chile, governed by Sebastián Piñera, and Bolivia have no diplomatic relations since 1978, after the failure of negotiations on the maritime issue.
Thursday, May 24th, 2012
A opinion poll by conducted by Ipsos company and published in the newspaper, Página Sete, pointed out that 47% of Bolivians believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction. On the other hand, only 22% of respondents think the opposite, i.e, believes that Bolivia is in the right direction.
The survey heard 800 people between the 18th and 26th of April in the regions of Santa Cruz, La Paz, El Alto and Cochabamba, the four largest cities in the country, which account for 40% of the population. The margin of sampling error is 3.39%.
The institute said the pessimistic perception about the direction of Bolivia has remained between 43% and 47% in the first four months of 2012. The percentage of citizens who understand that the country is headed in the right way, ranged between 19% and 22% in the period between January and April of this year.
The pessimism about the situation in the country reached its highest point in February of 2011, when 70% of Bolivians responded that the country was not going in the right direction.
This result was recorded two months after the increase of fuel prices by up to 82% ordered by President Evo Morales. However, after the occurrence of strong protests organized by popular movements, Morales suspended the adjustment.
Pessimism can be attributed to the current political climate in recent weeks. It is important to remember, that the government of Evo Morales has faced strikes and demonstrations in various sectors in the last few months.
Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
More than a week after the announcement of the nationalization of the energy company, Transportadora de Eletricidade (TDE), the Bolivian government said it reached an agreement about a fair compensation to the Spanish company, Rede Elétrica (REE), responsible for TDE. The matter will still be submitted, however, to a series of assessments.
Last week, Bolivian President, Evo Morales, met with the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Spain, Jesus Manuel Gracia, to negotiate the agreement. Talks between the Bolivian authorities, Spanish entrepreneurs and representatives lasted three days.
Morales decision to nationalize the electricity company surprised the Spaniards, who threatened to retaliate against the measure. In the last days however, the Bolivian foreign minister tried to minimize the tension.
On Feb. 1, Morales announced the nationalization of TDE. He said the decision was made due to low investment in the expansion of the National Interconnected System (SIN) of the energy supply in the country, and because it is government policy to recover the strategic enterprises that were privatized in the 1990s.
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Bolivian President, Evo Morales, has intensified his campaign against new indigenous protests that are heading for La Paz. The purpose of the mobilizations is, once again, demonstrate dissatisfaction with the decision of the Bolivian government to build a road on the Indian Territory Isiboro Secure National Park (Tipnis), which is an indigenous nature reserve. Trying to win support from public opinion, Morales flew along with the local and foreign journalists over Tipnis, showing the benefits of the work on this ecological reserve. The road that the government intends to build on Tipnis is designed to unite the central region of Cochabamba with the Amazon region of Beni, through half of the Tipnis population, rejects the proposal.
To resolve this impasse, Morales is in holding a referendum to be held on May 10. The vote will decide whether the indigenous will approve or not the construction of the road on Tipnis. Despite the initiatives of the Bolivian president to keep dialogue channels open and consult his primary voter base – the indigenous movement – there is strong resistances to approve the project driven by the executive branch.
Monday, April 9th, 2012
The Bolivian President Evo Morales said that his followers must be convinced that “they came to power forever.” The demonstration took place during the inauguration of the eighth congress of his party, founded 17 years ago.
Speaking to the militants of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), his political party, Morales said that “anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-neoliberal reached the Palace not as tenants, but forever. According to the Bolivian president, this issue should be discussed by MAS.
As a way of trying to strengthen the internal unity in the party, Evo Morales said that the capitalist model is in crisis and is not a solution to the problems of humanity.
Morales won the first term in 2006 and was reelected president in 2010. The second government of indigenous leader runs until 2015, when he plans to run for a third term, which would last until the year 2020.
The Bolivian president has assured that he is entitled to another term as president with the argument that his first term does not count because it was not yet in force when the new Constitution was promulgated in 2009.
