[Marxism] Troubled Waters in Nepal (Granma)
walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 28 09:27:04 MST 2006
December 27, 2006
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
By ARNALDO MUSA
Recent events in Nepal cast a shadow over the peace agreement that
the rebel chieftain Prachenda and Prime Minister Girija Prasad
Koirala signed last November and subsequently implemented, regardless
of the former's spot-on remark that such arrangement highlighted "the
Nepalese's victory over the reactionary forces bent on keeping Nepal
in the past".
A string of popular demonstrations, the blockade against the capital
city itself and statements that the end of the10-year-old war was
nowhere near, betray the dissatisfaction the government caused by
trying to disarm the rebels, without ensuring their safety, after
they accepted being stationed in seven points of the country. No less
upsetting was the official decision to appoint new ambassadors
without prior consultation, as required by the covenant.
The U.N. intervention in the matter brought rain on the rebel parade,
since they will have control over the insurgents' arms, to the extent
that 111 Ghurkas, members of a mercenary army which the British
colonialists consistently used in the past, will be in charge of
keeping an eye on the arms depots, despite U.N. assurance that the
rebels "will have the keys".
In the meantime, the Royal Army remains intact and will "absorb" the
fighters pending the creation of a Constituent Assembly in which,
it's been promised, the rebels will play a significant role. This
means that after the June 2007 election, King Gyamendra will neither
be a Head of State nor be held responsible for cracking down on the
A NECESSARY LOOK AT THE PAST
In the late 1950s Nepal saw the dawning of one of the first Asian
democracies ever, although from then on hunger, social inequality and
abuse of power took root and, to a large or a lesser extent, paved
the way for the beginning of a popular guerrilla war in 1996.
A confusing episode on June 1st, 2001 sparked a radical change in the
country's future. King Birendra, whose leanings were relatively
liberal, was murdered -together with his whole family- by one of his
children, who then killed himself. The only possible heir to the
crown was no other than Gyanendra, his rise to power clouded by solid
suspicions, as yet unconfirmed, that he had taken part in the
The struggle gained even more strength that year, so the Royal House
received considerable military assistance mainly from the United
States, Great Britain and Belgium, all under the well-worn excuse of
'the fight on terrorism'.
In the last few years, parliamentary dissenters concurred on the
so-called Seven Parliamentary Alliance (SPA) and turned it into the
breeding grounds of the broad political spectrum opposed to the King.
In November 2005 the SPA signed a 12-point political agreement with
the rebels, whose revolutionary plans had reached a peak since the
previous month of August.
These sectors, flocked together in a common bloc opposed to the
monarchy, gave free rein to their frustration and took to the
streets, but were brutally repressed by the government.
Last April 24, cornered by every political and social group which
demanded his resignation, the King agreed to sign the 12-point
agreement and to reinstate the House of Representatives he had
previously dissolved. He also requested that the SPA name a new Prime
Minister. In these circumstances, the rebel leaders issued an appeal
against any pacts with the royalty, albeit they eventually gave the
possibility the go-ahead and made a peace deal which is now
navigating through troubled waters.
Nepal is a small State buried deep in the heart of the Himalaya
Mountains between India and China. With a population of 27 million,
it has a poverty index of 59% and a rate of illiteracy that amounts
to 56% among men and 85% among women. With a primary textile
industry, the country's very cheap labor force it's practically
enslaved by the big transnational companies.
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