[Marxism] Bolivia: Social Movements Unite, Reality Changes Again
tony at tao.ca
Thu Mar 10 13:36:22 MST 2005
Mesa, the president of Bolivia, announced his resignation on Sunday
night, but Congress refused his resignation on Wednesday. Social
movements which had previously been fractured and fragmented have now
united to oppose this recycled right-wing government.
All Social Movements Unite In Bolivia, Reality Changes Once Again
By LUIS GOMEZ
March 10, 2005
Good day, kind readers, yesterday morning the landscape changed and
there is a new story to tell. The social movements in Bolivia, ALL of
them, have united to coordinate their efforts, to organize more
demonstrations and fight against the new (or recycled) right wing that
just last night gave more power to the administration of President
Carlos Mesa. Let’s take a look at this immediate history.
It was just after 9 in the morning, and about one hundred social
movement representatives and journalists were crammed into the small
auditorium of the Central Obrera Boliviana (the legendary COB, Bolivian
Workers’ Federation). A dozen people sat up front, full of enthusiasm.
Take a look at the attendance list, because this phenomenon is nearly
unknown in the country’s recent history:
1. Evo Morales, congressman from the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS)
party, and coca-growers’ leader from the Chapare region.
2. Felipe Quispe, el Mallku (the Condor) of the Aymara nation and
outgoing executive secretary of the Bolivian Farmworkers’ Federation
3. Jaime Solares, executive secretary of the COB.
4. Roberto de la Cruz, El Alto city councilor, Aymara, known for his
participation in the uprising of October, 2003.
5. The leaders of the Bolivian Landless Movement (MST).
6. Román Loayza, alternate senator for the MAS and parallell CSUTCB
which answers to Evo’s party.
7. Enrique Mariaca, an engineer from the Committee for the Defense of
8. Former police official David Vargas, one of the leaders of the
so-called Black Februray (2003) when the people revolted against a tax
increase from Sánchez de Lozada (at the request of the IMF).
9. A bit later, Abel Mamani, well-known president of the Federation of
Neighborhood Committees, arrived in high spirits.
10. In Cochabamba, Oscar Olivera, of the Coordinating Committee for
the Defense of Gas and Water, and Omar Fernández, leader of the
Bolivian irrigating peasant-farmers.
And there were more, of all colors, from all over the country,
protesting Carlos Mesa, who was ratified as president: the purpose of
his blackmailing resignation, in reality, was to pressure the Bolivian
people into a step back in what they were demanding and achieving in
the streets, above all on hydrocarbons (but also on water, on justice
for the massacres of 2003, on everything they are lacking and the
justice they deserve).
The new alliance, which revives an entity known as the Estado Mayor
del Pueblo (loosely translated as the People’s General Staff, founded
in 2001), has begin to guide the people in resistance against the
coalition of political parties and the government, which seeks to
restrain the social mobilizations.
In his front-line trench, Mesa gave a press conference at 10 am. The
event reprised the points from his speech last night before the
National Congress: to retake his government agenda, this time together
with the traditional political parties, and not to permit any more
Mesa has asked the people to demonstrate at noon tomorrow, in all the
plazas of Bolivia, against the blockades and marches.
But there was something new as well.
As some sectors of El Alto have remained firm in their blockades
demanding the exit of the multinational Suez corporation from the
administration of their water services, as the coca growers continue
blockading the main highway in the Chapare, as many people have refused
to abandon their demands just because Carlos Mesa demands it in order
to govern, President Mesa threatened to bring all the blockaders and
marchers to justice. That is, apply the law as always: against the poor
and working people of this country.
The apparent defeat of the social movements last night was not
conclusive. The political class’ rallying behind President Mesa has
provoked the social movements and leaders to rally themselves in
response. We still don’t know what dimension this might take on for the
people, but we know that, for the moment, this new stage of the
conflict as not over yet.
Luis Gomez is editor and publisher of Narconews
(http://www.narconews.com), where this column originally appeared.
More information about the Marxism