Heinz Dieterich, Rebelión
On the emblematic 183rd anniversary of Bolivia’s Independence Day, the Bolivian President Evo Morales was unable to present his national address in the country’s constitutional capital, which carries the name of Bolivia’s Liberator, the Grand Marshal of Ayacucho, Antonio José de Sucre. According to Evo, he won’t be in Sucre “in order not to motivate an eventual confrontation between Bolivians that might end with serious consequences,” due to the fact that the authorities in Chuquisaca-Sucre back the provocations of violent groups against his government.
In turn, the honorary session of the National Congress in Sucre, scheduled for the date of the country’s founding, was suspended by the Republic’s Vice President, Álvaro García Linera, given that conditions for the physical security of the parliamentarians, state officials and invited diplomats could not be guaranteed.
For the same reason, the summit of the presidents of Venezuela and Argentina, Hugo Chávez and Cristina Fernández, with Evo Morales in Tarija was canceled. The harsh attacks against the advance teams for the three presidents, organized by separatists in Tarija, led to the cancellation of the visit by Chávez and Fernández, from Buenos Aires.
The significance of these three events is very clear. The legitimate President of the Republic of Bolivia is a kind of exile or expatriate in the majority of the provinces of his own land, where he can only venture when the oligarchy permits it. In a formal analogy using the language of irregular warfare, we would have to say that the counter-revolution has conquered “liberated areas” in which the central government may not enter; in other words, it had established a dual parallel state in the periphery of the central State of the highlands.
The essence of the conflict in Bolivia is the clash between factual and constitutional power, between the imperial-oligarchic allies and Evo’s government. When the factual power refuses to recognize constitutional power, the latter has the resources of justice and military force to impose the law. Evo’s government has not used these powers for two reasons, one pragmatic and the other moral: a) the loyalty of justice and the armed forces is not a sure thing and b) Evo’s ethics and political formation reject the use of legitimate state repression in order to impose his political project.
The same kind of Bolivian contradiction — dual powers based in the factual-counterrevolutionaries and the legal progressives — makes it improbable that the August 10 referendum can resolve anything. Essentially, it will reaffirm the correlation of forces in the status quo.
Therefore, the de facto division of Bolivia into two countries and the phase during which forces are accumulated continues, until one of the two antagonistic powers is in a condition to deliver the decisive blow, to liquidate the other.
Translation by Machetera