This Last Week

After such a whirlwind of a ride throughout the three weeks trying to keep up with minute-by-minute action in Bolivia, I decided to step back for this past week. However, things continued to gather steam as President Eduardo Rodriguez tries to take advantage of a relatively peaceful country.

As all of the social movements agreed to lift all blockades, President Rodriguez formed his transitional cabinet.

It is a given that new Presidential elections will be held sooner rather than later, but now some are saying that to make this transition complete, there needs to be a complete overhaul of Congress through new elections. Everyone has their opinions on this proposal, some say that the public elected the lawmakers, thus they should complete their full term (and not give up their cushy salaries).

The government has been actively looking for ways to build another highway linking La Paz to Cochabamba that goes through the Zona Sud in La Paz (i.e. not through El Alto). Plans are also in the works to build another international airport in the Zona Sud, as well as keep large reserves of gasoline in that part of the city.

Erasing the debt from the World Bank and IMF appears to be tied into making sure that investments are protected and other structural guarantees are in place. Some speculated that the 18 countries first targeted by the G8 would get total debt forgiveness no questions asked. But, it looks like now that it will be related to these guarantees. Whether or not this includes the privatization of public services or other economic mandates will left to be seen. If Bolivia comes through, it would be mean roughly 2 billion dollars that will not need to be repaid.

Today, the President will meet with some of the Civic leaders in Santa Cruz, where they are still determined to hold prefect elections and autonomy referendum on August 12.

Also, this article states that Jaime Paz Zamora is no longer the head of MIR, the party he established. Hormando Vaca Diez assumes that leadership (officially or unofficially). Paz Zamora is one of the Prefect candidates for Tarija, if there are elections.

2 thoughts on “This Last Week

  1. I was surprised Rodriguez spent time making a cabinet; seemed a low priority (if even necessary) to me. I mean, he’s going to govern for 6 months top; why not just keep the bureaucracy mostly intact? No need to divide up spoils, right?

    Also, I think a new election of parliamentarians is fine, but it won’t help. The regional parties will just become more regionally entrenched. I would even suggest making the new parliament the new constituent assembly, w/ their first task being to make a new constitution. Also, they should take their seats AFTER an election on autonomies, which could go simultaneous. Plus, election of prefects, who should form regional administrative governments, perhaps w/ a check: prefects are locally elected (I’d prefer a 3 or 5 person executive council) w/ some central oversight powers (esp regarding funding and general priorities, such as inter-region highways, etc).

    And I was baffled by the El Alto dirigentes half-hearted admission that their protests did more harm than good.

  2. It’s good that they are looking at another highway that avoids El Alto… but I still believe they’d be better off moving the Legislature and/or the Executive branch back to Sucre.

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