The Week That Was – Bolivian Blogs

A controversial document instructing public servants to contribute to the Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) political party generated words of discontent among some Bolivian bloggers. The letter in question was directed to Cabinet Members, Vice-Ministers and Directors and instructed them to contribute 5% of their salary to “cover National and Departmental events”.

Alvaro Ruiz Navajas characterized the request as extorsion and also cited contradictions from within the party structure. In his blog Off Topic, he is also highly critical of cases of nepotism within the different branches of government. Jaime Rubin de Celis of JCR's Place also raises the question of this document insisting that President Evo Morales is failing to distinguish between his political party and the government (ES). In addition, Miguel Buitrago of MABB believes that this directive coincides with the administration’s desire to cut off funding to all political parties for the upcoming campaign.

The authenticity of this document is discussed (ES) by Jaime Humérez Seleme. He draws attention to statements made by the Vice-President of the political party, Zacarias Flores, whose signature figures prominently on the letter and who also denies ever signing such a document. However, in the end, the letter was confirmed to be authentic. Humérez Seleme, author of Boliviscopio emphasizes that these contributions are nothing new for party members working inside the government, yet he still remains critical of these contradictions of those claiming a conspiracy and those who readily admit that this request for voluntary contributions exists.

Much of this controversy was generated because of the upcoming election in July to elect the representatives to the Constitutent Assembly. These contributions would theoretically go towards the campaign. Last week, the different political parties and citizens’ groups submitted lists of candidates for the election. However, not everyone was please with those selected. Mario Ronald Duran Chuquimia wrote in Palabras Libres about the different groups, from Afro-Bolivians, the disabled, gay and lesbian groups, labor unions and indigenous groups, that felt excluded from the selection process. As a result, various outward displays of protest, such as hunger strikes and even the announcement of a parallel Indigenous Constitutent Assembly, indicated that there was much displeasure.

Finally, Miguel Centellas of Ciao! provides a thorough overview of the format to elect the district and departmental representatives to this assembly, complete with links to the law of convocation and a sample ballot from La Paz.

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