Spotlight Bolivia

Alexey writes, “these days I have been pleasantly surprised at the coverage that some blogs made about the bolivian political situation” and it's certainly hard to disagree with him. With Bolivian special elections scheduled for early December, the English speaking Bolivian blogosphere has been incredibly active and eloquent in presenting the nuances of their nation's politics.

Evo Morales (also here), the leader of MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) has been receiving the most attention from bloggers, the mainstream media, and Donald Rumsfeld. Alexey, in his latest post, explains:

When explaining the political situation to some of my friends, I said to them that I do not believe Evo Morales, candidate of MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo), is going to win. He is the leader of the main party that leads the alternative political groups (that is alternative to the ones traditionally in power). While previously he had good support from the people, he lost support because of the troubles that Bolivia had been in, some months ago. Initially he tried to portray himself more moderate than he was, but later, he became more extreme when he saw that the other alternative groups were accusing him of being too moderate and conciliatory. In the end he decided to go for the extreme proposals (nationalize gas) and extreme measures (block roads) losing the support that he previously had.

Last week Miguel of MABB predicted that Evo Morales would try to recruit the light-skinned intellectual, Alvaro Garcia Linera for vice-president as a way to unite the left. Prensa Latina confirmed exactly that today. Miguel has also been hard at work arguing that Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga has been trying to unify the right, which has resulted in a “blue state, red state” like divide throughout the country.

Blog from Bolivia blogged at length on how the former president, “Tuto” has had to reinvent his image to appeal to a new generation of voters after returning from a stint in the U.S. as a political consultant. Ph.D. candidate Miguel Centallas has just recently updated his excellent BoliviaWiki – an online notepad for his dissertation on Bolivian politics – with recent cabinet biographies.

There's also been plenty of blog noise about the alleged links between Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez, and Fidel Castro in what is jokingly (or not) being referred to as the Latin American “axis of evil.” Miguel Buitrago says the U.S. is foolishly giving more attention to Evo Morales when it accuses his campaign of being supported by Chavez and Castro. Miguel Centallas agrees and explains, “Sure, the US doesn't want Evo in office. But pointing this out only strengthens Evo's support among anti-American voters.” Boli-Nica, in a long and thorough post, tries to dissect the various motivations at play:

As for Chavez, he has all the motivation in the world to destabilize Bolivia. Why? First because its fun. Helping overthrow a pro-U.S. government like Sanchez De Lozada's creates headaches for the U.S. and it comes cheap. It has the added benefit of messing with neighbors like Peru and Colombia, who are scared of this type of instability. Plus, the Colonel gets “evidence” for all the B.S. he talks about the failure of neo-liberalism – the big Chavez bogeyman.

He is also unhappy about Morales’ announcement that he would nationalize the gas industry. Nathan of Trip Trap has written some on Bolivia as he travels around South American and, finally Eduardo Avila, currently traveling in Southern Africa, will surely have more to say about the upcoming elections when he returns.

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