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The Week that Was – Bolivian Blogs

Este artículo también está disponible en español en el sitio Blogs de Bolivia

A large part of Bolivia remained at a standstill last Friday, when four of the country’s nine departments called for a strike. A major point of contention was that the Consitutent Assembly, which is given the task of rewriting the country’s Constitution, should respect the rule that any new article must be approved by 2/3 of the delegates. The ruling party, MAS, believes that the articles should only be approved by simple majority, which they hold and only then, should 2/3 of the votes be needed to approve the finished draft.

Keeping the original formula as stipulated by the Convocation Law would mean “pluralism, diversity and consensus,” writes Carlos Hugo Molina in Agora (ES). Keeping the fact that all articles must be approved by 2/3 would mean that the minorities in the country would be allowed to have input.

Molina’s son, Sebastian, who saw the strike firsthand in his native Santa Cruz wonders whether the strike should have been voluntary, instead of imposed. As he writes in his blog Plan B (ES).

¿Para alguien está en duda la representatividad que puedan tener tanto los prefectos como los comités cívicos de los distintos departamentos que están llevando adelante este paro? Yo creo que si está en duda para alguien; para ellos mismos. Si no, no deberían tener ningún temor de hacer que este paro cívico se desarrolle de manera voluntaria y, justamente, cívica. O sea, sin obligar a nadie. Sin utilizar la violencia que están criticando del gobierno. Sin utilizar elementos típicos del autoritarismo -ese mismo que le están criticando al M.A.S.-, como el de los grupos de choque, por ejemplo

Does a doubt exist regarding the representativeness of the prefects and of the civic committees in the different departments where this strike is taking place? I think someone has a doubt – themselves. If they did not, then I don’t think there would be any fear that this strike would not be anything but fair and voluntary, or in other words, civic. The strike would also not be under any obligation, without the use of violence, which has been criticized by the government and without utilizing the typical elements of authoritarianism – which is something that these groups are criticizing MAS for being – and for the use of groups of confrontation, for example.

The irony in this situation is that the government is criticizing the strike and blockade, which was utilized by the current President in his struggles against the coca eradication issue. “How much did Evo Morales’ blockades affect the country? How many days did he leave Bolivia completely paralized, hurting the production of many farmers?” asks Martin Gutierrez, who writes at Vitrina de Realidad Boliviana (ES).

The divisions and polarization is causing many to question the current political climate. “This situation appears to create the perfect condition for the creation of a third alternative, hopefully free of all of the “isms” that afflicts the current government’s politicians or of the current and past opposition (prebendalism, nepotism, populism, evoism, neoliberalism, etc),” comments Jaime Rubin de Celis at JCR’s Place (ES). He also adds that it would be very difficult that this third actor could be any worse that what is currently on the table.

As things continue to go the wrong way, Joup writes about a “pais enfermo” or “ill country”. She continues on at her blog Este arcoiris se llama Joup (ES) with a series of rhetorical questions, such as “When will we leave racism behind?” and “How much longer do we need to live with resentment and hate?” Earlier that month, the government faced numerous problems, such as a transportation strike and teachers’ protest. Hugo Miranda aka Angel Caido (Fallen Angel) pointed out that “Bolivia is returning to normalcy little by little…Bolivia continues to lose in football, in its economy, in its education, etc. Someday we have to start winning.”

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