[Marxism] IMPORTANT: Bolivia - The Constituent Assembly that could not be

Fred Fuentes fred.fuentes at gmail.com
Sun Oct 7 10:51:52 MDT 2007

[One of the best overviews of the current situation i have read,
though provoking and essential reading for understanding some of the
weaknesses of the Bolivian process. Thank you very much to Richard
Fidler for translating this.
Also check out the latest article by MAS Senator Antonio Peredo
"Bolivia: Joining the Axis of Evil'´" at

The Constituent Assembly that could not be

Pablo Stefanoni, Pulso

Although prepared to "sweeten" its reforms, the government has not
found a way to implement them. The dilemma of the "revolution in
democracy" is still unresolved.

In three months Evo Morales will celebrate two years in the Palacio
Quemado, Bolivia's presidential office. His political standing remains
high, with polls showing about 60% popular approval of his management.

This mass support for his leadership is somewhat independent of the
government's day-to-day difficulties — which are many — and it is the
"bad" ministers who still take the blame for those. The reasons for
the popularity of this leader, still a cocalero or coca farmer, and of
his agenda of people's nationalism with a developmentalist and
redistributionist gloss that makes up the ideology of most of his
government, are no mystery. On the one hand, the nationalization of
the gas industry, which a year and a half later continues to inspire
dreams among the masses of overcoming economic backwardness and "being
like Switzerland". On the other hand, most poor Bolivians, mainly
farmers, strongly identify with the "first indigenous President in the
history" of the nation. All of this in the context of the favourable
macro-economic situation, linked with the international boom in raw
materials prices that has produced record exports. To which must be
added the investment in infrastructural projects using the gas income
captured by the State as a result of the nationalizations, and
Venezuela's cooperation — expressed, among other things, in the
financing of municipal development projects. As well, to a large
degree an economic policy which continues to be framed by neoliberal
formulas of a monetarist nature that promote fiscal equilibrium and
avoid the use of such economic variables as controlled inflation as
instruments for the redistribution of the surplus.

Stalemate again?

However, if 2006 was the year of the major announcements and utopias,
2007 is becoming the year when the truth is revealed about the limits
to further progress in a "reformism with reforms" and to laying the
initial foundations for a new institutionalization and trying to
salvage the Constituent Assembly, which is close to shutting down
because of the harassment of the hardest elements of the Right (who
never wanted it) but also because of the difficulties the Movement
Toward Socialism (MAS) has in spelling out its agenda for change. The
government's management is wilting under the heavy media barrage but
there is also little sense of continuity and an absence of clear
strategic criteria that would help to generate a program of firm and
sustainable management. So the "disastrous stalemate" threatens to
return (if it hasn't already). None of the political currents are
managing to impose their vision of the country — although they can
exercise a veto — nor is there any consensus on seeking a compromise
agreement. Despite the discrediting of the old conservative politics,
it is still much more influential in Bolivia than it is in Venezuela,
Argentina or Ecuador, owing to its regional roots..... rest at

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