A few days ago, a reporter called to ask me about what the Chilean mining story meant for Bolivian-Chilean bilateral relations. In the end, my quotes didn’t make it into the story that ran in The New York Times (no biggie, I understand how things get cut during the editorial process). But the issue of whether this would help improve bilateral relations between the two countries was intriguing.
Entries tagged “Bolivia”
What happened yesterday in Ecuador was a type of coup, or golpe (to use the Spanish term).
I know there’s some debate over whether to consider it as such (Boz has a good rundown of both positions). Clearly, Correa is milking the situation to his best advantage (or at least hoping to). But that shouldn’t matter in terms of what to call the event itself. In fact, Correa would have to be a fool of a politician if he didn’t seek to spin the even to his best advantage. Another controversy concerns the intent and/or extent of the police uprising or mutiny. Greg Weeks, who I respect, uses the ambiguous and/or limited goals of the police protesters/mutineers to argue that it was not a “coup” (see his post).
Below is the text of a (very) brief comment I was invited to make as part of their “Featured Q&A” on the current situation in Bolivia—particularly w/ reference to the conflict between the central government & the department of Potosí—for today’s Latin American Advisor (a daily newsletter put out by the Inter-American Dialogue). I always enjoy the challenge of giving a commentary on something as complex as Bolivian politics in 250 words or less.
Just a shameless plug a few things of mine that just came out in print. Two are specifically on Bolivia; the other is a published version of the writing/discussion assignment I developed based on American Idol & presented at the 2009 APSA Teaching & Learning Conference.
The latest controversy in Bolivia pitting Evo & Costas (the opposition/regionalist governor of Santa Cruz) is over style masquerading as substance. This Friday is 6 de Agosto, Bolivia’s national holiday. Instead of celebrating the event in La Paz (the political capital) or Sucre (the historical/constitutional capital), Evo’s government has decided to hold the official national ceremony in Santa Cruz. The dilemma, then, was over the use of the wiphala : whether or not it should be raised & whether or not it represents all Bolivians.
Evo Morales has interjected himself into the recent Colombia-Venezuela political crisis. Speaking to the Bolivian press, Evo underlined that Bolivia is a pacifist country but is prepared to defend itself if drawn into the Colombia-Venezuela conflict. This was an odd statement to make for a strictly pacifist country (as Bolivia’s constitution proclaims), but also because Bolivia borders neither country & is nearly a thousand miles away from the conflict.
The two weeks since I’ve returned from Bolivia have seen a dramatic development: the country’s largest indigenous organizations are directly challenging Evo’s government. In response, the government has chosen to attack USAID, blaming it for fomenting dissension & division w/in the social movements that have traditionally backed MAS. The logic is fairly simple: No legitimate indigenous group/leader would ever challenge Evo unless he/she/they was/were manipulated by foreign interests. But this argument has several problems.