As I write this article, the situation in
The position of Evo Morales' government weakened after the failure of the talks with the separatist prefects and his refusal -- very human but not very political -- to call the people to the streets and prevent the partition of
The defiance of the oligarchy in Santa Cruz, led by prefect (governor) Rubén Costas and the president of the so-called Civic Committee of Santa Cruz, Branco Marinkovic (of Croatian origin), is an unequivocal sign that they feel supported by powerful internal and external forces.
It is no secret that the
It is evident that the
The alternative media report that the secessionists also are supported by the Colombian government. Although definitive proof is not available, it is not possible to rule out that this is true, when we take into account that Colombian paramilitary groups have been organizing and training far-right formations in the four departments of the Half Moon.
The Santa Cruz secessionists are so sure of their success that Prefect Rubén Costa, a well-known oligarch, declared that after May 4, the date for a separatist referendum, "a second Bolivia will be created," because the departments of Tarija, Pando and Benin will join Santa Cruz. He said he enjoyed the support of the prefect of
In an urgent meeting called at the request of
The OAS's political secretary, Dante Caputo, who visited Santa Cruz de
The White House, through its ambassador in
The autonomy document drafted by the authorities in
The rest of the departments in the Media Luna (Tarija, Pando and
But there is another element that cannot be forgotten. Evo Morales' rise to the presidency meant for the oligarchy the loss of much of the power it held for more than a century. Whenever the oligarchy's interests were in danger, the Army staged a coup d'état -- sometimes more than once a year -- and controlled the situation.
The oligarchy has been unable to convince the Armed Forces to take a similar step for various reasons, among them the existence of a new military high command not trained in
The other reason the oligarchs cannot forgive Evo Morales and his followers is that he tried to give dignity to the living conditions of the poorest sectors of the population. The nationalization of hydrocarbons has served to improve the state's revenues and to alleviate the difficult economic situation of most of the Bolivian people.
The Dignity Bond, which is the lifetime pension given to people 60 and older, the campaigns of health and education -- with the help of Cuba and Venezuela -- and Bolivia's membership in the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) are changes that the oligarchy cannot forgive, much less accept, because they diminish its power and existence as a class.
Those changes cannot be accepted by the White House, either, or the other oligarchies of
It is no surprise, then, that the European press talks about the impossibility of an accord between the opposition and Evo Morales' progressive government. It is no surprise that the
Next May 4, several issues will be settled in
In an urgent meeting of ALBA, called by President Chávez, the other three member countries (
But there is another way to keep the Bolivian oligarchy to achieve its purposes: to call the people to the streets. A people "who have nothing to lose, except their chains." I think that it is better to die defending the interests of that nation than to surrender.
Before it is too late, it is up to Evo Morales to mobilize the people and, if possible, the Army (though that's not known) before the oligarchy achieves its purposes and implants anew the neoliberal model, with all its consequences. Several years ago, a gallows was built in Santa Cruz de
Republished from Progreso Weekly