Bolivia and the Bolivarian Revolution

Ricardo Angel Cardona, 14/01/07

Cochabamba is currently the centre of profound changes occurring in Bolivia. It has been like this since 1810, when patriots lead by Esteban Arze defeated the realists in the epic battle of Aroma, conveying a profound conviction to the people of Virreinato de La Plata that they would soon be free “because that is how the people of Cochabamba want to live”.

Today it is the same in respect to the Bolivarian Revolution in Bolivia, where in the frontline are situated the campesinos and workers, although there are also impoverished middle classes. There exists a common front in order to halt the disloyal intentions of the prefect Reyes Villa to enforce separatist autonomies, rejected in the recent popular referendum.

The attempts to proclaim autonomies in the departments of Bolivia are good, in principal, to help decentralise and deconcentrate administrative decisions and institutions such as ABC, for example, which is dedicated to construction and maintenance of roadways. That is why the Constituent Assembly has given itself the mission to regulate the reach and functioning of the denominated departmental autonomies, and give the departments the level of decentralised economic and financial decision making that they deserve, in accordance with the unitary spirit of the nation.

But, just as in other parts of the world, the geostrategists from the north are interested in dividing countries that are rich in hydrocarbons, and rebelling against the established order and North American peace. Groups of oligarchic power would prefer to divide the country to satisfy their own interests, rather that conciliate with the national government of Evo. That is why the working people, conscious of the need to maintain the unity of the homeland have risen up, with marches and popular cabildos to isolate the quisling prefects.

The people are aware that there exists a favourable international context for their aspirations to rise up out of poverty and nationalise political power, which today is subjugated by the nefarious influence of the empire. The US has not convinced itself yet that Bolivia has escaped from its control, since it has always considered it a country that was simple and docile to its desires, given the fact that neoliberal politicians had subordinated themselves without great problems to its financial, military, economic, cultural and technological dictates.

Bolivarian Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia make up ALBA, or the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, which has as its mission the establishment of economic, financial, social, cultural, human and spiritual flow between nations. It is a response to ALCA [Free Trade of the Americas Agreement], pushed by the US, and which even the bourgeois press has gives a short lifespan. On the other hand, trade between these four countries is tending to increase, in health, literacy campaigns, medication, energy, hydrocarbons, value adding with the installation of new factories and refineries, credits and open trade for food products, especially for those that Bolivarian Venezuela and Cuba import and Bolivia and Nicaragua can product in the short term.

Bolivia has the capacity to produce quantities of food, with figures that could hover around the tens of millions of tons of Andean and Amazonic cereals. Bovine meat from the altiplano and flat plains, artesian textiles, industrial manufacturing etc, would allow these component countries of ALBA to avoid having to import these things from overseas. ALBA is real integration for the long term, between people who are diverse, but united by revolution and Bolivarian democracy.

Traditional parties have panicked because of the fact that Bolivia trades with Bolivarian Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, without any conditions. For them, trade only exists if the US, Canada, Europe or Japan are present. On the other hand, the national government accepts with delight the arrival of strategic companies such as PDVSA, BIV or Industrial Bank of Venezuela, and Telesur. And the formation of Petroandina and Petrosur. Integration and trade between the people and countries of ALBA signifies the solution, in the first instance, to social, economic and cultural problems, and in the second instance, to political problems, combined with investigation, innovation, competitiveness, science and technology.

Bolivarian Venezuela and Bolivia are one and the same country and habitants of both nations should constitute themselves with the same personal documentation in jobs that would be generated by the protection of companies, agroindustry, petrochemical plants, financial banks, media outlets, education and literacy. Bolivarian Venezuela is moving towards investing in Bolivia, each year, at least 3,000 million dollars, in mixed enterprises with the Bolivian state. Just that would signify a 7% annual growth.

Bolivia could double it GDP from 12,000 million in little time, as long as ALBA integration included bold policies for joint investigations, investment in mixed enterprises, accelerated industrialisation, intensive trade in food and manufactured goods, refining of petroleum and petrochemicals. Still to be put forward is the construction of a steel city, integrated with Mutun, by Bolivarian Venezuela becoming a partner of COMIBOL and ESM to produce minerals, iron, steel and laminates for different uses. Bolivia possesses immense wealth in terms of iron, magnesium and gas and it would be beneficial to all if Bolivarian Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, to begin with, but also Ecuador, MERCOSUR, Peru and Chile were supplied with Bolivian produced iron, steel and finished products such as construction steels, irons, machinery, rails and tubes.

Another similarly transcendental possibility is in energy planning, with the exportation of gas to all of South America by Bolivarian Venezuela and Bolivia, using the Gas Duct of the South which will be constructed with Venezuelan financing. The exportation of electrical energy to neighbouring countries is a fact in Bolivia via the company ENDE, refounded in association with YPFB, municipalities, prefectures, cooperatives, and campesino communities.

Bolivarian revolution would permit the creation of thousands of popular universities and industrial or technological schools of production, to place technical knowledge, for all branches and sectors, within the reach of each Latin American citizen and campesino. With the Bolivarian revolution knowledge would no longer be a mystery and it should reach youth and adults equally via the dual system of theory and practice at the same time.

This Latin American vision is counterposed to savage capitalism, and frightens the US and its multinationals, accustomed as they are to just seeing poor, highly indebted countries, with quisling bourgeoisies and oligarchies tied to their interests. When they look at this dignified, sovereign, independent Bolivia united, by a concrete treaty of integral integration like ALBA, with Bolivarian Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, they being to move their internal servants, or separatist prefects, to impede the Bolivarian democracy of the free and sovereign peoples continuing to grow and exercising popular and protagonist power. The national government needs more cadres and mass media to inform all Bolivians and Latin Americans of this reality.

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