Monday, March 30th, 2009
The attack of radical sectors of the “Movimento ao Socialismo- MAS” (Socialism Movement, Evo Morales’s party) to the Bolivian ex president’s house, Víctor Hugo Cárdenas, will be able to make modifications in the local politic scenery. On March the 8th, a group of peasants invaded and burned Cardenas’s residency with his family inside, luckily they were able to escape.
After this fact, the ex president announced he would run for president in the elections of December. On the contrary of other indigenous leaders, Cárdenas has national projection and for that, converted himself in reference for the opposition. In the recent referendum about the new constitution, he supported the “no” to the modifications.
Cárdenas pretends to be the leader of the indigenous people’s vote of middle class. According to the local press, the ex vice president classifies the actual government’s vision about indigenous people as racist and classisist. To his understanding, an indigenous doesn’t necessarily have to be poor nor illiterate.
According to those considerations, Cárdenas dreams in building an ideological proposal of national unity. He is as well, a strong critic of the Plurinational State defended by MAS, that according to his evaluation, is an anachronistic, fundamentalist and anti historical vision.
Different from the rest of the candidates, Víctor Hugo Cárdenas has possibilities of confronting Evo Morales. The ex vice is a respected intellectual and was a pioneer in the fight for the indigenous rights in Bolivia.
The months that precede the electoral dispute in the country are tense. There are rumors about ex-president Carlos Mesa’s house (2003- 2005) being a target for the radicals of MAS. The opponents evaluate that it would be a strategy to inhibit the opposition’s action during the elections.
Monday, March 30th, 2009
The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, said that “too much fat is damaging” his Peruvian colleague, Alan García, who joined Haya’s International Court of Justice with a demand about maritime limits against Chile. For Bolivian’s Chief of State, García is looking to improve his political image through this action.
According to Efe agency, Morales’s critics were done during his speech in the city of Cochabamba, during the presentation of titles of properties of lands and peasants. “Maybe too much fat is affecting the president of Peru, Alan García, and he’s not well informed. Bolivia is never going to resign the return to the sovereign sea”, he affirmed.
The president remembered that Bolivia did not resign to have an exit to the sea and says that the subject is being discussed in reunions with the Chilean government. In Evo Morales’s evaluation, the demand presented by Peru in Haya affected one of the solutions analyzed with Chile so that the country could obtain and exit through the Pacific.
Sunday, January 25th, 2009
Polls indicate that the ballot box “Yes” won the “No” constitutional referendum in Bolivia. The result was expected, based on the results that President Evo Morales`s popularity indicated.
According to the polls, the victory is around 60% against 40% . However, some mass media reported that the result was tighter: 51% to 49%. This last result is less reliable.
The “yes” won in the provinces of Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro and Potosi while “no” won in Beni, Pando, Tarija and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
With this result we can expect a scenario of institutional difficulties, since it needs to approve the arrangements for implementation of the new Constitution in the National Congress, as well as political instability among the winners and political opponents.
Controversial points of the new Constitution will be posted soon in this blog.
P.S.: Comments are welcome.
Saturday, January 10th, 2009
Bolivia has suffered even more turbulence in 2008 than Venezuela. But contrary to what happened with his neighbor and mentor, Evo Morales managed get out stronger in 2008. Through subtle, efficient negotiations, Mr. Morales managed to pacify his seemingly fierce opposition, at least for the time being. By dealing personally with many representatives, Mr. Morales managed to obtain from the Congress the approval he needed for his constitutional referendum. For this victory to come to pass, Mr. Morales enjoyed key affirmative votes of the opposition itself. This situation caused the Podemos, the main oppositionist party, to crack apart.
All attentions in 2009 will be drawn to the referendum scheduled for the 25th of January, when president Evo Morales will try to enact the country’s new constitution. Mr. Morales successfully reversed the trend in support of the opposition and is now anticipated as the winner of the people’s referendum.
After that, the political forces in Bolivia will carry their agendas with a view to the presidential elections of December. Since the country’s political agenda is likely to dwell at political issues, the impact of the financial crisis may pose a serious obstacle.