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Bolivia on the Brink of Civil War

 
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 04:46 pm
Acquiunk wrote:
Morales is not as radical as some of his followers. He may be a transitional figure to something further to the left or more or the more "traditionalist" element in the indigenous population.


???? Can you say a bit more about this?
0 Replies
 
Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 09:17 pm
dlowan wrote:
Acquiunk wrote:
Morales is not as radical as some of his followers. He may be a transitional figure to something further to the left or more or the more "traditionalist" element in the indigenous population.


???? Can you say a bit more about this?



A quote from Joel Brinkley's report in the New York Times say's it best.

Still, he "has certainly unleashed strong expectations" among his constituents, said Peter DeShazo, another former senior State Department official who now directs the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "If he is seen as too moderate and accommodating, he risks invoking the wrath of these groups that want radical change."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/international/americas/21latin.html


At least 75 %, possibly more,of the population of Bolivia is Native American (Inca and Amyra) and they are the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere. Average income is about $2000 US a year. Within that population Morales has two problems. There is a young urban educated population that is violently anti free trade and adverse to the "neoliberal" globalization solutions pushed by the World Bank and WTO . Both institutions are seen as tools of the US . Che Guevara is their hero. The other problem is a group that might be called "nativists" Approximately 10 percent of the population. That which makes up the present wealthy elite in Bolivia, is mostly descendant from the old colonial elite. They are almost all of European descent and for the most part have a standard pf living that is equivalent to Western Europe or North America. The nativists want them out, literally, physically. They remember that the Inca/Amyra once ran a world-class empire of their own, the Inca empire, and they want it back. This is the political terrain Morales will have to maneuver on.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 09:27 pm
Blimey.


That is, indeed, gonna be a bumpy ride.

Thank you, Acquiunk.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2008 05:54 pm
Good round-up of this weekend's events:

Quote:


Some snippets:

Quote:
Pro-autonomy supporters in Bolivia's eastern department of Santa Cruz have turned the capital city's main square into a sea of green and white flags - the colours of the region. [..]

Bolivia's wealthiest region passed a statute of autonomy that would grant the department more local decision-making and more control over land, taxes and gas and oil revenues. [..]

It is a defining moment for an increasingly powerful civic and business movement and a skilled political opposition which united in this resource-rich province to challenge Mr Morales [and] what they term the "totalitarian and hegemonic centralism" of the central government in La Paz. [..]

[V]iolent clashes between pro-Morales and pro-autonomy supporters in some of Mr Morales' strongholds left one dead and more than 20 injured. [..]

For some analysts, the autonomy movement was instigated by the region's wealthy elite, with a good deal of economic self-interest and racism as fuel. [..]

"Why did these oligarchs that are pushing for autonomy want our vote now?" asks Marina, a woman of the Aymara indigenous group who has been living in Plan 3000, a humble neighbourhood of mud roads on the edge of Santa Cruz city [..]. "They always hated us, the indigenous people, they still do and they will always will. We suffer because of them." [..]

But regardless of the origin, the vote in favour of more autonomy has placed the biggest obstacle yet in front of Mr Morales's planned reforms to re-orient Bolivia with a socialist twist, giving a greater share of the land and resources to the country's indigenous majority. [..]

[It] pits the elite in Santa Cruz, who are of European descent, against Mr Morales' peasants and indigenous supporters, and squeezes his beleaguered attempt to change the course of South America's poorest country. [..]

At least three more departments may follow Santa Cruz with their own autonomy votes. [..]
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2008 01:24 pm
If Evo were a democrat, he'd negotiate autonomy and somehow placete the right, but he's stubborn.

Agreed, the Santa Cruz movement is led by right-wing criollos (whites). I never knew there were so many blonds in Bolivia until I saw the pictures of the referendum victory celebration. But anyway, 85% of the votes is a lot... they can't be only whites.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2008 02:49 pm
Interesting and informative thread - thanks to all, esp. Aquiunnk & fbaezer for the facts, background & interpretation.

Clearly a difficult problem on both historical and current political scales. Something that, in the short term at least, only the Bolivians can work out for themselves - if that is possible.

I also wonder about the regional aspect of the problem. Can the issues so evident in the political struggle in Bolivia be fully resolved without similar resolutions also in Peru, and perhaps Equador?
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2008 04:02 pm
georgeob1 wrote:

I also wonder about the regional aspect of the problem. Can the issues so evident in the political struggle in Bolivia be fully resolved without similar resolutions also in Peru, and perhaps Equador?


This depends on the degree of national integration, george.
Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay have in common that a huge percentage of the population is Amerindian not only racially, but also culturally (over 50% in Bolivia, near that number in Peru), and too often they have been left out of the concept of nation or fatherland itself. In Peru, there is clearly a divide between the white-mestizo-black coastline and the indian mountains and puna. It works out similarly in Bolivia, I understand, with an important difference: the capital, La Paz, is in the high plains. Santa Cruz is the (relatively) lowland.
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2008 04:32 pm
One question that struck several Mexican scholars during the 60s/70s was: Why didn't Mexico -the other big Latin American country with heavy indigenous influence- have such a big divide?
There were two main theories: one said that the Spanish conquerors in New Spain (Mexico) were qualitatively different from those in New Granada (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia), and mestizaje was inmediate. On the same side, others point that there was a cultural/technological difference between the main Mesoamerican cultures and the Southamerican cultures (pointing that the Incas were more resilient to change).
The other theory states that the main cultural change was a political one, and had to do with the Mexican Revolution (1910-20), which implied not only a change of elites, but also a change of national paradygm. Mexico is the only Latin American country in which the word "criollo" (Latin American of European descent) is politically used in derogative terms. The cultural revolution of José Vasconcelos (a fascinating character, Secretary of Education during the 1920s) and his concept of "the cosmic race" meant that both the Indians and the Whites reppresented the past, and the mixture of Amerindians and Europeans reppresented the future, and the Nation itself.

