[Marxism] Two more reports on Bolivia

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat May 10 15:19:26 MDT 2008

Bolivia: What does Santa Cruz want?

Forrest Hylton: Santa Cruz state leadership 
and armed street gangs are overtly racist (part two)

Saturday May 10th, 2008

Hylton says that the leadership of the Bolivian state 
of Santa Cruz wants to create a system of "autonomy" 
that amounts to secession. They oppose Morales' reforms 
and overtly call for the 'leadership' of light skinned 
people over the indigenous peoples.

Forrest Hylton is the the author of Evil Hour in Colombia 
(Verso, 2006), and with Sinclair Thomson, co-author of 
Revolutionary Horizons: Past and Present in Bolivian 
Politics (Verso, 2007). He is a regular contributor to 
New Left Review and NACLA Report on the Americas.


Weekend Edition
May 10 / 11, 2008
Defending Bolivia
Morales and the Red Ponchos



Bolivia has a long tradition in which military coups have occurred to
solve domestic political disputes. Eduardo Dimas recently pointed out
at Progresso Weekly that the present military high command was not
trained in the United States and has demonstrated an unwillingness to
conduct a coup every afternoon. A recent plot failed to gain the
support of the officer corps.

It will come as no surprise that President Morales declared the Santa
Cruz referendum to be entirely illegal and of no official substance.
Nonetheless, he has also said that he welcomes a vote of confidence
by the whole country, which will take place within the next 90 days.

Despite the fraudulent nature of the autonomy vote in Santa Cruz, on
the night of May 4, I found myself searching for news about the
event. The pro-Morales residents had announced a boycott, so I had no
doubts regarding the outcome. I just wondered what else might have

If you live in the United States, it's more difficult to find
late-night news from Bolivia than it is to find an honest voting
machine in Florida. I eventually found someone awake at Al Jazerra.
After she read a report about the vote in Santa Cruz, an announcer
switched to a story about the Red Ponchos, an ancient military group
among the indigenous peoples of the Andes. They include tens of
thousands of warriors, and they have promised a fight to the death if
anyone attacks Evo Morales.

The Red Ponchos possess rifles and ammunition. I hope they never have
to use them. Opposing forces would have the best weapons the empire
could give them. Who knows what might happen?

I believe in peaceful change. So does Evo Morales. So did Salvador
Allende, the president of Chile during the Nixon administration.
Allende had weapons available for the workers who elected him, but he
had resisted the impulse to distribute those weapons. By contrast,
Gen. Augusto Pinochet had soldiers, weapons, and Henry Kissinger.

Salvador Allende died defending his country from the forces of
darkness and greed. He believed that the military would not violate
Chile's long history of civilian rule. What might have happened if he
could have called in his own Red Ponchos?

Patrick Irelan is a retired high-school teacher. He is the author of
A Firefly in the Night (Ice Cube Press) and Central Standard: A Time,
a Place, a Family (University of Iowa Press). You can contact him at
pwirelan43 at yahoo.com 

Los Angeles, California
"Cuba - Un Paraiso bajo el bloqueo"

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