A ban on politics?12.06.2006
I'm not sure where to start. And I'll try to be brief. But events in Bolivia are unfolding — as should've been expected — into a total mess. No wonder few heads of state are willing to attend the South American summit scheduled for 8-9 December, in Cochabamba.
For about a week now, various public personalities (writers, politicians, civic leaders, etc.) have joined in a hunger strike against what they see as a heavy-handed political tactics of Evo's MAS-led government. Meanwhile, various protest marches demanding a two-thirds vote to approve the new constitution are increasing, w/ new marches joining in Sucre & La Paz. The prefect of Santa Cruz has declared a "de facto" political autonomy for the region & called for a regional parliament (the third such "cabildo" in recent months).
Things are also turning nasty. After the Miniter of Government (Alicia Muñoz) ordered police protection for hunger strikers removed, a violent mob attacked the San Francisco cathedral in La Paz, causing property damage, as they sought novelist Juan Claudio Lechín (who had joined the hunger strike).
What I find most distasteful is the accusation by government officials (including Evo) that the opposition protesters & hunger strikers are illegitimate because they represent "political" concerns. Aren't all activities "political" in that sense? The language of anti-politics, of arguing that government or state decisions are "correct" & all other opinions merely "politics" is the language of totalitarianism, the language of rejecting political discourse. The list of people who argued against "politics" in that vein includes Pinochet, Mussolini, Lenin, and other distasteful figures.
Worse, is the irony of it all. When Evo led his cocaleros in protests (sometimes violent protests), such activity was clearly political. It was a social faction w/ a political objective engaged in "political combat" w/ opposing forces. Why is such "political" activity less legitimate now? Why is "political" activity that disagrees w/ this current government not protected? What makes Evo's activities, statements, or intentions any less "political" than those of his opponents?
More than anything, the message Evo & his supporters are sending to the Bolivian public is simple: "Opposition to our views is not allowed, and will not be tolerated." Quite the democratic revolution, eh?
Posted by Miguel at 01:32 PM
But how does it play out? Will the two sides come to a compromise? Or will it lead to a crisis/confrontation (as Evo's pre-presidency activities did)?
Posted by: mike d at December 7, 2006 11:17 AM
I think its ineresting all of the leftist rethoric that gets associated with people Like Evo Morales or even Chavez in the USA. Its almost as if the indeginous are "leeched" upon for all sorts of self righteous causes that in reality would be laughable if you were to be in their situation. Hell, the liberal academic community would not exsist if they couldn't put their imperial gaze onto such people further primitivizing them into a bounded, magical non christian entity while the rest of us modernize?
Posted by: jonathan at December 7, 2006 11:55 PM