West Wing Bolivia Plot Line

Courtesy of Google Video:

Apparently the Zelaya character closely resembles, um, Evo?

at 4 minutes
Sorry. Sure. What’s done, what’s undone… What’s done that we’d like to undo… Or do over… Do away with… Demonstration in Bolivia, outside our embassy. Big one. Over the ambassador’s statement. It’s being seen as interfering in their election. The Guy is a socialist. Yeah. Who says, If elected, he’ll immediately halt their Coca eradication program. Yep. We should get into this. (Pager rings) I’ll call dod, Intel, the undersecretary for low grade conflicts

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René Joaquin, Potosí Mayor

Last month, El Deber published a nice profile piece about the recently elected Potosí mayor. René Joaquino, the “phenomenon” that pulled in 58% of the vote, is considered one of the up-and-coming mayors in the country and is making a name for himself on the national scene. His citizens’ group Alianza Social (AS) currently has ten of the eleven council seats in Potosi. Joaquino was a former member of Nueva Fuerza Republicana (NFR), but broke ranks as did countless others.

Potosí maneja ahora dos veces más dinero que en las gestiones anteriores. Un gran porcentaje llega de programas de cooperación. Aspira a convertir a Potosí en un municipio modelo de Bolivia. Ha reducido la contaminación de las minas. Exige sacrificio y puntualidad a los 471 empleados ediles. Fue portero, albañil y lamparero

Due to his past manual labor professions, many Potosinos readily identify with him. Sometimes he has been very visible helping unload bags of cement or other construction materials at public works sites. However, he is also a lawyer, which has helped in future aspirations.

Soñaba con ser Presidente de Bolivia. “René Joaquino, futuro Presidente”, firmaba en las notas que enviaba a sus compañeros. Ellos bromeaban, pero, en el fondo, él no. Claro, quién iba a tomar en serio a un pastor de ovejas y luego lamparero en las minas que trabajaba su tío en Chorolque.

Potosi has been the birthplace of two Bolivian Presidents, Jose Maria Linares Lizarazu and Gregorio Pacheco Leyes.

La ejecución eficiente de las obras hizo que la cooperación ofrezca su ayuda. Cada fin de semana, el municipio recibía embajadores de varios países, interesados en visitar la legendaria ciudad y ver de cerca el fenómeno Joaquino. Casi la mitad de los Bs 130 millones que se administran cada año vienen de recursos externos. Japón, Dinamarca, España, Cuba y otros programas han entregado créditos a la Alcaldía por casi Bs 61 millones.

Prefect Elections – June 12

The government of Carlos Mesa announced that on June 12, all nine Departments of the Republic of Bolivia will elect a Prefect. Each Prefect will have a term of five years, although those elected this coming June will only serve until 2007. In the past, prefects were named by the President.

In addition to this Decree 27988, Mesa also announced that the price of diesel will come down to 3.72 Bs./liter.

Now, it’s Evo’s turn. He had announced that if there was a change allowing for the direct election of Prefects that he will begin blockading the road through the Chapare (linking the West to the East).

In my opinion, the direct election of Prefects is a good thing. Although this change is coming way too fast. Changes are needed to ensure that the election of Prefects will not follow the norm of Presidential and Municipal elections and their pacted coalitions.

Who Is the Enemy?

I am confused. Who are the civic leaders from Santa Cruz fighting against? President Carlos Mesa, Evo Morales, El Alto, Political Parties, COB, Cocaleros, Ramiro Blacutt, their La Paz counterpart oligarchs, the poor, Che Guevara’s ghost or all “kollas” in general?

Live Footage of Cabildo

Even though the Megavision streaming video of the Santa Cruz cabildo has been sputtering, sale I was able to hear some of the populist rhetoric during the over-produced public gathering. In addition to some angry orators, ask Azul Azul was slated to perform and tens of thousands of flags were given away.

There were some reports that the government and the unelected (from the general population) civic leaders arrived at an agreement last night. The reports were that the Prefects from all the Departments, not just Santa Cruz, would be elected by the people. In addition, the Referendum on Autonomies would take place before the Constituent Assembly. However, from the sound of things that was not enough to appease the civic leaders.

