The most comprehensive poll to date really got the ball rolling with an increase in discussion about the December 18th Presidential Elections in Bolivia. In addition to the election of a new President, Bolivia will be choosing Departmental prefects and an entirely new Congress. Miguel Buitrago (MABB) was one of the first to comment about the poll released by the company MORI.
The large number of undecided voters will be crucial as the eight candidates continue to court these difference makers. However, only the top three are receiving the most coverage in the Bolivian press. There is a full-court press to reach these citizens who have yet to decide and could need some convincing. Debates are one way to appeal to this group, but to date many forums and open invitation debates have been boycotted by some of the candidates.
The question whether there will even be a debate this cycle was raised by Miguel Centellas. In his blog Ciao!, he analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of the front runner Evo Morales’ refusal to debate the other candidates. Ultimately, he believes that this tactic favors his opponent. Even Morales’ running mate, Alvaro Garcia Linera is following his lead in declining to debate PODEMOS’ candidate, Maria Rene Duchen. Centellas thinks, however, that Garcia Linera would fare fairly well against the former journalist. Others have weighed in concerning this topic. Jaime Rubin de Celis from JCR’s Place believes that if and when Morales finally decides to debate, the contrast between him and PODEMOS candidate Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga may be too much to overcome, which would end up being a risky move for the MAS candidate. He also believes that Morales has been conveniently using excuses by citing statements made by Quiroga, that has led Morales asking for an apology.
Colors are being strewn throughout the cities. On the Andean Side writes that the main road in the city of Cochabamba is being overrun by political propaganda and being turned into a “political fruit loops” because of the choice of colors of the two leading parties. The MAS party is represented by blue, and PODEMOS, which recently formed this year chose red as its colors. Mauricio writes in Bolivia Hoy that he finds it funny and mildly ironic that the right-leaning Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga’s PODEMOS party chose red with a yellow star. All that is missing, writes Mauricio, is a hammer and sickle.
The contrast between the PODEMOS and MAS goes far beyond the simple color schemes. They represent a fundamental difference in a vision for the country. As a result, the campaign ads and propaganda uses this as a reminder. Jonathan Olguin from the Journal of Bolivian Business & Politics discovered a string of television campaign commercials online, which displayed some of the “dirty war-style” TV spots.
Other side groups are getting involved with campaign ads. From the blog Loko Kuerdo, the blogger nicknamed “T-Bone” draws attention to an interesting ad placed in the newspaper “El Juguete Rabioso” featuring a non-Bolivian politician. A group called “Young People for Dignity, Change and Democracy,” which supports the candidacy of Morales, recently printed an ad featuring President George Bush. The ad says
“If this man (Bush) lived in Bolivia, he would vote for someone that thinks like him. He would vote for Tuto Quiroga. You have dignity. Vote for real change. Vote for the nationalization of the hydrocarbons. Vote for Bolivia. Vote for Evo Morales.”
Not all the political content in blogs is written. Recently Joaquin Cuevas, editorial cartoonist from the La Paz newspaper La Razon started his blog that features some of his drawings. The new blog is called La Vida del Chico Larva. Cuevas also publishes a magazine called “El Fanzineroso”
As always, there is much more than politics around the Bolivian blogosphere. Sebastian Molina of Plan B announced that the first “Gran Encuentro Gran” meeting of Santa Cruz bloggers was a success. Pictures to follow. Finally, a new Bolivian Blogger Frappr map was created to visualize the different places that Bolivian bloggers are located around the world.