... still, in the elections of 2006, the predominatly white North voted overwhelmingly for Calderón and his conservative party, while a majority of the heavily indigenous South sided with populist López Obrador. Makes you think, doesn't it?
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2008 07:01 pm
One thing though, mestizaje pervades the entirety of Mexico. There are more mestizos in both the North and South than there are whites and indigenous respectively in either areas. Isn't it more a question of cultural orientation rather than purely ethnic or racial differences? Might the differences in cultural orientation explain the differences in political orientation between the North and South as well? The North has more of an individualist mentality--to a certain degree a result of US influence, while the South tends to be more collectivist which seems to lend itself to indigenous ways.
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2008 07:08 pm
You are totally on the spot, infrablue.


I don't know if Bolivia has "official" racial divisions. Mexico has not. Peru had years ago.
A Peruvian reporter friend told me, about 20 years ago, that he got scolded by his mother when he filled his compulsory military service application and wrote "mestizo" under Race, and not "blanco" (white).

But regardless of that, what Del Granado said a few pages (and years) ago about being treated according to deportment tells a lot.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 May, 2008 06:39 am
fbaezer wrote:
One question that struck several Mexican scholars during the 60s/70s was: Why didn't Mexico -the other big Latin American country with heavy indigenous influence- have such a big divide?
There were two main theories: one said that the Spanish conquerors in New Spain (Mexico) were qualitatively different from those in New Granada (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia), and mestizaje was inmediate. On the same side, others point that there was a cultural/technological difference between the main Mesoamerican cultures and the Southamerican cultures (pointing that the Incas were more resilient to change).
The other theory states that the main cultural change was a political one, and had to do with the Mexican Revolution (1910-20), which implied not only a change of elites, but also a change of national paradygm. Mexico is the only Latin American country in which the word "criollo" (Latin American of European descent) is politically used in derogative terms. The cultural revolution of José Vasconcelos (a fascinating character, Secretary of Education during the 1920s) and his concept of "the cosmic race" meant that both the Indians and the Whites reppresented the past, and the mixture of Amerindians and Europeans reppresented the future, and the Nation itself.

... still, in the elections of 2006, the predominatly white North voted overwhelmingly for Calderón and his conservative party, while a majority of the heavily indigenous South sided with populist López Obrador. Makes you think, doesn't it?




How does the first theory say that the Spanish invaders in New Spain were different from those in New Granada? And why they were different?



Does one of these theories strike you as more realistic?
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 May, 2008 07:33 am
Dlowan, I give more credit to the socio-cultural revolution theory. But, notice, they're not opppsite.

Cortés "burned his ships", and stablished himself in the capital of the conquered territory, in the high plains. Mexico City is the old Tenochtitlan; Veracruz -the city he founded when landing- is merely an important port.

Pizarro destroyed the capital of the Inca empire and moved to the shore, where he built the capital. Lima is the capital; Huancayo is a lost place. Lima looks to the ocean, not to the inside.



Cortés conquered by dividing, his main force were the Tlaxcaltecas, angry at the excesses of the ruling Aztecs. He married his translator, Malintzin (or Doña Marina), used diplomacy and deceit.

Pizarro did not look for indigenous allies, and retorted almsot exclusively to massacres.



Cortés sought for autonomy from Spain and his rebellion cost him dearly.(His son with Milintzin, Martín Cortés, actually led an independence movement, was sentenced to death by the Viceroy, amnestied and sent to exile)

Pizarro thought of exporting goods, not on rebellion. And was always loyal to the crown.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 May, 2008 07:39 am
fbaezer wrote:
Dlowan, I give more credit to the socio-cultural revolution theory. But, notice, they're not opppsite.

Cortés "burned his ships", and stablished himself in the capital of the conquered territory, in the high plains. Mexico City is the old Tenochtitlan; Veracruz -the city he founded when landing- is merely an important port.

Pizarro destroyed the capital of the Inca empire and moved to the shore, where he built the capital. Lima is the capital; Huancayo is a lost place. Lima looks to the ocean, not to the inside.



Cortés conquered by dividing, his main force were the Tlaxcaltecas, angry at the excesses of the ruling Aztecs. He married his translator, Malintzin (or Doña Marina), used diplomacy and deceit.

Pizarro did not look for indigenous allies, and retorted almsot exclusively to massacres.



Cortés sought for autonomy from Spain and his rebellion cost him dearly.(His son with Milintzin, Martín Cortés, actually led an independence movement, was sentenced to death by the Viceroy, amnestied and sent to exile)

Pizarro thought of exporting goods, not on rebellion. And was always loyal to the crown.



Yes, I did notice they were not contradictory.


Interesting post, thank you.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2008 11:00 am
0 Replies
 
 

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