It appears that the cabildo will “elect” a Department governor. I guess if you didn’t make it down to the cabildo, then you are out luck. You might have better luck voting in this weekend’s Iraqi elections.

I don’t want to jump the gun, but if these self-appointed leaders attempt to take control of government buildings, then state intervention must take place. Already there has been concern that members of the Union Juvenil Cruceñista, who have taken control of INRA may jeopardize thousands of title applications and records of thousands who have tried to claim lands legally (instead of occupying).

Generally, the election of prefects is a great thing. Too bad those in Santa Cruz have no plan for the rest of Bolivia, and could care less about the other eight Departments. But, there is still no guarantee that a popular-elected Prefect would stay out of patronage free-for-all and form their own centralized government unit.

This is all so beautiful, a movement fueled by propaganda, media monopoly and over-dramatization of political problems.

Update: I am glad that no such announcement of new governor took place. I hope the leaders will accept the agreement of direct election of Prefects, so that the country can continue to move forward.

I'm Tired of All This (Again)

I don’t want to read about Bolivia today. Tomorrow’s D-Day anyways, and I think it will end in military action (just a hunch). But for today, here are a couple of mp3s.

(Right-click and save as).

The two artists are very different. The first is a Brasilian tropicalia singer and the second is a indie-folk singer from Michigan.

Jorge BenTaj Mahal/Filho Maravilha/Pais Tropical Medley

Sufjan StevensHe Woke Me Up Again

Descriptions below:
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No Representation

Another AP wire story

“We feel like we have no input, pill ” said Juan Ortiz, troche a Santa Cruz small business owner. “And we feel like we should have some say, given what we represent for Bolivia.”

My question is: What about the many Cruceño diputados and senadores? Clearly during the pre-Mesa years, their first loyalty was to their political party and the ruling coalition. No one held them accountable for their unresponsiveness. Holding the majority in Congress, they could have gone through the proper procedures to grant “autonomy”. Ironically, they were the centralist government. Now that there are no political parties in the Excecutive Branch, these Cruceño lawmakers are representing their city/department by supporting this movement.

List of Cruceño diputados and senadores (w/party affiliation):
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Armed Forces and Police Weigh In

As the Civic committees have decided to end their strikes and eat some food, cialis they are preparing to name new governing leaders during the cabildo this coming Friday. However, they may run into some opposition.

From La Razon:

Los cívicos no dieron detalles de este proyecto, pero los máximos jefes de la Policía y las Fuerzas Armadas se adelantaron en anunciar que no reconocerán a las autoridades emergentes de un cabildo. El comandante de las FFAA, Luis Aranda, señaló además que están a disposición del Presidente para actuar según éste lo disponga, mientras el comandante de la Policía, David Aramayo, enfatizó que sólo reconocen al gobierno central.

Bolivia in English Language Media

Stories about Bolivia are picking up in English-language media. Stories like this are being picked up by other newspapers on the AP Wire.

One of the more interesting stories was published in the Guardian in the UK.

Chávez ‘funding turmoil across Bolivia‘”

Retired head of the US’ Southern Command James Hill said that Evo Morales (MAS) has been receiving funds from Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez.

But General Hill’s comments about Venezuela’s influence in Bolivia may prove just as damaging. He told the Miami Herald: “It is quite proven that he gave money to Evo Morales… and continues to do so.”

Mr Morales is expected to win an election if the president, Carlos Mesa, were to go.

The previous claim is not fact. It’s hard to tell who would run if Mesa resigns, but it definitely is not a “slam-dunk”, especially if the elected would need to count on a coalition.

The most revealing part of the story comes courtesy of an anonymous source within MAS.

However, a senior Mas source said: “The Venezuelans planted doubts in us last December. They said we should ensure control over the constituent assembly before it convenes [next summer] so that the resulting constitution is the one we want, the same way Chávez did in Venezuela.”

According to this source, “Evo definitely wants to gain power and import our version of Chávez’s Bolivarian revolution to Bolivia.”