Bolivia Facing a New Conspiratorial Escalation

Mario Hubert Garrido

La Paz, Sept 6 – The regional 24-hour stoppage announced by the Bolivian opposition for Friday, is being seen today by the government, social sectors, analysts and even some traditional parties as a new conspiratorial escalation.

In diverse public appearances, Evo Morales himself has denounced that his country is the site of a chain of subversive actions unleashed by the adversarial minorities since January 2005, when he assumed the presidency of the republic.

The announced stoppage, calculated by many to be premature, is the first measure of regionalist force against the Evo Morales administration.

The opposition offensive intensified in May, as a result of the nationalisation of hydrocarbons, a measure which was questioned by groups such as Social Democratic Power (PODEMOS).

It was only the tip of the iceberg of an articulated campaign lined up to discredit this and other popular measures adopted by the Morales government.

Representatives of PODEMOS, the principal promoter of the recently announced national strike, not long ago presented a submission to nullify the recuperation of national petroleum and gas reserves.

However, the demands remained isolated in front of the popular rejection of this initiative, judged here to have been an attempt against the sovereignty of the country and the constitutional right of the state to control its national resources.

They also attempted, taking advantage of their majority in the senate, to censure in Congress the current minister of Hydrocarbons, Andres Soliz, accused of bad management, but without success.

In reality, the manoeuvre was aimed at halting the recuperation of the enormous energy wealth of Bolivia and maintaining foreign interests in this sphere.

During the elections and referendum on autonomy last July 2, the leader of PODEMOS, ex-president Jorge Quiroga, was marked as an ally of grand foreign interests, after questioning the triumph of the governing Movement Towards Socialism (MAS).

Despite their lack of proposals, members of PODEMOS have been amongst the most critical of the National Plan for Development that will stimulate stable employment and investment in key sectors of the country like mining and hydrocarbons.

Only hours after the installing of the Constituent Assembly, on August 6, in the city of Sucre, sources denounced that with help from outside the country and large land owners, the opposition was able to handle up to $11 million to boycott this forum.

In one of the debates in the assembly, a PODEMOS assembly member offended an indigenous representative, just for speaking in Quechua, her native language, which has a racist tinge to it.

Other governmental measures like the agrarian revolution have been torpedoed by the opposition, including through the actions of armed groups, with the aim of impeding the redistribution of equipment and parcels of land to put them to work in favour of the state.

The cooperation of Cuba and Venezuela in the spheres of health and education have also been criticised by urban union sectors, behind which are hidden the interests of the oligarchies and internal reactionary groups.

In regards to the stoppage, Evo Morales recognised the right to disagree, but he insisted to the promoters of the strike to let the Constituent Assembly resolve their problems.

Such actions in the end serve the interests of PODEMOS to reverse the process of approval of the regulation to define the manner of voting within the Constituent Assembly that MAS pushed for.

This norm combines the two-thirds with a simply majority for the decisions of the Constituent Assembly, but PODEMOS and the civic committees of the departments of Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando, want to apply only the first form.

After pointing out that the strike was completely political and subordinated to PODEMOS, Morales said that with the abandonment of a session of the Constituent Assembly last week, the delegates of these groups demonstrated their interest in boycotting the process of refoundation that Bolivians are demanding.

At the same time he rejected that the regulation proposed by MAS violated the law of convocation and explained that the two thirds established in this legislation will be required to approve the final text, which will need to be ratified by a referendum if there is no majority.

The Bolivian Workers Central (COB) and other social organisations also manifested their rejection of the opposition stoppage, which counts on the support of businesses.

The process of change that the Bolivian people are living through after the election to the presidency of Evo Morales is beginning to encounter the first conspiracies of groups allied to transnationals.

According to some analysts, those that aspire to a Constituent Assembly as a scenario of attacks against the people and the Bolivian government, are looking towards Washington and are far removed from responding to the needs of the country.

Translated from Prensa Latina

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