Bolivia 2007: Between two battles and a war

Oscar García Duarte

Considering the fact that the Constituent Assembly has as its formally specified objective the elaboration of new constitution, it is also true to say that it has another real underlying objective which is to mark out a new political hegemony for the next twenty years. This hegemony structures itself as a process, which will initially determine the political “domination” of one conception of the country over another and, afterwards, will express itself as an “articulation” of an economic and social model, destined to achieve the construction of an all-encompassing ideology that the unifies the nation-state.

HegemonyIn this context, we have to understand that, unable to construct this hegemony, parting from the legal structure of the constituent assembly, this clash runs the risk of moving outside the legal framework and dangerously positioning itself in the purely political sphere, via the full exercise of force. In the balance of the correlation of forces that the east and west have exercised in order to be able to impose their hegemony, we find three fronts of struggle against the MAS government, based on two political tactics that imply two separate battles, and a strategy that implies civil war, with high unforeseeable and dangerous results for the survival of Bolivia.


The scene of the first battle is the constituent assembly, led by the opposition coming from the eastern oligarchy, who will not allow western hegemony to prevail, because this would mean the reversion of unused land to the state and the weakening of the prefectures through the implementation and widening of indigenous autonomies that exceed what was understood by the referendum for autonomies.

The second battle is expressed in the battle waged by the opposition parties within parliament, conceived of as the principal axis from which to wear down the governing party in order to put a break on the project of this process of change, and annul the possibilities of a re-election of Evo Morales once the new constitution is in place. With the understanding that the constituent assembly has entered into a state of logjam, everything seems to indicate that the issues over which no consensus is found will be taken directly to the referendum to decide the new constitution.

“Half moon”

By convoking a meeting of the Pro-Autonomy Council of the “half moon” in order to issue a call to the armed forces, Santa Cruz has committed the first tactical error in its battle in the constituent assembly, the same one that unquestionably exposes in disadvantageous shift in the correlation of forces for it to be able to triumph in the referendum and connotes the impossibility of achieving its hegemony, expressed by the fact that autonomies are considered an end in themselves, and not something to be broadened or perfected for the benefit of other, impoverished, marginalized social sectors. That is why the call to the armed forces – changing the term from “fundamental institution of the homeland” for the worn out “tutelary institution of the homeland” – instead of demonstrating greater firmness in its position of autonomy, only implied a intention to ensure that the constituent assembly failed through the use of sedition, secession and a coup, and in no way through the unity of Bolivia.

In the second battlefront, another error was committed, because the opposition, with the objective of wearing down the governing party, did not comprehend that if it succeeded in obtaining the resignation of Evo Morales, they would not be the inheritors of the process of change initiated by MAS, because they will always be surpassed by the social movements and by a historic moment which demands a revolution, that the opposition does not find itself in a situation to either offer or carry out.

Amongst the governing party, despite its great weaknesses, there is a perceived confidence in confronting in a direct manner the possibility of the failure of the constituent assembly, and everything indicates that they will fight for their hegemony in the referendum. To call issued to the armed forces by the “half moon”, expresses a reinforcing of MAS’ tactic of maintaining the armed institution on its side, and allows them to take from the opposition the banners of respect for legality and democracy.

Civil war

Given all this, within these ferocious battles, a strategy orientated towards provoking a civil war is being secretly established, which is becomes more evident every time, and is based on a fact that if hegemony is not restored via the constituent assembly, or the referendum itself, then the only way to achieve it will be through an internal confrontation between regions, in order to establish by force what could not be made a reality in the legal or political sphere, and where both the MAS and the opposition are acting dangerously like accomplices who are promoting the destruction of the country.

In this pessimistic scenario there exist subjects which, even though they have a low media profile, have a lot of experience in Kosovo, and the objectives, military and political, are based on six principals:

Firstly, civil war in Bolivia would imply a destabilization of the Southern Cone and to stop this it would be necessary to impose a process of pacification via the blue helmets of the UN.

Secondly, in order to avoid major confrontations, there would be an attempt to split Bolivia in two or various regions, establishing autonomous “republiquetas” [tiny republics], extremely weak politically, social and militarily.

Thirdly, the fracture of Bolivia would reinforce the North American concept that we are a “failed state” and would condemn its internal components to being more obliging with the economic criteria of the transnational companies, those same ones that will now negotiate the exploitation of natural resources with city-states and isolated local governments, each of them disconnected from a conception of the nation-state and lacking strongly organized governments.

Fourthly, it would demonstrate in front of the world that any attempt to make changes in the US’ “backyard” will end up according to the Bolivian model: without state, without nation, and totally dismembered and therefore, without a historic projection.

Fifthly, we would see the annulment in Bolivia of a historic process that is orientated towards a revolution, where even though its component parts are not to clear, are in any case anti-US.

Sixthly, it would mean the elimination of Venezuela’s political tendency towards trying to convert itself into a regional leader and annul the historic proposal to achieve a probable future Latin American unity which would put at risk US hegemony over its “backyard”.

The only way to not allow a national suicide to occur is for both the opposition and the governing party to have full certainty and maturity with what they are saying and doing, measuring the consequences of each one of its acts, because, if otherwise there will be no possibility of any winner, given that Bolivia will not exist in the future. We would all lose and the only winners would be the same ones that won in Kosovo, headed by Philip Goldberg.

Translated from La Epoca

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